Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by the judge’s notes from…
A few days ago, I had my first Silk Pole Dance performance. I’ve only practiced for 6 months, so it was a basic routine. However, I put a lot of time and effort to it and it turned out pretty well, even though the whole process was a bit exhausting.
At first, our instructor told us we all had the opportunity to participate and to chose something especial to do on our routines, so I chose to use the silk complement that can be added to the pole. I had never before performed at anything, not even a school show, so it was all new to me.
As I am pretty determined and kind of a perfectionist, from day one I began to do extra exercises and to imagine how my routine would look. While I prepared for it as a beginner, I believe fear and expectations controlled most of my thoughts.
I was afraid of almost everything: from falling on my head from the pole to being laughed at while I danced. Most of the poses and spins I made were completely new to me and were done upside down, which I was pretty afraid of even though the silk almost guaranteed I could not fall down. It took many repetitions, several harsh hits, more than a few bruises and hours of my instructor telling me it was impossible for me to fall to completely trust the silk, the pole and mostly my strength.
Something that scared me even more as the date of the performance came closer was everything that could go wrong during the performance. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I, being a rather insecure beginner, spent hours and hours replaying all the worst case scenarios in my head over and over again. I could forget my routine, fall down (even though I spent hours of practice proving myself that was almost impossible) or I could simply be the worst routine of all presented. Being as shy as I am, of course I kept that all to myself until it was a huge fearing monster breathing through my chest.
Then, I made a huge mistake: I took a two weeks vacation that ended only a few days before the performance. When I returned, I was a bit weaker than before and way more nervous. The first time I tried my routine, it was a complete mess. One of the most difficult poses took me around 15 tries to be half-decent. That didn’t help at all, as I felt way more disappointed.
Expectations also occupied my mind for a long time. At first, I would imagine myself dancing and see a professional, I would picture that, even though I felt insecure, my video would go viral right after I performed. Of course that did not happen and made me feel even more nervous when I realized it was sort of impossible.
So after a few months of being afraid, trying hard and expecting to become famous overnight, I discovered a few things that I think, even though most dancers might have already discovered, could be useful for any afraid beginner just like me:
- No one is expecting something incredibly amazing: they all knew I was a beginner and understood the huge effort it takes to earn strength and get to the place I got after six months.
- No pole dancer can be compared with another: our journeys are completely different; we began with different strengths and are special in our own way, therefore there is no valid way to compare two completely different and unique girls. Of course, it is even worse to compare yourself with an experienced dancer that has been practicing for years.
- After all, it’s all about having fun: it is unlikely that a first performance will take place on a competition. The most normal thing, at least were I live, is to have friends, family and maybe a few other instructors there. It is unlikely that your aunt who has never climbed a pole will feel free to judge your work and, if she does, no one should care. It is better to leave stress behind and just pretend is another class filled with excitement and all the joy Pole Dance brings.
- The most important thing is that it empowers you and gives you an idea of the progress you made: at the end of my routine, I actually felt great, beautiful and strong. I felt even better when my instructors reminded me of the fact that I couldn’t even lift a toe from the ground on the first class.
After all, it was much more fun than I thought. Of course, the videos didn’t go viral nor did I look like the famous girls I see in Instagram. But I didn’t forget my routine, got laughed at or fell from the pole either. After all, I felt pretty proud of myself and empowered to try even harder and keep improving every day.
A first performance is certainly something scary, but the only thing it should give you at the end is tons of confidence, a feeling of accomplishment and a few bruises. For me, despite all the fears that hunted me and the previous stressing weeks, it was a great experience and left me wanting to learn more!
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