I think it’s fair to say that most pole dancers are hard on themselves. We look at our photos or videos and only see the negatives – the things to work on. I think we strive for perfection a lot of the time, which tends to mean that we miss the little victories. Something isn’t pretty, so it’s not perfect.
I was chatting with a Pole Unbound friend about why we tend to post videos or photos and apologize for them:
- I was tired.
- It’s messy.
- I don’t like this part.
- This isn’t my best.
Admit it: you’ve probably said something like that in a post online. If you haven’t, that’s AWESOME. Seriously, good for you! But, for the rest of us, I think I’ve figured out a couple of reasons why we behave this way:
- We’re trying to beat critics to the punch. It’s an admission of, “Hey, I bet you’re going to judge me for not being perfect, so let me tell you up front that I know. I know I wasn’t perfect.”
- We’re looking to be better and selecting the things we know we need to work on.
I tend to think the first reason is the most common reason, but the second one is also absolutely valid. I know that’s why I do it! I do also make a note of things I want to work on, too, but it tends to be more the former than the latter.
So, I wanted to take a moment to talk about pride. Not stupid, ego-driven, I’m so fucking awesome it hurts pride, but genuine appreciation for the work you’ve done and how far you’ve come.
It’s really hard to watch videos of yourself (for most people). It has been hard for me for a long time, but I’m getting over it. Freestyle exploration as helped me IMMENSELY in this regard. One of the tenets of freestyle exploration is to move away from being self-conscious about your movement (whether it’s pretty or ugly or weird or graceful).
I try hard, nowadays, to look at videos of myself and seek out the good moments. I’m not always successful (I deleted an entire video today without even watching it because I just felt so off during the dance), but it’s a mindset to practice.
In that vein, here are three recent videos of mine that I am proud of:
My Northern California Pole Presentation Performance
This was my first public pole performance since PPC 2012, and I worked hard on it. I chose my song because I loved it (“Nearly Midnight, Honolulu” by Neko Case). I loved the simplicity of it, I loved the story of it, I loved that it moved me. It was not any easy song to “dance” to, but I didn’t really care, because I had a story I wanted to tell.
I am proud that many of my moves are clean. I am proud that I stuck to my story and my movement, even when the audience’s initial reaction wasn’t what I expected it to be. I am proud that I kept going when I had a grip issue (I used too much grip and got stuck). I am proud that my self-made costume looked pretty. I am proud that the emotion I wanted came through in many moments.
My Pacific Aerial Art Championship Performance
This routine came together in less than a month, because the original song I chose just didn’t work for me. I was training for the NCPP routine for the month prior to PAAC, so I didn’t work on my PAAC routine until NCPP was done. I had ideas and a song and a concept, but when I went into the studio for the first time to work on it, I couldn’t get it to work. So, I had to choose a new song and start from scratch. Because I was unsure about what our rigging would allow, I kept my routine safe by using mostly intermediate moves and worked to make those clean and to make my transitions work.
I am proud of my energy in this routine. I am proud that I did something totally different from anything I have done or anything I usually do. I am proud that I took a chance and went with it, despite being scared. I am proud that most of my moves are clean, and more importantly, that most of my transitions are clean – that I was able to dance/move through them smoothly. I am proud that my costume came together and looked awesome – the same is true of my props. I am proud of my story – I really loved it. And, I am proud that my twerk
My Finding Your Freestyle Challenge video
I shot this at the end of Pole Unbound, to fulfill a FYF challenge from my friend Tiffany. I used the prompt of “hair” for the dance (a prompt that was given to me by a partner during a freestyle workshop earlier in the PU weekend, which I LOVED).
I am proud of this because I had never heard the song before dancing to it. My friend Jamie, who was also at Pole Unbound, chose it for me. I am proud of my movement. I am proud that I stuck with my prompt and explored it. I am proud that my focus was just my prompt and the movement to explore it, and not that I didn’t know the song or how I might look, etc.
My Handspring Practice video
These clips were shot today. I went to an open pole practice, initially to work on some freestyle and work from Pole Unbound, but ended up feeling really self-conscious about it in the presence of people I didn’t know (and in an unfamiliar studio). So, I started working on tricks, and to my delight, my TG handspring from the floor came back!
