Category Archives: Pole Related

What to Do When You “Already Have the Move”

I’ve taken and taught hundreds of pole classes over the past 6 years, and one thing that drives me crazy as both a student and an instructor is seeing a student standing around in class, not doing anything because they “already have the move”. Whether the instructor was teaching a move they already knew, or the student was able to do it after just one or two tries, no one is EVER “done” with a move! Pole is a constant work in progress. There are tons of things you can be doing to improve yourself as a poler even if you “have the move”.

1. Do your other side.

Of course this one was going to be first! Every instructor teaches differently – I tend to teach a move on one side and students work on it/repeat it on that side until we, as a class, move to the other side – but not everyone explicitly teaches both sides. When I first started learning pole, I was definitely taught moves on whichever side was more comfortable for me, and that hindered my progress later. ALWAYS do moves on both sides: you don’t want your strength or flexibility to be uneven, and you never know when you will want to connect it with another move that you are truly limited to doing on one side for whatever reason.


I love switching this move from side to side because it transitions so nicely!

2. Make sure your legs are straight and toes are pointed

OK, so you’ve done the move on both sides now, so you’re good, right? No! Go through the move again on both sides, and this time make sure you have energy going through your legs at all times: are the legs supposed to be straight? Bent? They’re almost always purposefully one way or the other; rarely does a move have just a slightly bent leg as it often looks like it’s just hanging there. And as always, point your toes! Tons of people have pointed feet when their legs are away from the pole, but flex them in knee holds. Be aware of what your legs and feet are doing. Feel free to spend as much time here as you need, until it becomes second nature.

3. Think about your arms 

This depends on the move, of course. If you’re holding onto the pole with both arms for the duration of the move, then you don’t have too many options. But say you’re in a nice armpit hold: what is your outside arm doing? Hanging limply? Curved in front or up like a ballerina? Reaching towards the audience? If you’re in a leg hang or hold, what kind of shapes can you make with your arms? Try to find different positions and see how changing arm shapes can totally change the look and feel of a move.


A lot of times I do moves that require both arms on the pole, but they were free here. I definitely could have done more with them, but I like how my arm mirrors the angle of my legs in that move near the end.

4. Change the tempo

Go through the move at different speeds. If there are several movements into a final pose, try doing a couple of them fast and really milking one of them, then switch up which one(s) you stretch out. If the move is a dynamic one, try doing it slowly and controlled. If it’s a flip or something that can’t be slowed down, try entering and exiting the move at different tempos. You never know if at some point in the future you’ll want to put that move in a routine with a song that requires a specific tempo!


This is an example of both tempo and genre change – I want to do more of these in class!

5. Change the genre

Go through the move like you’re dancing to a classical song, then like you’re dancing to a Metallica song, then a Halsey song… you get the idea. Change the style of your movement to fit different genres of music, even if the move (or name of the move) doesn’t seem to fit. Ballerina spin to Godsmack, anyone?

6. Connect it to another move*

How are you getting into the move? What about getting out of it? Are you just inverting or climbing directly into it and falling out of it? See what moves you already have under your belt that you can connect to the new move to make a combo. Explore different entries and exits.

~See pretty much my entire Instagram library: I try really hard not to post just one move, but put whatever I just learned with at least one other move in a combo.~

7. Do it backwards…*

How did you get into the move? Can you reverse it to come out of it the exact same way you got into it? This is a great way to find new moves and transitions! It’s not the same thing as trying it on the other side, but it’s usually a reversal of movement. Is a thread-through involved? What happens if you thread through the opposite direction?

8. … Or upside down*

This is definitely not possible for every single move, but if it’s upside down, try it right side up and vice versa. I also think this makes for a particularly symmetrical and cool looking combo, plus you might find out that it’s actually easier (or you prefer the shape) the other way around! I’ve seen several right side up moves that I knew would be difficult, so I took them upside down to learn something new.


I think I originally saw this pretty shape upright and wanted to try it upside down, too.

Finally, never stop moving! You should never be bored in a pole class, no matter what level you are or what level the class is.

*always make sure the instructor is ok with this! Sometimes instructors don’t want you trying other moves while they’re teaching a specific one, not necessarily because you can’t do it, but because other students in the class may not be ready for it yet and want to try after seeing you rock a new move or combo!

