I have two weeks to enter my submission to my studio’s competition.
About two weeks ago we were given the best news ever and were told we no longer needed to make a submission video! All we need is a write up, photo, a monetary fee and a song.
Not just any song. The song.
I knew what song I wanted to use even before I found out about the competition. It’s perfect. Lots of drama, tempo and melody changes, completely instrumental, slightly psychedelic and from a film nobody has ever heard of (including me, and I took a year of film studies and worked at an independent video rental store). I had the routine mapped out in my mind, which included fast paced spins and an impressive tumbling routine thrown in during a drum solo.
Which is why I had to start completely from scratch in finding a new song.
I love the song too much to risk pairing it with an underwhelming performance. Because there is no way in hell I am capable of doing what I’m doing in my head when I listen to that song. Yet. One day! Maybe two years from now, who knows, but I’m saving that song for something special.
After making that decision I was completely lost. The only stipulation for song selection was that it must be between three and four minutes. Of course, all the great ambient and trance songs are longer than four minutes, and all the cute 60’s instrumental ditties are shorter than three minutes.
My other ideal song (that was originally Plan B) was this song.
But…..sadly it’s 17 seconds over the time limit.
I want a song that has slight pauses throughout to emphasize the drama of lowering into impressive moves like an Ayesha or Plank. I love bands like Boards of Canada and M83 (old stuff, I’m a snob) but I find they use a continuous beat or motif that runs throughout the whole song. While pretty, it doesn’t give a routine that much depth.
Fast paced songs are fun, but do I really think I could get through three and a half minutes of bouncing around upside down like an energizer bunny? No. Slow to medium tempo it is. Besides, I need to compensate for my lack of flexibility by doing slow and controlled strength moves.
I spent about a week straight on last.fm trying to find songs that were like Portishead but not Portishead because every god damn song by them has been done to death by the pole world. I would type “instrumental lounge” into YouTube and cross my fingers before falling down the rabbit hole. No matter what I typed or clicked on, I seemed to end up at the same Massive Attack song. It was like a conspiracy. A massive conspiracy.
But then I found it. Smooth and sexy, slight breaks throughout the song, good hooks and a total length of 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Not sure how popular this song is as I’ve been living under a vinyl rock for the last five years and have no clue what’s hip or “now” as all I listen to are songs that are “then”. Last thing I want is to pick a song where everyone will be all, “Uh, didn’t she see the video where Felix Butterfly Skukhtorova used this song? All I’m thinking about right now is how much better their routine was.”
And hopefully it’s not a song that everyone else has discovered too. Not that I’d blame them, because it’s pretty sexy and pretty perfect.
But if someone else chooses that song, the only fair way to decide who uses it is Pistols At Dawn.
Now to writing out the routine.
I made a list of moves that I am comfortable doing. Moves that no matter what, even with a slightly slippy pole, I should be able to pull off under pressure. They include EG Ayesha, Shoulder Plank, Superman, Extended Butterfly, Gemini/Scorpio and some more. There’s no way I’m including anything that I currently struggle or have “off days” with. So that means no Cupid, SG Ayesha or Allegra (maybe, I do need a flexy move in my routine).
So with my list of moves in front of me, I’ve been sitting in front of the computer listening to the Song over and over again, waiting for inspiration to hit me upside the head. When I have the “aha!” moment I jot down the time and desired move. I have yet to try dancing to the entire song, but so far I’ve got the bare bones of a routine. Once I have the whole thing mapped out I plan on designing my workouts as drills. So certain days it will be going from a Flatline to the Marley 15 times in a row followed by 15 handsprings to Extended Butterfly combos. Or something like that.
I’m not worried about performing in front of an audience (having sweaty hands is another thing). I know the hours and minutes leading up to showtime I’ll be shitting out my insides from nerves, but the second I walk out I know I will sort of go into a Zen-like state where no one is watching and I’m just out there doing my thing.
I’ve been competing in front of audiences since the age of 5 when I would enter the Kiwanis Music Festival in solo violin, solo piano, sight reading, family duet and sometimes more. Not only would you perform in front of an audience, you would have an adjudicator critiquing your performance, good and bad (and if it was bad, they wouldn’t sugar coat it), before announcing the winner. In front of the audience. The music festival took precedence over everything else, including school (and my birthday. Every year I had to compete on my birthday) and I would spend many late nights practicing portions of pieces over and over and over and over with my mother beating a wooden spoon against the music stand on time with the metronome, sometimes breaking it in anger if I rushed or played a wrong note.
Yeah, it sucked. But I would always do well. Not that I cared, I fucking hated playing the violin. But I do care now. I want someone standing over me at all times yelling at me to point my feet and being all, “No, that dismount was sloppy. Do it again. Now!”. Because, really, I’m way too easy on myself.
Maybe it’s time for some pole jams. Friendly critique, mutual support and inspiration. Anyone out there agree? Maybe once a week we could rotate locations? I’ve mentioned it a few times to some girls, and while everyone seems interested, there has yet to be anything come of this. Which just means I need to try harder at organizing things.