Turning Pointe

Nov 7, 2016
Here is an entry from my mostly inactive blog :)

See it here with pictures: [akpoles.wordpress.com] or just read below:

It’s been about a year since I last wrote a blog entry. Man, does time fly…

Last time I was gearing up for my 1st show, a Halloween themed show where I performed 2 pieces. That, and other performances came and went. I recently ended up backing out of a showcase… but that’s a story for another day.

The point is I currently feel lost and confused with pole. I’m not a performer. I’m not a dancer or an actress… I can pole, I can put things together, but the lines aren’t there. The transitions aren’t there. The flow isn’t there. The showmanship isn’t there. The flexibility sure as hell isn’t there. Things just don’t look like they do in my head.

Sometimes I don’t want to “get” new moves, I want to back up to square one and work on my form, flow, and lines…. and other times I think “Why?! Is performing actually your goal? Do you enjoy performing?”

Another huge part of me misses just going to class, nailing a hard random move, having classmates clap… then hop down and do it again. Sometimes I miss the simple joy of pole. And enjoying classes for what they are.

I kind of decided to split the baby, keep going to pole class… and add (wait for it…) sign up for a dance class.

I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with me doing pole and dance. As a kid I always wanted to do dance and gymnastics… but my parents signed me up for karate and softball. Ha! They weren’t without reason, and I’m not going all “woe is me”. My parents were and still are great parents… but it’s still amusing to see how these things go.

Side note: I would love to add a weekly or biweekly flexibility class but my pole studio only offers it once a week at a time that doesn’t work for me (plus its an hour away… it’s hard enough to find time to stretch, without adding 2 hours to the ordeal). And I can’t find any gymnastics or dance studios with an adult flexibility class. So I suppose I’ll be stretching at home.

Ok so back to dance. I spoke with some girls “in the know” and it was suggested that Ballet and Modern Dance would both help me. Ballet would help with my lines, and Modern would help me learn to feel the music and move more fluidly. My heart was kind of leaning towards modern…

After much googling I found ONE studio nearby with absolutely beginner classes for adults. And the new semester starts Nov 12th! Ballet 101 is offered a few times a week and Modern 101 is only offered once a week, obviously at the same time as the pole class I have been attending for a year. So in an effort to not upend my pole life any more than it already is… I suppose Modern is out.

SO ballet. I started doing doing research. It’s beautiful but so technical. It’s also a bit discouraging to see how someone posts a video or picture and people RIP them apart online. You think “point your f*ing toes”(a saying which irks me) is disheartening… the amount of hate left in ballet video or blog comments is unreal. It’s very intimidating.

It’s also kind of interesting to see that each community has it quirks… just like the pole community will become up in arms over an unsafe eBay pole… or the aerial community will panic over sketchy rigging… The ballet community is very against learning at home, and going on pointe too early. And probably with good reason.

I mean the obvious a big appeal to ballet is pointe for many people. But it’s funny to see the same things we say in pole echoed by the ballet community. Sometimes people seem too fixed with getting on pointe (as in pole, we remind everyone that not everyone needs to invert and there is more to pole then just inverting)… However some people are a little rude or aggressive about it. I would see someone asking for advice and tips to strengthen feet and be met with “GEEZ, why is everyone so obsessed with going on pointe” and things to that nature, saying certain people have “no business being on pointe”

