Pick Music that Moves You
Pick a song that moves you emotional and/or physically. If a song inspires your imagination and/or makes your body itch to start moving then it’s going to be that much easier to put moves to music.
Print out Your Lyrics and Find a Pencil
The first thing I do after picking out a song is pull the lyrics from online. I then space them apart to leave myself room to write. Don’t write in ink as it’ll lock you into movements; use a pencil and have an eraser handy as you experiment and work.
Freestyle and Record
The second thing I do is get to the studio, warm-up, get in the right frame of mind and then start dancing! I set my phone to record and freestyle a few run throughs of my song. This isn’t about being perfect or executing my newest trick, it’s about moving with the music and seeing what comes naturally. I then watch the videos and focus on the movements/flow I liked, write those down, and use them as inspiration and a launching pad for the rest of the routine.
List your Favorite Moves/Tricks
I list out 3-4 favorite moves that I feel confident in, and one move I’m close to perfecting that I’d love to show off. Next question is do I want to do them on static or spin? I then listen through my music and see if these moves seem to match well with certain parts – lyric-wise or with the ebb and flow of the music. I write those down (in pencil) near the lyrics and use them as a guide to start piecing together my flow, adding in and attaching them to the movements from my freestyle practice. These two steps alone usually get me a good chunk of the way through choreographing my routines.
Find Some Inspiration online!
On Instagram, look up a move you want to incorporate to see interesting variations as well as unique entrances and exits. Pop onto YouTube and search the name of your song, look at non-pole dance routines for inspiration on floor work and transitions you can incorporate into your piece. Also on YouTube (or Vimeo), search for dance performances/tutorials in the style you want to dance in (lyrical, exotic, contemporary, country, etc.). If going for a more lyrical or contemporary piece, consider performances and tutorials by kids as they’re usually beginner to mid-beginner level and easy to pick up/learn. *Note: you should NOT be stealing and plagiarizing someone else’s routine. Take what you see and make it your own
Slow it Down!
A common performance mistake for first timers is they speed through their moves way too fast – meaning you have to choreograph that much more movement! Slow down your combos, pause and hold beautiful shapes, take a moment to show off a limb. Plan on holding poses for 4 seconds (or more) and spin poses for at least a whole rotation. The more you take your time, the less moves you need to fill in the space, and the more time the audience can appreciate those tricks you worked so hard on.
Don’t be Afraid to Leave Some Blank Spaces
In the beginning I liked to have every second of my song accounted for. Now I leave an extra few seconds scattered here and there, especially right after a difficult pose/combo. This leaves some wiggle-room if something goes awry.
Try Some New Classes
Are you stuck in a rut and can’t figure out what to do next? Try a new class... it’ll knock you out of your comfort zone and get those create juices flowing. Plus you may find a new move/combo that you like. So give Liquid Motion, Spin Pole, Flex, Barre, Chair, Low Flow, Pole Flow, or even Pole Conditioning a try!
If it’s Not Working, Don’t Fight It
Sometimes a song or move just isn’t working. No matter how much you love a song or want to show off a pose it may just not work with what you’re putting together. Don’t fight it, scrap it. There is always next time. <3
When All Else Fails Get Some Help
There is nothing wrong for asking people’s opinion and help. Your classmates may have a favorite combo/move that you do that you didn’t think of. Your teacher will have suggestions on unique ways in and/or out of a move. Studio Phoenix also offers private lessons with choreography. :D