The Third Notebook

I can’t believe this is the third little notebook I’ve completely filled with pole routines! (You can read about the first one HERE, and the second one HERE). The first notebook started on April 21, 2012, one year and a few days after my very first pole class, and ended on July 21, 2014, exactly 27 months later. The second notebook began on July 28, 2014 and was completed on September 28, 2015, exactly 14 months later (it was a smaller notebook). The third notebook began on October 5, 2015 and filled up June 20, 2017, 20 and a half months later. I teach one pole routine a week, but I also often use a few pages for each competition routine I do, as well as other routines like twerkshops.

In the post about my second notebook, I included a photo of the first blank page of my third notebook, so here is what that once-blank page looks like now:

firstnotebookThis was a fun routine and I got all my girls to wear pink for the class! I’m pretty sure this was the last Britney Spears routine I did, which means I’m long overdue for another one!
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This was the first thoughts for my third place Florida Pole Fitness Championship 2016 routine. I almost always start choreographing my own routines by breaking down the song into sections for spin pole, static pole, floorwork, and the transitions between poles before I start figuring out what the pole passes are going to be. Since I’m not a fan of static pole, I usually try to get it done first so it’s out of the way and I can be free to spin as much as I like!PSOnotebookI don’t have the times written out for my winning 2017 Triangle PSO routine, but I started with static pole again, then had my spin combos (though the first spin combo written out ended up being my second because I was too tired to get through the shoulder mount full circle at the end of the routine!)

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And here’s the last routine in the third notebook! I think it’s fitting that I ended with a Halsey song because I’ve choreographed to so many of her songs. I’ve already started in my fourth notebook, and the first routine in it is for PSO Nationals! I’m so excited (and SUPER nervous) to compete in Los Angeles among the best of the best in just a few weeks, but I hope to do myself justice. With almost all of my competitions, I’d rather be happy with how I performed than happy with how I placed (of course, ideally I’d be both happy with my performance AND how I placed!). Even though I placed third at FPFC, I was so happy with that performance, and even though I won at PSO’s Triangle Pole Championship, I was quite upset with my own performance of that routine. I’m really hoping to be happy with my performance at Nationals, and if I place, even better!

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My notebooks are definitely put through the wringer: carted around in a messy pole bag, thrown around the studio when I grab it to look at what I’m doing next teaching class and then toss it aside, used to angle my camera the right way, and slid around in sweat and Dry Hands. I kind of love it though: it’s a good representation of the hard work put into those pages.

February 2017 Twerkshops

I LOVE twerking! I love watching it and I love attempting it, and while I’m definitely not the best at twerking, I like putting together booty-shaking routines and getting people to dance with me! I’d had several requests for a twerkshop, so I put together a super fun and simple routine and taught it at both the Jacksonville and Palm Coast locations of Bittersweet. I think it’s safe to say everyone had a blast and got in a good workout: we were all dripping in sweat by the end of the 90 minutes!

Not everyone at either location wanted to be in the videos, but we had a great turnout at both and I’m excited to do another one later this spring! Sometimes we forget the cardio part of working out since pole is focused so much more on the strength training, and this was a really enjoyable way to get some cardio in!

 

My Favorite YouTube Comments (So Far)

It comes with the territory: you post something on social media, especially when it’s pole-related, and you will get comments. Here are my top 10 (plus 2!) favorite comments from YouTube so far:

On Exes and Ohs: “I feel bad for not liking this routine.” Do you really, though?

On Worth It: “Omg u know that if a guy trys to where heels and it looks good on him but not me I would be jelly. But he looks better and he dances wayyhyyy better than those girls.??” Sooo many comments about my friend Paul in the routines!

“that looks so gross but still COOL ?????????” …thank… you…?

On Partition: “Ugh a man?” Yep! Surprise!

On Under Your Skin: “Cool dancing, but you really needed some help filming this. Could’ve been great done right.” Damn, you mean my awesome phone-on-a-tripod isn’t professional grade videography?

On Crave You: “I was really disappointed that you used a remix instead of the original song, but still a good routine nonetheless!!” Well shit, I really choose my music based off your desires, random YouTube commenter! I’ll try to read your mind better next time!

