Dance as Emotion

This post is part of the Pole Dancing Blogger’s Association April blog hop on emotion and spirituality in dance. It took me a while to write this, and I shied away from really digging deep, but here it is, barely still in April.

I haven’t always thought of dance as a way to express emotion. I grew up taking ballet, and while ballets definitely portray emotion, that aspect of dance wasn’t emphasized at all in class. For me, ballet class was about technique. And while technique is definitely important, that’s only one part of a great dance performance. What makes a dance performance fantastic is the emotion that comes through. Emotion is an aspect of dance that I’m still working on: I feel silly making faces while I’m dancing, unless it’s a smile. I used to always choose songs that were upbeat and happy so I could just smile the whole time: all I want to do when I’m on stage is smile because I’m so happy to be performing! But then I realized that there are so many other emotions than joy, and while it’s fine to express happiness, I don’t want to be pigeonholed into those kinds of performances.

I chose a song for the Florida Pole Fitness Championship that required an emotional response, and I don’t think I succeeded in that. I wasn’t very happy with my performances for several reasons, not the least of which I looked like I had a completely blank expression the entire time. I actually think the best run-through I had was once at the studio a few weeks before the competition for my submission to National Aerial Pole Art. The only other person there was my training partner, who is amazing at portraying emotion, so I didn’t feel silly just going for it.

One of my favorite pole artists is Sergia Louise Anderson, who makes the BEST faces when she’s performing. I love watching these videos in particular:

Elation to deflation portrayed beautifully.

Check out her absolute freedom starting 2:45! So amazing.

It’s not a great quality video, but I am absolutely obsessed with this routine! So much story here.

Portraying emotion – no, not even that. Having my emotion come out in dance form, that’s what I’m striving for. That’s what I want out of pole: to be able to take whatever I’m feeling inside and have it show on the outside. The music I have for my NAPA piece makes this easier for me, and I really think it’ll be the most emotional performance I’ve done yet. I need to get past thinking about what move is coming next and just live in the emotion of the piece.

I have one more performance to end with, and it’s my absolute all-time favorite emotional dance piece. I love seeing people do what they were made to do: my mom still tells how my parents hired a guy to come trim the trees in their backyard when I was little, and she’d never seen someone so obviously meant to be doing that job. He was so incredibly joyful about climbing trees and his work that it shone through. This guy, a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, was created to dance. This was what he was made to do and it’s incredible.

 

See the other blogs addressing this topic HERE.

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American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.46.46 PMThis song was another request, and surprisingly difficult for me. I’ve been having more true beginner students in my poleography class, so I’m trying to stay with beginner level moves. No inverts or climbs: even pole sits have proven difficult, so I feel limited in my movements. I know that I shouldn’t: I should be able to create an awesome routine without any tricks at all, or really any pole moves, but it’s hard for me. I really should take some dance classes to become more familiar with different types of movement.

Anyway, here’s the routine, tons of body rolls and all! I have a couple more song requests for the next few weeks, but I’m always taking more!

Sexercise – Kylie Minogue

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Steven Retchless posted this video last week and once I heard the song, I was hooked. I downloaded it and proceeded to put it on repeat for the better part of an hour. (On a related note, wearing stripper heels and putting on music makes doing laundry SO much more palatable.) I try to do a sexy heels routine every other week, mixing it in with a contemporary or just heel-less routine with no booty shakes to try to cater to all the different styles I have in my class. This week I had a few students who were taking my poleography class for the first time after just a few beginner pole classes, so I think they were a little surprised at the difficulties involved in learning choreography and new moves quickly. Everyone did an awesome job though! Only half the class opted to be in the video, which is totally fine: not everyone wants to have video proof of them pole dancing (or humping the floor) out on the Internet. :) I love this kind of routine, so I had a blast putting it together. The first 2 minutes are choreographed, and then we freestyled for the last 45 seconds. I didn’t realize my pole was on static until after I had started the video: I meant for it to be on spin. Oh well! I love seeing what everyone comes up with when tasked with freestyling.

Next week, a classic song by request!

I Confess – k.d. lang

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I tend to stick to the same kinds of music when I work on choreography for class, so I always appreciate it when I get song requests that are out of my comfort zone. My friend Annie, whom I met in college and now teaches at the high school I graduated from, suggested this song last week and I decided to go with it. I couldn’t really get a good feel for the song, for some reason: it just wouldn’t stay in my head, so I had a hard time getting deep enough into it for creative movement, but I kind of like going back to the basics every now and then. It’s nice to have simple, beginner-level moves put together in a sequence because the moves themselves don’t require much thought and I can focus on making them beautiful and controlled. I’m all about controlling and flowing through moves, and it’s necessary to master that with the simple moves first before trying it with more complicated tricks.