I am proud that I tried my handspring again, despite not really thinking I could do it today. I am proud that I kept at it. I am proud that I’ve gotten stronger and can see it – and feel it. I am proud that I have 4 different handspring variations in this video: my TG from the floor, my TG ayesha from caterpillar, my forearm handspring, and my elbow grip ayesha from caterpillar. I am super proud of my elbow grip and how solid it feels. I am proud that I did my elbow grip last and was still able to hold it well.
So. Now, I challenge you to watch your own videos and find the moments you are proud of. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be a few seconds. But look for the things to celebrate. The little victories are a big, big deal. Trust me. :-)
The performances were so fun – it’s always interesting for me to watch pole dancers of that caliber and see what speaks to me. I love character driven pieces – they stand out for me, always. That’s one of the reasons I was overjoyed when Sergia won! She’s one of my favorites.
While the professional videos from Alloy Images have yet to be published, I am looking forward to reviewing some of the performances – I missed Danielle Romano (who took 2nd place) and Amber Cahill, and missed moments from the first few performances because of technical difficulties with the feed. However, I was live tweeting everything I did see, and I’ve created a Chirpstory of my tweets:
Congrats to Sergia (1st), Danielle (2nd), and Mary (3rd) on their wins, and to ALL of the competitors from last night. It takes a lot of guts to go up and perform in front of so many people, and under such high stakes! You did us all proud!
Or, I’ve been sick for a week and a half and swamped with holiday work for even longer, so I haven’t been writing or in class…
I may be performing a lyra routine in February – a basic one – which would be both cool and a real challenge, since I definitely have been wanting to strengthen the dance in my work (I feel like it is all very trick-pose-trick right now). I may also be doing the showcase for PPC 2013 – waiting to find out if there is a spot for me or not. Considering using the same song for both routines, because I love it and have ideas for both dances. We’ll see.
Once I am back to full health, I will be back in pole class – I am going to be trying out some new classes, in addition to my usual class, to see if it will help me jump start what I have been working on. But, in honor of the new year, I am going to jump on the Pole Goal bandwagon: twisted grip handspring from the floor, by my birthday (March). :-)
I briefly met Roz the Diva at PoleCon, and naturally, stalked her Facebook fan page (polers make exceptional online stalkers, I think). As it turns out, she has an amazing opportunity for plus size pole dancers to perform/compete in her Dangerous Curves show! The link below has the details!!!
I LOVE THIS!!! There is still time to submit an entry – go for it, ladies!
Here are some of the professional images, as well as a video of my performance, all courtesy of Alloy Images. Again, I took 3rd place in the Artistic Dramatic Level 2 category, and while my performance is not perfect, I’m pretty proud of myself for going out and doing it. I am starting to pull together the info for the post on what it took for me to compete and hope to have it done later this week – with volunteering at the Master’s Cup and the Pole Convention, it’ll be a busy week! Photos are up first (chose my favorites – there are a few that are nice shots, but I’m rather harsh on myself about how I look in some of them, so holding those back out of vanity :-P), video is at the bottom.
On Sunday, I went to my first Girl Next Door show at King King, to support Kat and Drea in their performances as part of the June ensemble. They both KILLED it – such different routines, both incredibly entertaining and definitely highlights of the show! I recommend checking it out if you’ve got the funds – tickets can be pricey for the good seats (the general admission leaves something to be desired – you either have to be first in line to snag one of the few bar stools or plan to wear comfy shoes!), but I hear there are deals sometimes available on discount ticket sites.
It was really cool to see so many different styles of performance, as well as the different themes, the different stage presence of each dancer, and how it all came together. There were a number of gals in the audience from The Pole Garage, and I know that the ones I caught up with afterward talked about how inspiring it was to watch! It was great to see so many familiar faces, by the way!
I took a ton of pictures with my phone (poor thing – 1,000 photos!) and edited them down quite a bit. I’ll post a few here, and once Kat & Drea put up their professional videos, I’ll post links to those as well! I apologize that I don’t have all of the names of the ladies below their photos – I gave my only copy of the program to Kat, so I don’t actually know the names of most of the gals. There are more photos of Drea and Kat for obvious reasons – gotta support my girls! – but I included at least one photo of each performance. Enjoy!