11 March, 2015

Tips for your first routine!

My last post was inspired by a question asked on tumblr. This one is inspired by my students, two of which are preparing for their first ever competitions and many others who are preparing for our first ever student showcase. I hope this will also be of help to any pole dancers putting together their first ever routine, or maybe even their second, third or tenth!

Have a vague idea of what you want to achieve. Want to do a comedy piece? Want to do a sexy little routine? Want to show off your strength and skill? Just want to put together a simple clean beginners routine? What is it you want to do? Are you performing this for fellow students? Or at a competition? Are you a beginner? Or a super advanced pole ninja? It doesn't matter which but be realistic. What is it you want to have at the end? It may morph and adapt and change as the process continues but have at least an idea of your end point.
  • Pick some songs that fit with what you'd like to achieve. You may have a very specific song already in mind or you may just have a general vibe or mood you want to create. Ask friends and family for ideas if you don't know where to start. Pick at least 5 songs that you might like to dance to and listen to them A LOT. My last routine was between about 5 songs, after a short time of listening to them I found myself gravitating back to the same song. I knew then that it was the right one.
  • Once you've picked your song - FREESTYLE to it. It will likely be terrible, but get used to the song and how it makes you want to move. Lock yourself away and do this by yourself so you can truly let go. Film it in case something magical happens. Do this at least a few times.
  • Make a list of moves you want to showcase. These may be your favourite moves, your most comfortable moves, some combinations you love, a bit of floor work. Whatever it is, write it down!! You can cut moves from your list later if you need to. Highlight the most important ones.
  • Sit and listen to your song and choreograph in your head. My last routine was choreographed entirely this way, I only made tiny tweaks in the studio. This is mainly because I have a good understanding of how long it takes me to get in and out of the moves I chose, it may not work out so perfectly for you but it will give you a great starting point to work from.
  • Focus on the big combinations - place them where they will make the most impact in your song. Then find a way from each combination to the other. This was a tip given to me by Sarah (AKA Sarah Blackmilk on fb). I had my opening, my ending, and an invert combination I wanted to put in the middle, everything in between was put in the routine solely to get me from one place to another - IT ALL had a reason to be there. To support and facilitate the big combinations. 
  • Film every practice session. Sometimes something goes wrong and we think it's terrible but actually when we look back on the footage it is a happy mistake. Or other times we think something looks amazing that actually looks terrible. Film EVERYTHING.
  • Make sure each move is angled perfectly for your audience. This isn't as much a worry on spinning pole as each angle of every move will be highlighted but on static you need to decide exactly where you will stand to go in and out of every move so that the audience gets the best view. Filming your routine from the audience perspective will help you to figure this out.
  • Show your routine to someone who will give you honest critical feedback. Spend time working on this feedback and tidying things up - ensure nice straight legs, nice lines, pointed toes. Work on the timing of your moves (in this post I talk about how you will rush through your routine).
  • Get your costume! It may be just a simple pole outfit or something more dramatic, it may not leave much to the imagination or cover most of your body, whatever it is - get it sorted nice and early. Then run through your routine in your costume multiple times. Make sure everything stays covered, that the costume doesn't hinder your routine! Tape everything down.
  • Read my post on first time performing.
  • Take some deep breaths, go on that stage, kick ass.
Is there anything missing? Pop me a comment!
- Bex