Anyway, I’m just hoping it’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
Phoenix Hunter Previous Paid MemberI started ballet as an adult almost a year ago. I am absolutely in love with it. I really do enjoy/ love it's technicality and structure. My lines in pole have changed soooo much. It has also helped my strength and balance in pole. I don't find the criticism in adult ballet like I did with pole at the studio. As an adult beginner, I'm not worthy of criticism honestly. More experienced dancers don't give a shit how bad I am honestly. So I would t even worry about that aspect. I do see remarks on YouTube , but those are just names without a face , sitting at home getting their jollies being a bitch. No, I don't recommend teaching yourself at home. It really is technical and precise. You really need a teacher to see and correct you. It is very easy to get injured doing things incorrectly. With a few classes you will most definitely be able to supplement your practice at home. Ballet for me has been the most humbling endeavor I have done. Maybe more than pole. And going on pointe before one is ready is doubtful to happen. It is sooooo hard to just dance on releve in flat shoes. I would compare going en pointe before your ready to trying an iron x before your ready. You will just fail. There really isn't much of a gray area there. I think dancers are insulted that others make it sound so easy . They maybe feel someone doesn't really "get it" . Still, that's their own insecurity and no reason to be mean about it. But it is like a non- poler asking you when should they be able to fonji in their first day of class- and you know damn well a fonji. can take years of brutal work. I give credit to all my pole improvement this year to the fact that I've been doing ballet. It has also helped with my flexibility by increasing my active flexibility. I love it. I'm so glad I didn't get scared away. You will suck at first. It's ok and normal. It gets better. You will doubt your intelligence, memory, strength, balance, age, body . You won't know what to blame so you will methodically blame all these things at some point. But stick with it, and like pole you will see changes that will make you feel proud. If you can mKe it through those beginner stages of pole where everything was hard, you can make it with ballet
Nov 8, 2016
AllysonKendalThank you so much for this Phoenix 💕 How often do you take ballet? Anything you wish you knew before you took your first class?
Nov 9, 2016
Phoenix Hunter Previous Paid MemberI take class twice a week and I practice at home twice a week. I wish I knew a lot of things before I started but it's only possible to learn it by showing up and learning the old fashioned way. However, learning the terminology will help greatly. Most ballet names are French. It took a while for my brain to relate the French word to what the actual movement was. And and the end of class I stared writing down the names of things I struggled with . Then I would go home and YouTube it. It helps to reinforce what you are learning. Or at least that is what helps me. And get familiar with the basic positions of the arms and feet. It helps me to watch videos. I really recommend Kathryn Morgan's videos on YouTube. Her videos are informative. They are there to supplement class learning .
Nov 9, 2016
Goat on a PoleTotally random lurker here, but I wanted to say though I am much less experienced in pole I related to a lot of what you are saying! I think "cross-pollinating" so to speak with different art and physical fitness is a great way to develop your own "voice" when it comes to dancing and movement. Some moves in each area will speak to you, and others won't. I took ballet for years as a child/teenager, and I do think it helped instill some grace, balance, and flexibility that I brought to other activities. Football players take ballet! Another idea to consider - I just started taking a belly dance class (beginner, beginner!) in addition to my pole dancing class and I love it! I have very little flow, and learning how to isolate different parts of my body individually has made it easier for me to piece things together more smoothly, if that makes sense. I've never had to isolate one part of my hips, or one part of my torso before. Plus it's very body-friendly compared to other dance forms. Definitely recommend searching for a class in your area or maybe do some youtube tutorials! Good luck, excited to watch your journey from afar!
Nov 11, 2016
AllysonKendalThanks for the advice guys! Had my first class today! Man, I'm already sore!!!

It was interesting. The class was just 4 of us. Everyone else had taken ballet for a while. Even though it was a 101 class I felt like it moved pretty fast! I know it will get better, so I'm going to stick with it.

In general I'm a slow learner. Every time I take a "beginner" class for something in shocked at how fast things move! My first pole class was the only thing I remember being slow, and maybe that's why I stuck with it. I'd been doing yoga for quiet some time at home before I attended my first class a few years ago. Thankfully I knew all the names and postures...so that wasn't so bad.

But I remember my first pole class going over inside vs outside arm/leg, how to walk, etc.

I was hoping that we would go over the positions, and very intro technique stuff... not the case. It was more like I was scrambling to just follow along when she would say words and positions! Whew! But I started to catch on.

Also there is live music!!!! Is that normal? A woman sat there and played the piano our whole class. That was very nice.
Nov 14, 2016
Phoenix Hunter Previous Paid MemberLive music is a bonus! That's awesome! Yes I tried 3 different schools and all the beginner classes were not as basic as I was hoping. You will need to do a lot of self education. Write down the names of things you learned. Study them at home on YouTube , etc. this is the hard part of ballet - you need a lot of self motivation to learn the basics. You do end up scrambling to keep up. That is normal and it will be that way for a while. Your first year of ballet you are learning what most students learn in 10 years as a child. You have a lot of catch up. I mentioned earlier, look up Kathryn Morgan on YouTube and learn the basic plies, tendus, etc. she is a great teacher. :)
Nov 15, 2016
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