On My Own Summer: “Lose the heels and put on some Chuck Taylor’s for some Deftones.” Huh. Never considered that. Maybe next time!

On Paradise Circus; same person, two separate comments: “you are trying too hard. relax a little” and “in my opinion this song is better for exotic dance” Good point. I’ll try to relax more AND dance more exotically, whatever that means!

On Desperado: “Good Job! Even though the one in the white was off a little!” Nice comment! Even though your grammar was off a little!

On Skin: “they did good but the first girl moved very slow but i will love to do this at a pole dancing club if i can find one” Good luck!

On Wiggle: “I am a woman” Awesome, thanks for sharing!

I can’t wait to see what incredibly pithy, uplifting, and wise YouTube comments the future brings!

 

*I do delete straight-up cruel or disgusting comments, and I usually just laugh at silly ones like these. I do love positive comments though, so feel free to leave those wherever you like! Writing this post made me realize how much I do enjoy positive comments, so I’m going to try to do that more often for other people!

 

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…

The Second Notebook

I finished the first notebook over a year ago, and I recently filled up my second notebook! These notebooks are priceless to me since they contain every routine I’ve ever done, whether it was for poleography class (the vast majority), a competition, or a showcase. Sometimes I write notes in there – ideas for routines, combinations I want to try, wise morsels from instructors in workshops (Sergia, I’m looking at you!).

There are some very specific requirements for my pole notebooks. They must have a hard cover that will keep the pages safe and unbent. They must be spiral-bound, able to lay flat, and easily opened (sometimes covers get stuck in the spirals and don’t smoothly open all the way around to the back). They must be in a neutral color (the first one was mostly white with some gray and black designs, the second one was silver metal, and my new one is white, gray, and black patterned) because I want it to hold every single kind of emotion, not just a few. A hot pink glittery notebook is awesome, but it would feel weird to write an emotionally charged, heartfelt routine about abuse in it (that was the theme of my PSO nationals routine!) And finally, after filling this notebook, I wanted one that was slightly bigger so I could write more on each page.

The very first routine in the second notebook was a fun one (and that metal cover did keep the pages safer than my first notebook!):

firstroutineinnb

Most of my notebook is full of poleography class routines, like this one about halfway through, where I had some ideas that didn’t end up working:

takemetochurchscribbles

While the vast majority of the notebook is poleography routines, I  did write some competition routines in there as well. In my last post I wrote, “I hope a winning routine graces its lines in the coming years!” Well, just a few short months after that post, I won my very first competition! This is what the routine looks like in that notebook:seaacI don’t even know what some of that is, especially the 2nd page! Because I run competition routines so much and I change little things so frequently, I rarely end up writing out the whole routine. I start out with ideas, combos, and passes, but then it grows from there and I don’t write down every new idea or change, especially because I don’t need the memory jog since I’m running it so often.

I did, however, write out a lot more of my Florida Pole Fitness Championship routine:firstfpfcthoughts

fpfc2015 ideasfirst ideas for fpfcfpfc2015I love seeing the first one, undated, with just a few ideas, then how over the course of just 5 days, it all grew and changed. We also did a group routine, so I was writing out ideas for my doubles pole pass.

I’m so proud of all the half-finished ideas, class routines that weren’t great, competition routines that I placed horribly with, as well as the successful competition ideas and the unexpectedly fun routines that this notebook holds. I’m a few routines into my third notebook already, but this is what it looked like when it was brand-new and had no idea what was in store for it. I can’t wait to look back and see what magic happens in its pages!

blanknewnb
Unlimited potential.

 

5 Things to Say to a Beginner in Anything!

This is part of The Pole Dancing Bloggers‘ January blog hop.

The prompt for January is 5 spirit crushing things never to say to a beginner pole dancer.  However, I’m not only a pole teacher but a high school teacher as well, and there are quite a few things I’ve learned that any teacher or influencer should always try to tell someone who’s a beginner in anything.

