How Pole Progress Videos Helped My Outlook for 2018
As 2018 races ahead, I can’t help but reflect on my last year of pole dancing.
My computer crashed earlier this year, so unfortunately all my videos as a baby poler are long gone, but I did manage to keep a few from the start of this year safe (I’ve been poling for two years in April).
Sometimes watching my old pole videos makes me cringe (that move would have looked so much better with pointed toes!), but I think it’s really important to revisit them from time to time to track my progress, because sometimes it can feel like I’m not making any.
I think it’s normal for polers to feel this way because we are always struggling with something—whether it’s a new trick, an old one we’re trying to smooth out, freestyling or choreographing—and that struggle can sometimes overshadow positive feelings for what we can already do.
The struggle is necessary to avoid complacency, but we need to have balance in order to maintain healthy relationships with the sport itself.
Sometimes I’m incredibly hard on myself when I think about what I can’t yet do, especially when I compare myself to others, and it can take the fun out of the journey. I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. But, when I do feel this way, watching my old videos makes me feel better because they remind me how far I’ve come and the work I’ve put in to get to where I am now.
It also helps to remember something Greta Pontarelli, an award-winning pole dancer who started pole dancing at 59, once said in an interview with ELLE.
“If I looked at the big goal and saw how fabulous some of these [pole dancers] are, I probably who have thought, ‘oh I’m too old,’ or ‘I don’t have it,’ but I made the competition with myself. My competition is in the mirror.”
If you’re like me and ever question yourself and your abilities, I encourage you to watch those old videos that you may find embarrassing, because the proof of your progress will be undeniable.
Just this morning I watched two videos of tricks I struggled with in the past that I can now do with ease. I remember practicing them constantly, thinking, “I should really be learning new tricks instead of doing the same few things over and over,” but consistent practice is really the only way to get better at things that don’t come natural to you.
Here are some of my progress videos from early 2017. The first one shows the first time I ever attempted an elbow-grip Ayesha, and the second is the first time I could ever hook my knees in bird’s nest (if you listen closely, you can hear me yell “look!” to my husband because I was so excited to finally hold it for a few seconds).
Here’s how they looked in a performance from two months ago:
Revisiting my progress videos definitely helped me secure some goals for 2018. The most important: to continue documenting my experience and not delete videos just because they’re not share-worthy at that moment, and to stop comparing myself to others, because with dilligence and time I know I’ll get there, just like the people I admire did.
Here are some of my other goals:
Practice pole at least three times per week (right now it’s usually just two)
Cross-train more (so important for avoiding injury!)
Train flexibility six times per week
Get better with static pole transitions
2018 trick goals:
Allegra/jallegra (and really anything from inside leg hang)
I hope you all meet your own pole goals in 2018, and remember to enjoy (and record!) the process. Happy New Year!