Spring training season is here, and it’s time to level up! While it’s completely normal to feel a little bit unprepared — or even scared — to take it up a notch, Donna’s here to explain why expanding outside your comfort zone is key to elevating your pole practice. Whether you’re going from Level 1 to Level 2, or Level 3 to Level 4 (as explained below), we hope Donna’s tips will give you a gentle nudge to reach higher!


      1. Progressions Make Progress: In every Level 4 training, we begin with a Level 3 technique as a review of the mechanics of the skill set we are working on. After reviewing, we then look at the Level 4 application of these skill sets. Whether this variation is a more dynamic entrance, removes contact points from the pole, combines a number of skill sets together, or increases the range of motion, the progression remains rooted in Level 3 techniques. This means that if you are still working on the first progression, there will always be an option for you to work on throughout training!
      2. Leveling Up: To continue growing the skillsets you have cultivated in Level 3, it is important to immerse yourself in environments that offer you opportunities to apply these foundational techniques and bring them to a new level! You will never know the various ways you can progress until you get in a room that challenges you to do things you didn’t know were possible. You might even be surprised to find you already can do them! Even if you don’t initially get the most advanced variation of the material offered, you will receive a clearly laid out series of progressions to work on that will allow you to eventually get there!
      3. Growing Pains: Give yourself permission to lean into the initial discomfort of challenge! No matter who you are, what your background is, or what your training history is, building new skills will feel challenging and sometimes uncomfortable! It is important to lean into these challenges and accept that these growing pains are a natural part of pole progression. While these are the things we don’t usually show in our curated Instagram feeds, it is an integral part of the process. Leveling up in your training schedule will offer you this challenge, but in a safe, supportive way with lots of options.

      As Jonathan Burrows says in his book, A Choreographer’s Handbook, “Learning new motor skills is emotionally stressful…sometimes stress is just what you need.” I hope to see you in Level 4 soon!

      Photo: David Tufino