A topic of much discussion throughout the pole community seems to pertain to the ability (or inability) to freestyle. Questions and comments of “How do I freestyle?“, “I can’t freestyle“, float around our groups and forums all too often.
I’m starting to notice (as it was also pointed out to me) that much of this is accompanied with self-doubt and (IMO) lack of confidence in our own ability. I think we should all understand that the inability to freestyle does not reflect a limitation in skill or ability in us…rather I believe that it is a mental limitation and lack of confidence that we (often unknowingly) carry around.
I can say this because I too suffer from the I-can’t-freestyle epidemic. This is the very reason why I started FreeStyle Fridays…to bring this mental limitation that I’ve been placing on myself to an end.
So how do we improve our freestyle ability? Well, first understand that freestyling is not something that can be taught; It has to be developed. Why? Because it’s not choreography…there are no counts (other than making sure you hold your trick long enough), and there is not right or wrong way to do it. This is something that truly comes from within. It’s your ability to feel a song deep down inside and make it come to life through your movement, expression and personal style. You can go to classes and workshops to learn tricks, transitions, combos, poses, hand-styling, leg styling, facial expression, etc…but these are just elements. We must develop our own ability and style to put these elements together into a freestyle. Your skill level, dance background or length of time pole dancing have no effect on your ability to freestyle.
The only way to get better at it is to do it. Once you become more comfortable with your ability and work on your confidence the pieces will start to fall in place. But you can’t just dance, you MUST watch yourself dance. Record yourself and then play it back. Ask yourself what you liked, what you didn’t like and what you can do different in the future. With each dance and each self-critique you allow yourself to discover your body, your ability and your style. These will help you with your confidence and fluidity in your dance…which will help you to see that you CAN freestyle and that you ARE good at it.
We all need to challenge ourselves so that we can get better? Once you break through the mental boundaries you will be able to PUSH PAST the physical ones. If freestyling is not a strong point for you make a decision to work on that. Start small…maybe set aside 30 seconds at the beginning or end of your choreographed routines to freestyle. Make it a point to dance freely to one song, once a week. If you can’t make it through a full song then just do 1-2 minutes of the song. The point is to get yourself started on something and the rest will follow.