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…
On May 28th and 29th I got the chance to perform at the Orlando Fringe festival with A Pole Dance Revue put on by Dawn Humphries, and it was so much fun! The revue was a look at all the different styles of pole dance, from Chinese, to circus/contortion, to dramatic, to burlesque, to sexy. I represented the dramatic aspect (the sexier side of dramatic…) so I picked this song, which I’ve been listening to for a while now and love its weirdness. I just freestyled to it, and while it could have been better had I choreographed a routine, I’m pretty happy with this freestyle. There were a few previews of my Southern Pole Championships routine in there – gotta make sure I can hit those moves anywhere, even on a wobbly stage pole!
Inspired by both Aerial Amy and Tracee Kafer, I put on some songs I’d never heard before and just went for it. Nothing wonderful or transportive came out of it, but it felt SO GOOD to just keep going and dance for an entire song, especially songs that I didn’t know beforehand. Usually I find a new song I like and listen to it on repeat obsessively in the car, then pole to it after I know every tiny little nuance and when the beats hit. I’m late on some beats and early on others in these videos, but it’s so good for me to not be “on” all the time. I definitely want to do more of this free dancing stuff!
This song was the first one I put on after getting to the studio and strapping on my heels. I hadn’t stretched or warmed up in any way before this, but by the end, I was quite warm! I see a lot of hesitation and repetition here.
Immediately after watching back the Miley Cyrus video, I felt the need to keep going and try another song. I found these songs on Amy’s March playlist and had only listened to the first 10 seconds or so when I chose to use them for this activity. I love this song and the weird undercurrent that reminds me of the creepy boat scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Since I hadn’t listened to the song before, I didn’t know when it was going to end and didn’t realize until a few seconds until it started playing again that it was on repeat! I had more fun with this song since I was willing to let go more and get into some strange and uncomfortable situations (like that trapped leg roll thing at 2:55). Overall, I want to keep pushing myself to try new things and not try to “perform” as much when I’m just dancing for myself.
I’m obsessed with this song. I got to take a class with Allison Sipes last week when I was in Orlando for a work training, and she played this song for us to freestyle to at the end of class. I haven’t stopped listening to it since! I didn’t have a chance to choreograph anything for this week’s poleography class because I’m working hard on my Nationals routine, plus I’m performing and teaching two workshops this weekend in Orlando, so I’ve had a lot of things to put together! I did watch several Eva Bembo videos because she is the queen of sexy pole to floor work and learned a couple new moves I wanted to try. I ended up creating a few new (to me) things myself, like the shoulder roll leg develop thing. I love those types of leg movements and want to work on making them look smoother! This is just a little clip of some of the rolling around on the floor I did. I’ll have a full routine choreographed for next week!
I apologize again for the blurry video! I promise I figured it out for next week’s!
I already did a full routine to this song, but it was a week before competing in Pole Theatre and I just wasn’t up for putting together a new routine! Instead, I came up with a theme – skating/dragging – and put together 6 different spins that incorporated at least one body part skimming the floor: fingers, toes, or hair. I’m always inspired by Tracee Kafer and her various freestyle challenges, so I’m doing the skating one late! I counted 5 of the 6 different spins we learned in this video, but I can’t think of what the other one was! It was nice to be able to interpret the same moves and song differently and not have to worry about staying in sync with other people. I like seeing how we each hit different beats and when one person went in and small, others went out and big! It’s fun to acknowledge those differences.
I really wish I’d had more time and put more thought into this routine: as it was, I free-styled the whole thing and I’m not a huge fan of how it turned out. Next year, I plan on putting a lot more effort into and really making my BSBW submission something amazing. When I watch this routine, I notice a few things: there isn’t any flow or reason for why I’m going from one move to the next; there’s no emotion; I stay centered and focused around the pole, even when I’m on the floor; I never reach full extension in a phrase of music; and I don’t have many combinations or pole passes, just random tricks. I know it isn’t horrible, but I know I can do better!