Even though pole dancing is a visual art, not many dancers record themselves unless it’s for that Instagram love. Whenever you feel like you’re struggling with a trick, can’t quite get those lines down, or you did something awesome and want to remember how, ask yourself one question: did you video it?
If you said yes, then review, review, review! Take videos like a maniac and don’t be afraid to use up all your cell phone’s memory; there’s no doubt you’ll come out with at least some newfound knowledge!
If you said no – why not? What is stopping you from taking a new perspective? Mirrors can help you, but they won’t give you the eyes of someone outside of yourself. Those movements you thought you nailed in the routine can feel great but look small and sheepish, and likewise, small movements can appear almost too large, making you look over-extended. It’s hard to tell unless you can review the dance afterward.
When I started pole, I didn’t like to watch myself on video. I rarely took selfies, and in general, I wasn’t one to dress up and admire myself. I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there who can empathize with that. It wasn’t that I had a bad body image, but I just felt awkward being a camera hog. Secretly, I loved being in photos and I enjoyed candid shots, but posing for the camera was never my forte, especially if I was pointing the camera at myself.
As I progressed in pole, my instructor finally convinced me to video myself to perfect a routine she taught to me. I thought I had nailed it, but upon reviewing the video, I found a thousand little nuances in the dance. I immediately began going over the video with the eyes of an audience, reviewing and reviewing the video after each dance to see how I had progressed. My routine improved dramatically, and I was a convert to filming my pole sessions from that point on.
Now, it’s my favorite tool in my belt. Posting to social media isn’t the point for me, which means I get the benefit of an unbiased eye free of filters and edits. That said, one or two videos always find their way onto my Instagram.
Videoing yourself without social media in mind is a huge tool in your belt, helping you progress as a pole dancer.
Don’t believe it? Read on and decide for yourself.
Why Not Post It All on Social Media?
When recording, if the goal is to post it on social media, then you’re already looking for specific things in the video, understanding you can always edit or filter the video. You’re prone to miss key things about the routine itself, if all you’re focused on the best place to trim the video and what level of brightness would best show off your abs.
Between time limits and editing capabilities, you lose sight of why the video was important: to help you grow as a pole dancer.
Now, let’s get something straight here. Social media isn’t a bad thing, and everyone enjoys a little boost for the attention and/or interaction they get on social media, otherwise we wouldn’t have accounts in the first place; however, not everything should go on social media with the initial intention of posting it.
If you’re recording yourself and find a gem you’re proud of and want to show it off, then do so, but remember that you can also record yourself as a tool to help you improve as a pole dancer, to have the eyes of an audience member, and to critique your own work.
When to Review Your Videos
If you watch your video as soon as possible post-training, such as right after you finish your routine, you’ll have your muscle memory to aid you in what you’re seeing, matching feeling with visualization.
When you learn new movements this way, you are still learning something for the first time. Your brain commits it to short-term memory in case it needs the information again. Unfortunately, short-term memory won’t help you a few days down the line. With repetition, perfection, and improvement as we video ourselves, it will become ingrained in your long-term memory, helping you nail those iffy moves every time.
It’s advisable to keep your videos for a few days. We all know the struggle of not having enough media storage, but it’s worth reviewing it all again before you go to sleep. In a study done on related and unrelated memory retention using word pairs, it was shown that study participants recalled unrelated word pairs significantly better if they slept right after learning, which clues us in to how our brains remember things we’ve learned recently.
So, when you review your video, do it at the end of the night so it’s the last thing on your mind – your brain will mash together all those unrelated thoughts and abstract learning, giving you a better chance to improve literally overnight. It’s such an empowering feeling to come back to the pole the next morning, refreshed and ready, and finally nail that routine!
Make video reviewing a part of your training session and review all the footage before you go to bed to help commit it to long-term memory.
The Benefits are Endless
Perhaps its all the positivity floating around the pole community, or perhaps it’s learning to love ourselves even though we’re showing more skin than we’re comfortable with. Either way, recording yourself can help your body confidence and self-love.
When you watch the video and your focus is on the movement and technique, rather than knee-jerk deciding you don’t like it, you’ll begin seeing every one of your videos through the eyes of an admiring audience member. Your flaws, whatever you think they are, don’t exist when confidence and flow shine through. Celebrate yourself!
Better Technique and Flow
As you record yourself, you’ll notice small improvements you can make throughout the routine, and by doing it again and again with those improvements in mind, you’ll start flowing better, your tricks will be sharper and have better technique. If you continue recording yourself, you’ll see a drastic improvement from the first video by the fifth or sixth time. You’ll even start noticing patterns in your movements as you discover your own style.
Remember, constructive criticism is key!
Of course, we always have those times when we just want to give up in the middle of a routine because you feel every mistake you make. By recording yourself, you may be surprised to see that many of those “mistakes” look flawless from the outside. It can go both ways!
Freestyle comes naturally to some pole dancers.
For the rest of us, it seems like an uphill battle.
An internal war is waged, and you become stuck between two sides; you want to let go and get lost in the music, floating and flowing around the pole without a second thought. Try as you might, you feel embarrassed or silly, disheartened even. You take three steps, and you feel like you’ve already made dozens of mistakes. Moments like that can make or break your motivation as a dancer because you start questioning and wondering – those moments that go unrecorded and unreviewed. Video yourself. It’s not as bad as you think it is. I promise you, half the things you think you messed up on doesn’t even show up in the video.
Dancing is a skill. More than that, it can be a tough skill to learn, especially if you didn’t grow up going to dance classes and idly chatting with your friends about barre exercises or perfecting your pirouettes. Freestyle takes practice and technique just as much as putting together a routine does.
Give yourself permission to dance, and no matter what, just keep moving. Yes, even if you do make a mistake, keep moving and don’t act like you made a “mistake.”
I guarantee if you take a closer look at many of your Instagram idols, they’ve made their own “mistakes” in the videos they post, but it’s so hard to spot because many of them just keep moving through it.
Once you start giving yourself permission to dance, you’ll see the difference in your recording sessions. You’ll look more confident, flowing, and in control. From there, all you can do is improve.
Practice for Submissions and Performances
If you’re interested in videoing yourself for competition submissions or performances at all in the future, it helps to get familiar with your audience angles. If your jaw-dropping move ends up facing away from the audience, it could break your stride mid-routine. Videoing yourself from the audience’s angle helps you perfect every second of your routine and build confidence for better performance overall.
What are some benefits you’ve experienced from filming yourself? Have any tips for a great recording session? Want to share something you’re proud of? Let us know in the comments below!