I recently attended my first pole workshop. It’s something I’ve avoided before figuring that my limited skills mean I wouldn’t be at a level to do most of the stuff taught.
A wonderful dancer (Nadia Shariff) was doing workshops at a studio a few miles from me and the last one of the day was performance, so I decided I would take the plunge.
My friend Becky was doing the Signature Move workshop too so we travelled up to Stirling together and I watched while the dancers went through their paces doing moves way beyond my skill level. Some of the less advanced variations I could manage but doing things in handspring is way beyond where I’m at just now.
Then came my turn and it was time for the performance workshop. I was really excited and a bit nervous hoping that I wouldn’t make an idiot of myself or hold everybody else back (presuming everyone else was more advanced than me).
Nadia was so warm and welcoming and explained how the workshop would work. The conclusion was to be learning choreography and doing performance. I love performing so I wasn’t worried about performing in front of the group but hoped I could manage the choreography we would be given and that I wouldn’t fall over.
We got into the workshop and explored music and rhythm and texture in dance. It was fascinating to listen to and to do the exercises we were given. My nerves very quickly left as I was enthralled to look at this side of dancing.
I love the artistry of pole dancing and this workshop was very much about that. It was not time to be focusing on whether you could do some very complex move but to focus on the feel and the rhythm of your movement and how you felt the music.
To allow myself to ‘feel’ in this way instead of being result driven was so freeing and reminded me of why I fell in love with this wonderful thing we do.
The conclusion of the workshop was choreography which was to a very beautiful piece by Kelly Sweet. The style was contemporary/lyrical and was demanding in terms of how much of yourself you had to give to allow the movement to be expressed.
The music on the surface was very slow and gentle but the undercurrent was not and the movements we were doing were deceptively fast and difficult. Nadia asked us to commit when doing our performances and everybody did, it was a very special experience.
For me in my dancing I have continued to practice the choreography that we did, and in choreographing my latest routine I have tried to apply what I’ve learned.
I’ve learned that if you fancy doing a workshop, get out and do one don’t be scared by them!