I love coming up with routines and I like to think that the more I do it, the better the routines get. When you read this article the type of routine I’m thinking of is an everyday routine – something for you to play around with, rather than a routine for a showcase. Some of the same ‘rules’ apply but for a competition I tend to work very specifically on training moves first and the routine second.
I now choreograph one routine a week to teach in class. I try to vary the types of songs and artists as well as the structure of the routine itself. It’s really important to challenge yourself to be creative. Make yourself try new ways of thinking and it is amazing to see what you can come up with.
I like to give myself rules when I choreograph a routine to make sure that I challenge myself. These are meant to help with creativity rather than be stifling, so use them as you see necessary. Obviously some of these will not apply – for example if you are a beginner or teaching a beginners routine you may stick to spins rather than climbing high or inverting. For the most part I think they work and help – I’m always open to adding more ‘rules’ as well.
- Start from the beginning. I go with my instincts on this one. I usually start with a pose that I feel suits the music and the type of routine I want to perform. Think about how you are going to be rehearsing this. For example I play the music on my laptop and then have to run to the start position. If I start from a climb up the pole it’s going to be a little harder for me to get there in time – and you don’t want to miss the beginning every time. Of course you can put your song on repeat and play the end of the song so it runs into the next, but you may want to think about whether this is too tricky to start with.
- Follow the music. I like to put on the piece of music I am using and just dance around to it. You will find moves that you like and that work well, and others that don’t. You’ll also get a real feel for the music – whether it suits dynamic moves, slow graceful moves or fast spins. It’s likely (and useful) if all of these work!
- Add different height levels. No matter what level you are when it comes to pole dancing, you can still add in some different height levels. This really makes it much more interesting to perform and for others to watch as well. You have moves on the floor, spins from standing and then low and high climbs along with inverts. Even if you can only do two of these, it still adds a different dynamic to your routine.
- Change the pace. Although your routine song might be very slow, if you only put slow moves in, it may become a little dull. Try to use slow moves followed by a quick spin or dynamic drop to mix it up.
- Dance to your level. If you are making up a routine for yourself it’s important to use moves you can do. There’s no point putting in a Gemini if you can’t do it – save that for pole practice time.
- Watch it back. For me this is crucial – and I hate it! While I love my routines, I tend to watch them back and cringe – I’m sure a lot of us do. There’s a massive difference between performing in costume and make up with loud music and a big audience, to wearing your pole workout clothes in the studio. There are traits I have when performing that I need to get rid of. Are your toes pointed? Are you looking at the ‘audience’? Are you putting in as much effort as you can? Don’t be too hard on yourself as this is meant to be fun after all! It’s a great way to see which moves translate well and if others do not work as well.
- No walking allowed! This is my favourite one. In class we often use 3 steps to walk into our spins. When you limit walking, you open up so many other possibilities and start thinking about how to link different moves and spins together.
- Make up moves! I used to get stuck in a rut thinking ‘I’ll do a Chair and then a Tinkerbell’. I thought that everything I did in a pole routine had to be a ‘proper’ move – one that I knew already existed. But someone somewhere made up each of these moves, so you can to. Just because you can’t name it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Create your own pole world.
Hopefully my tips will help you become more creative in your pole moves. I love making routines and hopefully you do (or will) as well. You can do whatever you like so embrace the creative 😀