That Other Girl – Sevdaliza

Like so many of the songs I use for class, I heard this in a pole competition piece – Joscelyn Perez, the winner of PSO’s Southern Pole Championships. I’d actually randomly found it on YouTube a month or so prior, and I was excited to hear it again when I watched her compete in Atlanta. Sevdaliza has some very cool music videos and I’ve definitely been hearing her songs in pole competitions recently – I think Pole Theatre US had 2 in the Classique division!

The routine I put together starts at about 30 seconds into the song when she begins singing. I wanted to put in some different shapes and movements, as well as incorporate more arm motion – I think I did do a little better than I normally do, but I still have a lot more to work on! I’d like to have a lot more arm movement in my routines because I definitely focus on legs and I think that could elevate and differentiate some of my choreography.

Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift

This song came out over the weekend, and while I have major issues with the lyrics, I LOVE the beat! I knew I had to do a routine to it, and it just called out for chair, so I threw a little chair dance in. I rarely do chair dance, mostly because I feel like I only know a few chair moves and I’m repeating them over and over. It’s been a while (I think the last one was Valentine’s Day) since I’ve done some chair, so this was really fun for me.

It’s always a bit precarious to stand on the chair and transfer to the pole, but we all figured it out! I had so much fun with this routine, both putting it together (rare) and dancing it in class (much more common!).

Sucker for Pain – Multiple Artists

I’d heard this song around a lot since Suicide Squad came out, but the first pole routine I saw to it was this amazingly creepy and flexy performance by Daniel Darling at PSO’s Triangle Pole Championships. The shoulder stand at :56 was definitely the hardest part for everyone, but I love it! I want to work more on inverted movements and various shoulder stands in floorwork so my students can get used to them and start incorporating more types of movement on the floor in their own routines.

This class was only a few days before PSO’s Southeast Pole Championships and since I had 5 students compete, several of them wanted to rest up for the competition and chose not to take this class. Totally understandable, but I always like it when there are more students in my classes than fewer. I’m hoping to get more students dancing with me in the upcoming weeks!

Twerkshop August 2017

I always have so much fun doing these twerkshops and work up QUITE a sweat! They’re much more difficult for me to choreograph than my weekly pole/floor routines, mostly because I feel very limited in the moves I can do – they have to be butt-focused! – and I don’t spend a lot of time watching twerk videos and practicing on my own, as opposed to pole. I also find it difficult to find appropriate music: it obviously needs to have a good beat and be easy to twerk to, but I also will not have the n-word in any song, nor am I comfortable with super overtly sexual lyrics or constantly calling women bitches, so that limits a lot of the music options! (Of course, now that I look up the lyrics to this song… pretty disgusting in parts! Oops – they were going too fast for me to understand…)

Anyway, even though I had a hard time choreographing this routine, I ended up really liking it – isn’t that always the case? I’m not sure when the next one will be, but I’m going to need to do some research and put in some time to make sure I’m not just repeating what I’ve done so far.

From the Inside – Linkin Park

I’m so behind on posting the last month’s worth of routines! I started back to school at the beginning of August, had a competition across the country the first weekend, and another competition the third weekend, so I was super busy. Be prepared for an onslaught of posts over the next few days as I’m off work for Hurricane Irma – here’s hoping I don’t lose power for too long!

Like many others, I was shaken by the death of Chester Bennington: my high school soundtrack was essentially all Linkin Park and I have so many memories tied to their songs. They’re one of my husband’s favorite bands so it’s not unusual for me to come home to their music playing or hear it in his car. I really wanted to do a routine to one of their songs and this one jumped out to me. I like that I was able to put a little bit of polework into this one: I absolutely love floorwork but my heart is happiest spinning on the pole. My favorite part of this routine is the leg movements from 1:22 to 1:30 (I’m going to start including my favorite moments from each routine so that 1) I can come back and watch them, and 2) I force myself to find something I like in each one!).

Escalate – Tsar B

I first heard this song at USPDF during our practice time when they were running through everyone’s music to make sure it worked. Then I saw and heard it everywhere, most notably this amazing dance routine. Since then I’ve seen several pole and dance routines to it, because it’s just that good! I couldn’t be left out. :) I really love all the beats and slight strangeness to it. My favorite part of this routine is 1:04 to 1:25 because I feel like it flows well and is unexpected in terms of movement and direction. I really want my choreography to be centered on unexpectedness.

Tear Away – Drowning Pool

I LOVE this song! I first used it back in February at PSO’s Triangle Pole Championships for my exotic routine, and when I was stuck this week for a song, I came back to this one. I took a few things from the beginning of that routine, but most of it was new. There were definitely some tricky moves in here – slinky slides, back rolls, balancing on the pole – so I really liked pushing my students to try out some new movements. I’m definitely feeling more drawn to rock/heavier songs recently, so I’m interested to see where that goes. I have a competition coming up that I still need to choose music for, and I’m really open to various styles right now. I’m debating doing something like this, but it’s a little out of the box for me for a regular (not exotic) routine. Then again, I want to push myself to try new and different things, so that may just be what I should do!

Run for Cover – Kito ft. Reija Lee

I used to listen to Kito ft. Reija Lee songs on repeat, and I choreographed to another of their songs, Sweet Talk, almost exactly two years ago. I always try to add in at least one new or somewhat complicated move to every routine I teach: this one the repeated fan kick at :26. It’s surprisingly difficult to go back in the direction you just came from, but that particular little combo gave me so many good ideas for an upcoming competition. :) The ending pose was also pretty tricky as it involves a fair amount of bend in the lower back, but it’s such a cool shape – booty up and showing off the heels!

We’re all working on routines for Pole Sport Organization’s Southeastern competition August 26th, so students are more focused on learning and perfecting their performances for that than taking a routine class, which is totally understandable, but it makes me a little sad to have such small classes for my favorite class to teach!

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!
controlnotebook

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!)

lastnotebook

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!

thicknessnotebook

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.