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In today’s article, the PolePedia team will be reviewing The Foundations for Pole Acrobatics, a course by Dr. Kenneth Kao, otherwise known as Dr. Ken Pole Ninja.
The Foundations for Pole Acrobatics pack is perfect for pole dancers who already have a basic understanding of pole dancing and are looking for a way to diversify their tricks with acrobatic movements, transitions, and basics.
This is not your typical pole dance lesson – this course teaches you the foundations of body mechanics and how it applies to acrobatic concepts. This helps you learn how your body works, with material that focuses on both off the pole movements (course 1) and on the pole movements (course 2.)
Before we dive into the review – who is Dr. Ken?
Photo by Cherry Li
About Dr. Ken Pole Ninja
“Doctor” isn’t just a stage name – Kenneth Kao is a Doctor of Chiropractic, complete owning his own practice.
Beyond his comprehensive experience with the human body, Dr. Ken is a parkour, kung-fu, and pole dance instructor. He has taught pole dancers in over 35 countries since 2014, making him one of the most well-traveled workshop leaders and instructors in the pole industry. He says that a lifetime of movement has equipped him with the experience necessary to teach.
He has a wide range of tutorials available, and some, such as his Pole Mechanics and Dr. Ken’s Perspective, are free to watch, and are more geared towards discussions about body mechanics based on his chiropractic experience.
Purchase the Complete Foundations for Pole Acrobatics bundle and unlock all 76 tutorials for only $99.
This is the biggest discount currently available, and purchasing the course through this review earns you another 20% off the bundle price.
The Pole Ninja Tutorials Platform
The course interface is straightforward and user-friendly, working wonderfully on both desktop and mobile devices. You will need to create an account, but that process is simple and takes almost no time to complete.
Once you are logged in and enrolled in a course, you can see all your enrolled courses on a single page. Use the search bar to find something specific and see how much of a particular course you’ve completed at a glance.
When you navigate to a specific course, you are given a preview of all modules within the course so you can select which one you’d like to work on next, or simply go through each module in chronological order.
A flow chart at the beginning of each course allows you to select your own path of learning, providing a recommended course structure for you to follow. Your progress on each course is tracked in a status bar and saved so you always know where you left off last.
Below each module, there is space to leave a comment. You can add media from your computer, Facebook, Google drive, Dropbox, or Instagram account, making it easy to share your progress with others, ask questions, and celebrate victories.
The Foundations to Pole Acrobatics Course
To start, we want to note that there are two Foundations for Pole Acrobatics courses available.
The first course is geared towards off the pole acrobatics, which we recommend dancers start with first so they have a firm grasp on the material before moving on. This will also help you familiarize yourself with the silent tutorials format and gain a better understanding of how your body works before moving on.
The second course is geared towards on the pole acrobatics, which is perfect for the dancer who is looking to apply these acrobatic concepts directly to pole tricks. This course will provide a challenge in a familiar format, teaching everything from dynamic pole tricks to brand new grips, holds, and transitions you can utilize in any routine, acrobatic or not.
The Foundations for Pole Acrobatics course is constructed from Dr. Ken’s famous “silent tutorials.” These silent tutorials do not follow the conventional pole dance tutorial structure; instead, Dr. Ken focuses on step-by-step movement progression to help you work your way up to a trick, communicating through strong facial expressions and common gestures.
This silent format may take a bit of an adjustment period for pole dancers who are used to learning with auditory cues and commands. As our first exposure to the silent tutorials format, it goes against the typical format we would consider recommending in a tutorial, however, Dr. Ken proved us wrong as his method becomes clearer as you learn what to watch for in each module. Each tutorial becomes easier to follow the more you practice, and the short, step-by-step progression works very well with the silent format.
The format also allows each tutorial to only take up a few minutes of time at most, while still communicating key aspects of the concept. The benefit of this is that it allows you to take things at your own pace, practicing between re-watches, and getting on the pole or floor to apply what you just learned as quickly as possible.
In each tutorial, you start with an example of how you can apply what you are about to learn, done in Ken’s famous acrobatic style. From there, it is unlike traditional tutorials in that each step is broken down into bite-sized pieces to allow you to master one or two simple movements before moving on to the rest of the trick, helping you make real progress.
At the end, Dr. Ken includes “extra notes” about the tutorial to help you during practice. Some of these notes give critical information about the concept, making them better suited to the beginning of the tutorial rather than the end, but the short time commitment of re-watching the module makes this a non-issue.
The only real difficulty we had when going through the tutorials was the speed; each tutorial is sped up just slightly, making some movements – such as hand gestures – erratic on the first viewing.
Of course, speeding up the tutorial does make the average tutorial 2 minutes long, which is fantastic for maintaining the attention of the student, there were many videos we preferred to watch at a slower pace.
Luckily, the platform comes with a “playback speed” option in the settings bar, easy to access on both mobile devices and desktop. Clicking through the options a few times, 0.75 speed was our preferred setting and helped stop any information overload.
- Each tutorial is comprehensive, with bite-sized step progression.
- Ken’s facial expressions and gestures clearly convey his meaning, making it easy to translate the silent format into actionable lessons.
- Each lesson is short and easy to digest, helping you apply what you learned faster than most pole dance tutorials.
- The silent format takes a module or two to get used to if you are not already familiar with silent tutorials.
- Extra notes about each move are presented at the end, rather than at the beginning of the material as an introduction.
- The videos may play too quickly for some people to follow all the gestures – but the platform does have a setting to slow down the video playback speed.
Our overall opinion:
Overall, Dr. Ken’s Foundations to Pole Acrobatics is a must-have course bundle. Any tutorial, no matter the topic or the subject, will have its pros and cons, but the PolePedia team finished the course with a better understanding of how our bodies worked, and we enjoyed the inspiration that came from several of the tricks in both packs.
This course is not for the absolute beginner pole dancer, nor is it for solely learning your average, every-day pole dancing tricks.
This course is for you, however, if you are looking to broaden your horizons and push the envelope of what pole dancing means to you as an art form. It will give you a better understanding of how your body works, and the mechanics required for some inspiring pole acrobatics.
Both the floor and pole tricks included in these two courses were fun and engaging. Some were difficult, and others not so much; but every module included was educational and motivational. If you are intermediate to advanced-level in pole dancing, this course is a challenge that will help you find new ways to move your body that you might not have thought possible.
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