Dancing For Non Dancers

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Dancing For Non Dancers

I recently received some feedback on a performance I gave: Good tricks, strong personality, obviously having a ball up there, more complex chorey needed.

Hmm. OK.

So it looks like it’s time to face the fact that tricks will only get me so far and that if I want to put together a really good show I’m going to have to start focusing on the really hard stuff – dancing.

Dancing Is The Hard Stuff

Half of you will read this and think ‘What does she mean, dancing is the hard stuff?’ The other half of you will know exactly where I’m coming from. The brilliance of pole is that anyone can take it up, the pole community welcomes all new comers and doesn’t turn you away just because you haven’t got a particular level of previous skill or experience. We’re a motley (though amazing) crew of gymnasts, ballerinas, aerialists, jazz dancers, burlesque performers, circus artists, hip hoppers, mums, dads, young’uns, oldies, gym junkies, couch potatoes and more. This includes people like me who always loved the idea of dance but, for whatever reason, never really did any before pole came along and changed our lives.

I get it. I need to leave “but I’m not a dancer” behind. I watch videos of myself and can see all the spots where my body doesn’t flow, where my transitions are wonky, where I look like I’m going through the motions. I’ve watched these for a while now and not been sure how to fix them, how to improve my overall performance and to move naturally. So many of the things we do off the pole feel like trying to rub my belly and pat my head! The pole itself and the tricks we do on it have definitely become my comfort zone.

So How Do You Get Out Of It?

I’m trying to harness that same excitement to try something new that propelled me into pole in the first place. It’s working. In the three and a bit years since starting pole my mindset had changed from one of ‘giving it a go’ to really trying to work on and perfect things (and, admittedly, to getting frustrated when I don’t). I’ve had to relearn how to approach a dance class with the aim of having fun and just moving rather than scrutinising my every move, but it hasn’t been too hard to do, it’s actually been a lot of fun.

I’m currently taking a contemporary dance class once a week at Sydney Dance Company and a house dance class at my gym. Both are awesome. I love the contrast between them – the contemporary class is such a mental challenge (it is SO HARD not to point your feet!), whereas in the house class thinking is practically banned. In both, though, there is such a joy in movement and in using your body to make amazing/cool/funky/pretty/graceful/animal/powerful shapes and sequences.

I also love that I’m learning something new again. My initial anxiety here was that I’d be going into classes full of ballet girls and b-boys where I’d be the only real novice. It was unfounded. At least half of each class is made up of people like me, giving it a go in spite of not knowing a plié from a plod. Sure, there are a few people in each of the classes who are clearly more experienced, but they’ve all got their own things to learn, too.

I’m learning new ways to use my muscles and new ways to think about movement. I’m learning new shapes that I can make with my body and new sequences that I can join together to make more interesting chorey. The first real test as to whether or not it’s paid off yet in terms of my pole performance won’t be until my next comp in a few weeks’ time. But I’ll be pleased to have gone down this new dance path whether or not it gives me instant results – it’s just been so much fun.

If you’re like I was, and thinking “I’ll never be one of those awesome polers because I’m just not a dancer”, stop. Remember everything you felt before you started pole and how you moved through those feelings and got yourself onto a pole. Parts were a bit scary but you did it anyway. Check out other dance classes in your area, and do it again. You’ll have fun

Category: Discussion

About Tilly Dazzler

I started pole dancing three years ago when I was looking for a dance-based form of exercise that wasn't too heavy on foot work (I'm paranoid about having two left feet). I remember my first teacher telling our beginners class how we'd all get hooked - she was so right! Within six weeks there was no looking back for me, and within a few months I was poling twice a week, then three times, then buying my own pole...

Now I'm getting started with solo performances and amateur competitions. I've come so far with what I can do on the pole, and with how much confidence I have both on the pole and off it. I'm still completely hooked. Seeing all my mates in class and learning amazing new tricks together is a highlight of every week.

Pole has also led me to try a heap of other dance and performance arts like Charleston, burlesque, fan dance, contemporary, lyra, aerial silks, go go, and more. I try to work them into my routines and use them all to develop my style. I love using characters and telling stories when I perform, and I love experimenting with different types of music.

I hope you enjoy reading my pole blogs. Tilly D xxx

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3 Comments to “Dancing For Non Dancers”

  1. Sonja says:

    I actually started ballet classes just because of pole dance. The course will be over next week, but those four months really helped raising my awareness for all those unconscious moves my body does. Of course, four months are not nearly enough to get rid of a lifetime’s bad habits – but I know what’s the problem now. After ballet’s finished it’s gonna be acrobatics and gymnastics 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    I too have trouble with the Dance bits, Floorwork is alien to me, I may take a leaf out of your book and book a dance class in something other then pole.
    Thank you so much for writing this 🙂

  3. Tilly Dazzler says:

    Yay! So pleased both you ladies got something from my article 🙂

    Right now I’m watching the figure skating for the winter Olympics – maybe that’s next? lol

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