1. It might be hard, and that’s ok.
Learning a new skill, whether it’s when to use a semicolon or how to do a front hook spin, might be challenging. It often will be challenging, simply because you don’t know how to do it yet. But when you see that other people in your class already know how to do it, or are picking it up much faster than you, it can be really discouraging. Make sure beginners know that it’s ok for them not to get it the first time, or even the fifth, tenth or twentieth time. Depending on the skill, it may take months of consistent work to achieve it. The key is to not let the beginner give up just because it’s difficult at first.

2. This is how I do it, but here’s another way to do it, too.
Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for someone else. I learned this first in my education classes and in practice in my classroom. I understand perfectly how to grasp this concept with one explanation, and so do five of the students, but the other twenty? They might need it explained in a different way. Now when I teach my high school students, I try to have at least two or three different ways of explaining and practicing a new concept, because not everyone understands everything the same way. I also try to translate that to my pole classes: this entrance works for me and my body, but maybe this way will work for you better. Sometimes it’s just using different words: I’d been repeating a combination multiple times in a class once about a month ago and one of my students just wasn’t getting it, even though I knew she was capable of the moves. Finally, she said, “Oh, you mean ____?” Yes, yes I did, I was just explaining how to do the first trick into the next trick instead of saying the actual name of the first trick. Instead of trying to follow my directions, she just did the first trick and it clicked.

3. I really like how you did _______.
Encouragement is huge! I know that I will start giving up on something if I don’t get any positive feedback. When I’m teaching, especially when it’s a beginner, I always look for something to compliment. It could be a nice hand, beautiful point, their enthusiasm, their outfit… anything! I’ve always had something I could turn into a compliment, even if I’m annoyed by it: “You have great energy!”

4. It’s important to learn this because…
Most people aren’t going to be inspired to learn something new if they don’t see the purpose of it. For my students, I tie everything back to the state standardized test, and as much as I can to a real-life example. When I introduce a new concept, I show my students the state standard and what types of questions it can show up in on the test. When we’re practicing it, I either have a verbal or visual example of needing to use it in post-school life. Having to put together a portfolio to apply for Miss Pole Dance America was a FANTASTIC example of needing to write descriptively and clearly, as well as following directions, no matter what you end up doing after high school. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t use that example in class though!

When it comes to beginner pole students, I try to emphasize moves that are requirements for the next level up, or that will be used all the time later. Step arounds are simple, but I have them in almost every routine I’ve ever done, and there are tons of ways to do them to make them interesting, as well as nice transitions. Front hook spins build knee-pit strength, arm strength, and core strength, plus many competitions require a minimum number of spins. Sarah Jade ended her Florida Pole Fitness Championship 2012 routine with a gorgeous, simple, front hook spin.

5. Thank you for your hard work!
That student took the time to come to your class and attempt to learn something new. No matter how successful they were, thank them for it! They will be much more willing to work hard if their effort was recognized by the teacher. This is especially important for beginner pole students, though I try to implement it in my classroom as well. When I acknowledge the students who are working hard, or who have shown a particularly nice thought process (even if their grades aren’t the best), their smiles alone are worth it, but their classmates want affirmation too, and everyone takes it up a notch. (Ideally: this doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to keep doing it!)

I am so grateful for the encouraging instructors and classmates I had when I was a beginner: just listen to the supportive audience in this video of the very first performance I ever did, three months after my first class. At my first pole studio, we had to perform a routine with certain requirements in order to move up to the next level.

And a little over three years later, with plenty of supportive instructors and classmates, I got here!

 

Everyone was a beginner at some point, so remember the times you were a beginner (and will be!) and choose your words carefully. Definitely something we can all improve on!

Have something to say on this topic? Join in the blog hop HERE!

2014 Pole Year in Review

This is a part of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association December blog hop!

