Must We Tell A Story?

In class we learn pole moves and might put them together in a routine. When we’re at home we might just put on some music and dance away. Sometimes you move in relation to how you feel and other times, it’s more structured.

I’ve started thinking about the stories that we tell in pole – and do we have to have one to perform or can we just go with the flow?

I’ve performed in dance shows as well as in competitions. In previous competitions I’ve been told that I need to make more of the story that I’m telling. Why? Why can’t my story be ‘I’ve been practicing till I bleed, and these are the awesome moves I can do!’

Is A Story Necessary?

When it comes to performing, it’s great to have a theme – where your costume, song choice and pole moves all compliment each other. How much more than that do you need? Some competitions are more arty and allow you to tell a story and others are so focused on points that you can barely squeeze in a new move you want to show off.

Sometimes it’s easier to tell your story than others – if you have an animal costume and are playing any kind of jungle book song, we know where you’re at. You could be a zombie dancing to thriller. It’s obvious what you are, but how much of a story are you telling?

Yet if you have a beautiful, flowing costume and dance to a sad song, people will feel what you are doing. Do you have a story behind it? Probably. But does it translate well? Maybe…

In the theatre you watch a show and the audience all come out knowing the same story. You can have your own opinions and thoughts on the story you were told, but you all know what was going on – hopefully! In pole you can all watch the same piece and have completely different ideas on what the piece was about.

Why Wouldn’t You Want A Story?

I guess the other side to this, is why not? You’re doing your piece, picking your costume, theme and song – so why not include a story. You probably have something in mind anyway.

The last piece I did, I had a story and a reason for being on stage in what I was wearing, and for doing the moves I was. The theme wasn’t as clear cut as being an animal in the jungle, but I knew what I was doing. Whether your story translates or not, I think people will either like your piece or they won’t – regardless of theme. Hopefully they will though! 🙂

For my next piece I’m going to change my style and be super obvious about the story. I have a few ideas, so I’ll let you know when I decide which one. I’m intrigued to see if this changes how I perform or the moves that I do. I wonder if the audience will like it more if they can be more involved in the story.

Do Your Own Thing!

A big part of me will always just say: Do what you want. If you want to pole because it makes you feel good, or you feel strong in certain moves, do it. Why not? We don’t need to follow all these rules of ‘you have to have a story to perform on stage.’ Do what you want and enjoy pole.

On the other hand, if you want to tell your story, tell it. If you want to show a sad piece, do it. The pole world is your oyster. You can do anything you want and be any character you want.

What do you think? Do you prefer to have a story and play a character or do you just want to go and show the world who you are? Story or no story – what do you think? 😀

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Comments From the PoleFreaks Community:

  1. Polers/studio dancers in general should do some homework on modern/contemporary dance. Thinking you need music, story or even pointed/flexed toes is a frustrating convention abondoned by pioneers of modern/post-modern dance a very, very long time ago.

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