Sexercise – Kylie Minogue

I first did this routine back in April, but I loved it and figured the few girls who had already experienced it wouldn’t mind round two. My routine for Pole Sport Organization’s Southeast Aerial Art Championships (I’ve been working on it constantly since it’s less than two weeks away!) is very dramatic and serious, with bare feet, so I’ve been feeling the need to throw on some heels and go for it with the body rolls in Poleography class. This song and choreography was just the ticket for me to roll around a bit before more run-throughs of my routine (I did 1 or 2 run-throughs at 5 before teaching class from 6 to 8:30, then did 2 more run-throughs after class.) I love how many different kinds of pole dance there are: there’s something for everyone!

Dip It Low – Christina Milian

Unless someone has requested a specific song or I’ve found the perfect one randomly somewhere, I tend to end up scrolling through my iTunes looking for a song to choreograph for Poleography class. This one popped up, and I had to go watch the music video on YouTube: so much fun! I enjoyed this routine a lot, since there’s nothing I like more than some booty bouncing!

Again, if anyone has a song request, or a specific-type-of-dance request (floor? rock? spins? static? pants and socks?), I’d love to hear it!

Cleo’s Rock N Pole DVD Review: Part 1!

About a month and a half ago, I got the email that I was chosen to be one of the bloggers affiliated with the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association to review Cleo’s Rock N Pole DVD! It’s so fun to learn new moves and styles, especially since as a teacher I rarely get to take classes. Her site’s official description of the DVD:

“Cleo’s Rock N Pole is a fun and high energy workout combining strength, flexibility and cardio training by a two-time Australian Pole Dance Champion. Choose from 4 heart racing routines from Pole to Floor-work danced to a HOT Rock N Roll soundtrack. Not only do you exercise your body, but your brain is getting quite a workout! A challenge conquered can be so rewarding, learning new skills that test your memory ability AND improve your dance skills. Plus, once you know the routines it raises your heart rate so you reap the maximum benefits in cardio fitness!”

(Visit cleothehurricane.com to see all of her other amazing offerings!)

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I opted for the digital download so I wouldn’t have to wait for the physical DVD to arrive, but just a week or so after getting it, I was hired for a full-time teaching position (I’m a high school English teacher in my non-pole life) and my life got ten million times busier. Between preparing for the beginning of the school year, planning lessons for English, creating routines for Poleography, trying to choreograph and practice for the Southeast Aerial Art Championships, rehearse and perform for Pole for a Purpose, and just life in general, it took me a while to get a chance to actually try out Rock N Pole.

The first time I played the introduction and first routine, I sat on the floor and paused it every few minutes to take notes. I am not an organized note-taker: instead, everything that goes through my head I throw down on paper, either digital or physical.

I started with the first warm-up and holy cow, was it fast! I think I catch on pretty quickly in dance classes, but Cleo flew through the warm-up a bit too fast for me. I was definitely warmed up very quickly, but it kind of left my head spinning. I noticed there was no stretching, but thought that might come after the warm-up. It didn’t, but there is a cool-down section later in the DVD that might focus more on stretching.

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I look at my feet like I’m seriously contemplating them when doing clockwork legs. It’s a little ridiculous.

The one thing I kept repeating throughout my notes is my number one frustration when it comes to instructional DVDs of any kind: the instructor facing the camera. I want to mirror the instructor, so I absolutely prefer the instructor to be in front of the class facing front so I can copy her moves exactly. Cleo faces the camera, or the class, which would be fine except that she doesn’t verbally switch sides, which confuses me. For example, since she’s facing me, I expect her to say which side I should be using in a particular move, which would be the opposite side she’s using. Instead, she says exactly what she’s doing – “Put your right hand up on the pole and then step around” – so that I either have to follow what she says, or follow what it looks like she’s doing, which would be my left hand up on the pole. The conflicting directions is a pet peeve of mine so this immediately caught my attention.

