Written by Cori Reski
Pole dance is a difficult hobby to maintain. We won’t always be at the top of our game. We can’t always think of new ways to transition into familiar tricks. We don’t always feel strong or sexy or bendy. Sometimes we hit a wall. And when that happens, it’s frustrating. And I personally believe that you get nowhere if you’re in a sour mood. It’s impossible to invert, for example, if you’re telling yourself over and over that you can’t.
So, what should you do when you’re feeling uninspired? When even the sight of your pole clothes makes you frustrated? The following are what I like to do.
1. Take a different type of workout class
Find another form of exercise that makes you feel good, that makes you feel badass or strong or graceful. For me, that’s yoga.
There’s a yoga studio just down the street from my apartment, and I’ve been trying to get myself there more often. I’ve found that no matter what style class I’m taking, I leave feeling refreshed and positive. When nothing seems to be going right with pole, yoga helps me reset my brain so that when I return to pole, I won’t feel so negative.
Taking a workout class outside of pole is a good idea not just for the cross training element (AKA no matter what class you’re taking, it’ll ultimately help you with pole) but also for the endorphins. We all learned from Elle Woods that “endorphins make you happy’. If pole is stressing you out, odds are stepping into another form of exercise will make you feel happy again.
2. Make a list of all the tricks you can do
Most of the time when I’m feeling uninspired with pole, it’s because I’ve managed to convince myself that I can’t do anything. Even for the very beginners, that’s a straight up lie. The best way I’ve found to combat this is to sit and make a list of every single possible trick I know I can do. So if you’re ever feeling uninspired, do this. I bet the list will be much longer than you realize.
3. Watch videos of fellow pole dancers
If you’re feeling uninspired, a great use of time is to pop onto Instagram and creep on your favorite pole dancers. How are they moving? What songs are they obsessing over? What tricks are they working on? Watching someone else dance is a great way to inspire yourself to try something new, or to try something familiar in a way you might not otherwise have thought to.
4. Watch old videos of yourself
I don’t know, maybe I’m just super into myself, but watching my old pole videos inspires the crap out of me. And maybe it’s because I have a bad memory. But I’ll scroll through my Insta feed and genuinely be shocked by things I’ve done. I’ll be watching old training videos and realize “oh yeah, I know how to Titanic. Maybe I should give that a try again.” Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, inspiration is back.
5. Take a beginner class but focus on only your bad side
If you’re like me, the tricks you’ve mastered on your good side are horrendous on your bad side. So if you’re feeling stuck and like you have nothing new to work on, head to your studio and take a beginner class focusing ONLY on your bad side. It’ll be like learning how to pole all over again! And better yet, you’ll end up a very well-rounded dance
6. Freestyle thinking about one specific body part at a time
Something my pole instructors have us do from time to time is to freestyle in a very deliberate manner. So for instance, we’ll start out just moving our left hand. And then we add in our right hand. And then the arms can start to move. And then the chest, and the back, and so on and so on. It’s an interesting way to freestyle, and it really makes you think about the body parts you might normally neglect.
It also helps you to think about freestyle, and your own movements, in a new way. I always leave those sessions feeling much more inspired to move in ways I hadn’t thought to before.
7. Participate in Instagram challenges
One thing I love to do when I’m feeling uninspired is to participate in an Instagram challenge. It’s nice to have just one new trick or goal to work on every day. It’s also nice to have someone else tell you what to work on. I don’t know about you, but structure is incredibly helpful to my stressed out brain.
And you don’t have to post yourself doing the challenge if you don’t want to. Sure, it’s nice to post videos of your attempts to get feedback, but you certainly aren’t obligated to do so. And it can be nice to work on something in private and to keep it private. Then when you bust it out on stage or in the studio, you’ll completely blow everyone away!
We all have bad days (or weeks or months or years), and that’s okay! It’s normal to feel off or stuck. And it’s normal to take a step away and give yourself a break. Honestly, this might be the best thing on this list you can do. The way you’re feeling might be directly related to an overworked body or brain. I’ve found that after a good break, the moves I was struggling with suddenly seem easier, or at least more doable.
As a kid, I used to get really worked up over my homework. I’d sit there and I’d cry and scream. “I hate math!!” I’d yell at no one. “I can’t remember the names of all the states!! I can’t read fast enough!! I can’t draw!! I can’t cut straight!! I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!!” In these moments, my mom (bless her for dealing with screaming me) would tell me to take my blinders off. What she meant was that I needed to clear my head of all the cant's I’d been telling it. By saying over and over that I couldn’t do something, I had built big blinders around my brain. Those blinders closed up around it and wouldn’t give it the chance to even try to figure out that math problem, or that state quiz, or that reading assignment. In these instances, I would step away from my homework and come back a little later with a clearer head, and the ability to look at something from a new, fresh perspective.
Sometimes our bodies are just done. Pushing and pushing and pushing might seem like the right thing to do, but odds are they’ll work better for us if we give them a chance to rest, if we give them the chance to come back to something with a new perspective. So run a bath, get a massage, take a nap, light some candles, read a book, eat a good meal. Be good to your body and it’ll be good to you.
Cori Reski started her pole dance journey in 2016. Since then, she’s competed four times and performed in numerous showcases. When she’s not on the pole, Cori spends her time writing books for children and updating her cat’s Instagram page. Check out her instagram!