The past few days my morning conversations with my friends have been about rushing the little ones to their first days of school. Not being a mother, I can’t relate to the insane schedule changes and the making of school lunches but it got me thinking about being a student again.
More specifically, I thought about being a pole dance student. What steps could I take to get better this “school year?”
I was never the type of student who could learn well from self-study. I admit that I learn faster and more efficiently under the guidance of an instructor. It’s the same for pole dancing — I gotta have someone there leading me through the exercises, poses and the whole shebang. It’s just how my mind and body works. So as I get better with tricks, I forget the old lessons until I’m simply not doing them anymore.
One of my favorite things to do is go back and retake beginner classes. Yes, you read that right! Why do that? Because over time, as you grow into your trickster ways, you lose the finer subtleties of proper form in the most basic of movements if you don’t practice them often. (i.e. inverts & spins) Remember spins? I swear, who spins anymore? Let’s bring static spins back!
I can’t be the ONLY one who is embarrassed about missing a straight leg invert when I can hit a handspring with no problem. That’s absurd.
So here’s what to do.
1. Sign up for a beginner’s series at your studio.
2. Tell your teacher to pretend you’re a beginner like everyone else. (ex: Please ignore me, let me go undercover and take the class with everyone else!)
3. Take the classes every week and just do everything with everyone else. Don’t butt in. Just stick it out. ENJOY.
(4. Added bonus challenge! Retake the beginner series and only work your “weak side.” If you never work both sides of your body, then you’ll definitely be right at home in the beginner’s class.)
I find that a few things happen. I regain body awareness especially in those simple movements like walking, crawling, and keeping my legs straight and toes pointed. My spins come back to me and make their way back into my free-dance routines. Suddenly, I’m not relying on tricks, but I can dance in and out of spins like I used to as a beginner. Naturally, I grow stronger. After months of ditching the spins, those muscles are working again and I grow in strength. Certain spins require a good amount of muscle control in the core so that makes for a fantastic workout, too. Lastly, the mix of beginner moves and advanced tricks makes for a more dynamic routines. Not relying on strength for tricks means I can dance longer, too.
Give it a shot and go back to the basics. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Wouldn’t you like to be a more well rounded dancer, too?
Leen – circa 2011 – Around the time when the Leg Hang was the coolest thing I could do. <3