Re-teaching an old dog old tricks
When I first started taking pole dance classes, one of the most rewarding aspects (that quickly cemented my addiction) was working through the progression of tricks. It seemed like every week I was learning at least a couple new things, and if I was able to nail even one of them, it was a rush.
As I started to become more advanced, however, the learning curve came to a screechingly steep turn uphill. Seemingly every trick required a great deal more strength or flexibility than I currently had. Rather than learning a trick in an hour, they would take weeks of practice and perseverance to perfect. If I spent a month working on a variety of new tricks, if even one of them made their way into my repertoire at the end of that month I would consider myself successful. I realized how much more effort I would need to put in to get to the next level, and that was daunting and discouraging.
It’s easy to get caught up in always progressing forward in a linear way. But part of what is so great about pole dancing is that even if you spend a year working on a move and feel you have it technically perfect, there are always ways to tweak or add to what you already know. As you grow in strength and coordination, revisit some of your old spins and see if you can’t lift them more, float them more, make them more effortless and weightless. See if changing the orientation of your shoulders or hips or head in the spin makes it different. Change the relationship between your legs and hips and the pole.
Even 4 years into pole dancing, I find that my old friend the dip spin (or half-spin) is a tried-and-true favorite that I come back to all the time. I play with doing a pull-up in the middle of it, or keeping both legs straight, or dropping down nearly to the floor as I step through the move.
Sometimes progress doesn’t have to be a box that you check off or a trick that you cross off a list. Sometimes it is being able to make a trick truly your own and move through it in a way that is something you cannot be taught. Revisiting tricks you have already grown comfortable with can sometimes be the beginning of new inspiration and creativity!