Like every other pole dancer I know, watching gymnastics during the Olympics makes us want to up our A-game. Big time.
Strength, grace, flexibility and balance define this sport. Sound familiar?
These girls are focused, trained, determined…and 10 years younger than me.
At least with pole dancing I’m not past my prime at age 26. Really, I’ve been so in awe of the gymnastics routines I researched places around town that offer lessons to adults. The only adult classes I could find were boot-camp weight loss programs. What, I can’t learn how to fly through the air on uneven bars once I’m past puberty?
I mainly want to take classes that will help me with proper form and technique. Watching the gymnasts’ perfectly straight legs and pointed toes inspired me to try the same.
But besides having straight legs there’s also posture, arm movement and a little sass.
What class could I take that would help me look like a pro?
I take pole fitness classes, not pole dancing classes. That means the advanced classes at my studio focus on learning the moves but creating flow is something we need to do on our own. Because sure, I’d love to have an instructor go over every little leg kick and extended arm placement she does during a routine but then I’d end up dancing like her. And I want to dance like me.
But what is that, exactly? I have no formal dance training. I don’t count the year of ballet because I was 4 years old and too shy to come out of my shell, and I don’t count the hip-hop class because I was 14 years old and cripplingly self conscious to the point of standing in a corner, dying of embarrassment whenever our teacher asked us to freestyle. Really, the only thing I remember from ballet was walking on my tiptoes dressed as a sheep and my only memory from hip-hop was awkwardly hip-swaying to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”.
But I DO remember making up my own dance routines to Spice Girls songs. And those routines were amazing. Probably every 12 year old girl in 1998 made up the same routines but in my mind I was Ginger Spice, my BFF Kristen was Baby Spice and we were superstars.
So like anything in life, if you feel awkward you will look awkward. And when do I feel most awkward? When someone tells me to act sexy.
When do I feel most sexy? When I’m by myself, listening to 90’s R&B and have had a beer or two. Oh, thigh high stockings help too.
So neither beer or 90’s R&B were at hand today, just coffee and radio surfing. And the socks were for function instead of fashion (really, they provide slippage for turns, protection from bruises and keeps my legs warm for post practice stretching). But I wasn’t trying to be sexy, I was trying to be a ballerina. And how do you try to be a ballerina when you have no idea what you’re doing?
I want to start from scratch and relearn every pole turn, every spin, every transition with precise and deliberate movements. Today I solely worked on turns and pirouettes, it truly was a back to basics kind of day. I’m still unsure of what I should be doing with my outside arm at times and I’m still not able to string an endless chain of pole combos seamlessly but the pole community is perfect for learning, gaining feedback and becoming inspired.
Maybe one day I’ll even be able to choreograph an entire routine to a whole song without any cringe-worthy moments?
Until then I have easy to use editing software to help me fake it ’til I make it.