Though I had a ton of great things happen in 2014 (like my wedding!), here’s my pole year in pictures:

january
January – I got into FPFC for the third year in a row!
February
February – breaking Paul’s ankles
March - competing in the Florida Pole Fitness Championship
March – competing in the Florida Pole Fitness Championship
April - working on my Iron X
April – working on my Iron X
May - I got 5th place in the Neo division at National Aerial Pole Art!
May – I got 5th place in the Neo division at National Aerial Pole Art!
June - a screenshot from my poleography routine to Sia's Chandelier
June – a screenshot from my poleography routine to Sia’s Chandelier
July - working my oversplit
July – working my left oversplit
August - performing at Pole for a Purpose
August – performing at Pole for a Purpose
September - screen shot of a first attempt at this split move that ended up in my PSO routine
September – first attempt at this split move that ended up in my PSO routine
October - how the split move turned out in the competition
October – how the split move turned out in the competition
October #2 - I won the professional division at the Southeast Aerial Art Competition!
October #2 – I won the professional division at the Southeast Aerial Art Competition!
November - learning a new move in a workshop with Karol Helms
November – learning a new move in a workshop with Karol Helms
December - by far the closest I've ever gotten in my right splits!
December – by far the closest I’ve ever gotten in my right splits!

So many awesome things happened this year, and I can’t wait for the amazingness that 2015 will bring!

Join in the blog hop here!

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!)

cleosrocknpole

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.

hifeet
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.

lost
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.

hairfire
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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How to Look Good in Heels

Dancing with heels on is a completely different animal from dancing with bare feet. I see a lot of women wearing heels during my poleography classes, and one thing becomes quite apparent: most people do not know how to dance in heels. You can’t just strap on a pair of 7-inchers and expect to do the exact same movements you were just doing barefoot. I love dancing in heels, so here are a few tips I’ve learned over my many years of increasingly high heel-wearing:

1) Still walk heel to toe. I see this most often with teenage girls and women who don’t often wear heels: they clomp around, picking up their whole foot and then putting it straight down. When you’re barefoot or wearing normal shoes, you walk from heel to toe. Otherwise, it’s a stomp. The same motion applies to heeled shoes: walk from heel to toe. Yes, it’s harder. Yes, you’ll have to take smaller steps. No, it won’t be as exaggerated of a motion as when you’re barefoot, but it’s still there. Here’s Sarah Jade at USPDF 2012:

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2) That being said, when dancing – not walking – around the pole, keep your weight on the balls of your feet. Even if the heel is on the floor, put your weight over your toes. It makes your body look lighter and every movement look more effortless. Putting your weight on the balls of your feet is also necessary for some moves: try doing a full pirouette on your heels (bare or in shoes) on the floor! It’s a little thing, but it makes a big difference in the overall feel of grace, elegance, and sexiness. Look how forward Sarah Jade’s ankle is in the picture below. Also, can you tell which direction she’s going to walk in next? When you keep your weight over the balls of your feet, you can easily switch direction since it’s necessary to have your heels off the floor when pivoting.

sarahsquat

3) Pointing your feet involves two separate actions: pointing your ankles, and pointing your toes.  When your feet are off the floor, point your ankles. You can’t point your toes in heels, but you can point your ankles. Even though dancers are constantly being told to point their toes, don’t try to point your toes in heels: it makes the ball of your foot squinch up (the technical term) and your foot slides back out of the strap. Plus, it’s just not easy to do!

pointinginheels

4) Now that you’re not trying to point your toes, make sure to always push through your ankles. If you’re wearing heels, you CANNOT have flexed ankles. Take a look at Alethea Austin or Sarah Jade and focus on their ankles. They are constantly stretching through their ankles to create absolutely beautiful lines with their legs, even when their feet are on the floor. When you flex your ankle, you break that line and it just doesn’t look very nice. Heels highlight your feet, so it looks even worse to have flexed feet than it does barefoot! (Not to say there isn’t a time and place for flexed bare feet in dancing).

aletheaanklepush

5) When pole dancing, tailor your moves to work with shoes. You can achieve some moves in heels that you can’t in barefeet, especially floorwork and slides. Because there’s an extra three inches added to the bottom of your foot, it’s easier to touch your feet to your head too. Some people grab onto their heel for Eagle or Cocoon, but I tend to think that’s cheating. Split moves and flashy legwork tend to look better in heels as well. There are some moves, however, that just will not work in heels: Russian split (unless you wear ballroom heels a la Pink Puma), mounting the pole by stepping on it and swinging your other leg up, or any floorwork move where you need your toes to push off the floor. Be sure to take your heels (and any extra weight they may add) into account when choreographing a routine.

pinkpumaheels

Now go forth and rock those stilettos!