Since I had to choose to either listen to Cleo or follow what her body was doing, I chose to follow. I am not an auditory learner at all (I reaffirmed this recently when taking a practice test that had a listening section before giving it to my students and I had to listen to the audio six times just to answer three questions.) I am a visual learner: show it to me, and I’ll get it. So I watched Cleo and tried to ignore her verbal directions, which would have gotten me switched around. I understand that if you are making a DVD, you want your face to show and for your verbal instructions to be clearly heard, which is awkward when you’re facing away from the camera/student, but then I expect for the directions to follow what the student will be doing, which is the opposite of what the instructor is doing.

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Wait, does she have her right leg up or her left? What am I doing next? Oh god, I’m so lost.

As an instructor of pole dance routines, I try to stay in front of the class so they can follow my movements. Sometimes this involves me running back and forth between two poles depending on which way we’re facing in that part of the routine. Other times I stay at one pole and turn around so I can see them and demonstrate facing them with the opposite side on the pole, but verbalizing from their side of the pole.

I started the first routine that Cleo teaches, and while it’s not my type of music at all, I get that it’s Cleo’s thing and it’s obvious she truly enjoys what she’s doing. I found that the routine breakdown is quite fast and I was doing a lot of pausing and rewinding to get the choreography, partly because, again, I was switching what she was saying to follow what she was doing.

*A note on digital download vs. DVD: I would suggest paying for the DVD for ease of rewinding. I disliked having to slide to try to find where I was and go from chapter to chapter, while the DVD would have the chapters built in and it would be easier to control.*

The routine is quite fast and focuses more on quick movement than going through each motion. My style tends to go the other way, so this was a challenge for me. It was a FANTASTIC workout and I was dripping with sweat and my heart was pumping within ten minutes.

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Laughing at myself for completely messing up a part.

When it came time for the pole trick breakdown, I was surprised at how fast Cleo went through it. The only modification between beginner and intermediate was a split modification, and then there was a part near the end where there was an intermediate combo – an invert to outside leg hang to bat to slide down – where the beginner option was just repeating the chorus.

This is not my style of music, pole, or routine, but it IS a great workout and it’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zones. I did incorporate Cleo’s cool circle leg down movement from a backslide into the most recent Poleography routine, Scandalous.

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Cleo and I may have very different styles, but everyone can appreciate a good hair flip!

I tried doing the full routine, but I don’t have it memorized yet and so I look kind of ridiculous staring at the computer and the angles are off… but hey, it’s always good to see what a routine starts out looking like to compare it to later versions! I’m going to keep working on this routine and will hopefully have  a much more polished version for my next post about Cleo’s Rock N Pole DVD.

To reward you for reading through this long post, here’s the video of me attempting to look like Cleo and failing miserably (make sure your sound is turned up because it’s pretty low on the video). But you know what? It was a great workout, I had fun, and it can only get better from here!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Scandalous – Mis-Teeq

I had a request for Milkshake by Kelis, but I had a hard time putting something together for it, so I was scrolling through my iTunes library when I happened across this fun throwback from high school. Every time I hear this song I want to stomp down a runway in monstrous heels, wind blowing through my hair, and flashing lights. It’s just one of those songs that makes me want to perform!

We decided to change the Poleography class to an hour and a half long because with just an hour we didn’t have time to warm up or cool down and still learn the routine to a satisfactory level. I really loved having the 90 minutes and we had more time to spend on getting the routine down and adding our own performance flair to it. I think I’m going to do another throwback song next week, and I’m excited!

Circus – Britney Spears (Part 3 and Final!)

We finally finished the Circus routine  (see part 1 and part 2) that included chair, floor, and at the end, a tiny bit of pole. :) I love this routine and how it turned out: I always feel so sassy and able to perform during a chair dance. Plus, of course the more familiar I am with a routine, the more I’m able to focus on eye contact and the little things that make a dance exciting to watch.

I’m a little late on posting this, and I didn’t have class this week because of Labor Day, so I won’t have a new video until next week. It will definitely include heels though! We also changed the timing of the class to be an hour and a half long, so we have more time to warm up, learn the routine, and film it. I’m excited!