Heaven Knows – The Pretty Reckless

Since I’m coming up with a new routine every week, it can be difficult to find new music that a) I like, b) I can choreograph to, and c) other people will like. Sometimes I pick songs and while no one ever says anything, I can tell they don’t particularly care for them… so I love song suggestions! Sometimes I can’t work with them (Biggie Smalls, anyone?), but sometimes I get great new music. I was iffy on this one at first, but I ended up really liking how the choreography came together. A large part of the beginning is from Elizabeth Carmine Black’s contribution to BeSpun’s Flow Challenge,  so I thank her for that!

This routine ended up being quite fast and with several direction changes, so it was a little challenging for my students, but they all got it and enjoyed the challenge!

BeSpun Flow Challenge 2016

BeSpun was one of the first pole studios in the United States, opening in 2006. The studio boasts such stars as Alethea Austin, Amy Guion, Jordan Kensley, Brynn Route, and of course its founder, Leigh Ann Reilly, as well as many other amazing polers! I’m not sure if this is its first year doing the Flow Challenge – I vaguely remember something last year? – but this is my first time participating. Over the course of 6 weeks, a BeSpun instructor posts a new combo: some on spin, some on static, some in leggings, some in heels. There’s something for everyone! There are only 5 combos, and the 6th week is to put together all 5.

For some reason, I never got around to learning each week’s new challenge, instead starting to learn all of them on week 5. I much prefer spin pole over static (unless I’m on the floor around the base of the pole), so I learned Leigh Ann (week 1) and Jennifer Kim’s (week 3) combos much faster than the others. It took me a bit to figure out Claudia Renee’s (week 2), Elizabeth Carmine Black’s (week 4), and Brandon Grimm’s (week 5). Brandon’s was actually one of the hardest for me even though it’s all very simple moves just because I never do them on static! I’m glad I took on this challenge to try to force myself to look at basic moves in a new way and move in ways that I otherwise don’t. I’d love to host a challenge like this, too…

Bad to the Chrome 2016

An event put on by the absolutely incredible Sarah Jade? Yes, please!

I got the chance to be a part of a group routine for her showcase, Bad to the Chrome, with some lovely ladies (and gentleman) from Bittersweet Studios in Jacksonville, and we had a blast! The whole show is rock-themed, and Voodoo is a pretty classic rock song. We were inspired by the definitive sexy-rock group routine, Miss Pole Dance Australia 2012’s opening number. We are no former showgirls, but we tried our best! Even with some last minute changes (we had been practicing with the lyra behind the poles, not in line with them) I definitely think we rocked the creepysexy look.

We’ll be doing a slightly modified version of this routine for Pole for a Purpose in just a month, so stay tuned for that post!

Back to Black – Beyonce ft. Andre 3000

I LOVE this song! So much, in fact, that I’ve choreographed to it multiple times:  first in June 2013, again in August 2013, and for the third time in December 2013. It’s always fascinating for me to look back at my previous choreographies: that first one is SO simple and not very musical, it got better in August, and then there was some very interesting movement at the beginning of the one in December. Not one of the 4 routines to this song have been similar at all!

Every now and then I daydream about the ideal classes that I want to take: I very rarely get to take a class, but I LIVE for the times I can. Even when I can take a beginner/intermediate class, I feel so refreshed and in such a better mood. Teaching is wonderful, but I truly love learning. In college I briefly entertained the idea of continuing my education for as long as possible, but the expensive reality of life set in. I’d still love to be a full-time student, but that just doesn’t pay the bills! I do learn while teaching, but because I’m always thinking about what comes next or how to help a student, I don’t get to truly rest in my learning. One of the ideal classes I dream about is being given a song and then everyone in the class has 30 minutes to come up with 30 seconds to 1 minute of choreography. After that time is up, we come together and learn everyone’s choreography. I am fascinated by how differently I interpret the same music on different days, even more so how different people interpret the same music. I think I would really learn a lot from a class like that since it synthesizes both teaching and learning.

Anyway, all that to say it’s been two and a half years since I used this song, so it’s time for me to break it out again! It’s still Bringing Sexy Back, and I can’t think of a better time to dance to Back to Black.

Waiting Game – Banks

It’s United Pole Artists’ Bringing Sexy Back time again! It started out as just a week, then two weeks, and I think last year was the entire month of July! This year, it’s from July 7th to July 24th, and I’m excited! I’ve done several videos for this event before: 2013, two in 2014, my poleography class in 2015, and a super short solo freestyle. It’s pretty easy this year since instead of teaching poleography classes (which I tried to alternate between contemporary and sexy), I’m just teaching sexy flexy floorwork classes, so I get to do a sexy routine every week! This song is one of those staples in the pole world for sexy music, and I was surprised to find that I hadn’t used it before. It’s one of the simplest routines I’ve done for class, but I still like it. I think I’m going to do a song I’ve done before for next week, but a totally different routine.

Sweet Sour – Band of Skulls

In between performances at the Southern Pole Championships (my blog post on that will come as soon as I get my video!), the emcee played music, and when I heard a song playing that I liked but didn’t know, I Shazamed it! I found a couple new fun songs that weekend, and this is one of them. It’s a little outside my normal wheelhouse, but it has good beats and is fun to move to, so I decided to use it for my Sexy Flexy Floorwork class this week.

I’m trying to choreograph more than one routine a week during the summer to stockpile routines for when school starts again (the first week in August, ugh), but it’s hard because then I’m much more likely to forget them and I’ll spend almost as much time relearning them in the hours before class as I would just creating them in the first place. I still think having them done and videoed will help, though.

As always, it’s a challenge for me to come up with floor-based routines that don’t involve any shoulder rolls since two of my students can’t do them and attempting them strains their necks. I feel like I’m just recycling all the same moves, just in a different order. I did have one shoulder stand-y move in this routine for just a second to swing around to sit up, and everyone was fine with that one, so I might work up to more…


Fire and Ice Showcase 6-4-16

Bittersweet Studios has a showcase about every 6 months, and each time they get bigger and better! The most recent one was held on June 4th, and much like the last one, I had two performances: a group chair routine and a solo. My goal was to have most of (if not all) of my students from Palm Coast do the chair routine with me, but only two ended up learning the routine and they didn’t want to perform it with such a small group. Luckily, I convinced some students and instructors at the Jacksonville location to learn it with me, and I screamed out the directions as we performed it! We’d only gone through it once or twice beforehand, and very quickly, so most of the people were definitely still trying to listen to me tell them where to go next. It was a challenge for me to remember what came next and yell it out in time for everyone to follow along while still performing the choreography. I do it every week in my sexy flexy floorwork classes, but usually not to this extent. If anyone were to say that teaching a group routine class isn’t difficult, I’d point them to this video! I was exhausted by the end of this routine, both mentally and physically. Thankfully, this was the opening to the showcase and my solo came near the end so I had plenty of time to recover.

I performed my Pole Sport Organization Southern Pole Championships routine as a sort of dress rehearsal before the real deal the following weekend (post about that to come as soon as I get my video from the always-amazing Alloy Images!). It’s not the best run-through, and I changed a few minor things the night of the competition that looking back, I’m glad I did. For example, I did two of what I call sexy inchworms at the beginning here, and at the competition I just did one slow one, which I think was a good choice!