In 2014, the studio where I was taking pole dance classes closed and I became at home pole dancer. It takes a lot of motivation to get up and start dancing when it is just me in the room and after a few years of trial and error I have finally learned how to have productive practice sessions. My pole dance workouts are productive and usually double as my therapy and “me” time. I am going to break down exactly what happens in my dance room.
When I started dancing at home, the first I needed to do was determine exactly how much time I needed in order to be productive. I was used to hour or hour and half classes at the studio and found that amount of time just wasn’t enough. Now when I have my dance days, I set aside at least two hours of my day to dance. I always start out every session with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio depending on how active I have been during the day. If I have been sitting around all day, I will go with a longer cardio session but if I have been moving a lot I can get away with a shorter session. After cardio, I will stretch! Depending on what tricks or combos I am going to practice I may stretch some specific muscles to make sure they are ready to practice but I will usually spend about 20 minutes stretching. Yes that long! Stretching is very important so I maintain my flexibility, become more flexible, and avoid injury.
So now that I am all warmed up and stretched, I start my actual practice session with tricks or combos. I usually have what I have what I want to practice in mind so I don’t waste any time wandering around the dance room trying to figure out what I am going to do. I have a whiteboard in the dance room that I use to keep me on track. Sometimes I am practicing an old trick and making it better and sometimes I am trying out new combos and sometimes I am trying to re-create a combo I saw on Instagram. Either way this is the meatiest part of my practice session because I practice the moves several times until I find myself getting fatigued. More often than not, I will have to do a move until I get it right “for the Gram” and then sometimes I will give up on getting it right because I get too tired and just give up. This is the part of the practice session where I will just at the pole because I swear it is doing something wrong or I will just lie down on the floor because I have stumbled attempting a move and end up on the ground.
After I have worn myself out with tricks, I get to my favorite part of my practice session which is freestyling! I like to end every practice session with a freestyle because the magic happens when you freestyle plus it gives me a chance to dance and let loose. I give myself a challenge with every freestyle session. Typical challenges include: no tricks, one invert, one climb, no floorwork, etc. This gives me something to think about so I am not doing the same moves over and over again. The song choices for the freestyle depend on my mood. I will sometimes ask my friends or social media for suggestions or sometimes I play a game where I have to dance to whatever song comes next on the playlist. Song selection has become a little bit more challenging these days because of copyright laws and what can be shared so I have been having fun discovering unsigned artists and cover music on YouTube. It is odd that I call the freestyle portion of my workout the “cool down” because it isn’t really a cool down at all! I exert a lot of energy while freestyling but I guess I consider it a cool down because it is the last thing I do before I end my practice session.
I thought my pole life was going to end once the studio closed so I definitely had a hard time adjusting to practicing alone in my house. To further my growth as a dancer, I also take one class a month at a local studio and attempt to attend workshops when professional dancers travel here. It is very important to me that I continue to learn new things so I don’t get stagnant and forget everything I know. Also visiting studios gives me the opportunity to see my pole dance friends in person and not just on social media. I love my dance room which definitely is my happy place but it is nice to leave sometimes. It is totally possible to be a productive dancer if you are not a part of a studio. My at home workout helps me be consistent with my dancing and destress a couple times a week. Take your time to find a system that works for you and then stick to it!