An Interview with Pony Poison
This week Pole Purpose has the opportunity to interview the fabulous Pony Poison. A Las Vegas girl who has a love for honest movement and aerial dance. Inspired by technique from formal dance training in ballet, modern and Jazz, Pony knows when to be technical and when to throw it away to make the movement more authentic. I found it interesting that she sees her work as something bigger than herself because the ideas comes through her an not from her.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m 33 year old, originally from Chicago, but I’ve been in Vegas for 9 years. It’s home. My love for dance began when I was a teen where I studied ballet, modern and Jazz. I wanted to be a pro but found that once I was ready to start auditioning, I was just too intimidated by the whole process. I quit dance. As an adult, I found pole and dance came back into my life.
When did you choreograph your first piece of work?
I used to choreograph little routines for myself as a teen, they were just for me, I didn’t perform them anywhere. I always had lots of ideas. As an adult, I guess the first things I choreographed were routines I did dancing with fire fans. I joined a fire group briefly when I first arrived in Vegas.
What tends to stimulate your creative thoughts?
Everything inspires me! Being in nature always gets me creating so I go to the park often. Or else, I will get attached to a song and the song will just stalk me and I start to picture which moves I want to use. Then when I get into the studio I will run the dance a few times. I don’t like to have precise choreography. Some parts will be improvised. I feel trapped if every count is accounted for.
How do you think your experience as a professional dancer/choreographer has informed your pole practice?
Formal dance training might give you a bodily awareness that you might not otherwise have. I saw this during my first pole class, I picked up moves quickly. Pole was new but the dance studio environment was familiar to me. I also have great interest in technique, which I think is because of ballet. I always enjoyed the structure of ballet and understanding how we do things is so important. It’s not just about seeing and copying. I definitely bring this approach to pole when I am learning and when I am teaching.
I enjoy feeling that the piece is not mine, it is bigger than me. I really feel a lot of my creative endeavours come from somewhere else. They come through me, not from me.
What do you find most difficult about choreography and how do you overcome this?
To move in a way that is honest and organic to you. I still have to overcome this! Haha. At best, I have moments, but to move naturally without the rules of your familiar poses is so hard! I aspire to be that artist.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
Again I must say that everything inspires me, not just people. But as for people, dancers who are themselves inspire me. Those who are brave enough to go for the tricks that scare me. Those who invent. If I can watch you and I believe you really mean what your body is saying… then I get excited.
What, if any, do you think are the psychological benefits of creating your own work?
Emotional catharsis. Finding out who you are. Sometimes I see a dance or a drawing or anything I have made and I kind of go, “Oh, I didn’t know you were feeling that way”.
Your performance above it your favourite, can you tell us how you prepared for this work and what your process was like?
My favourite piece of mine right now is “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”? It’s so simple but I really felt it. The song stalked me, it would not leave me alone. I remembered hearing it in a preview for a movie so I found it online and I listened to it so many times. Then I began to assign certain moves to certain lyrics, in my head. Then I got into the studio and played it 4 times in a row, dancing to it each time, with slight variations until I found the best version.
What comes first during your process, the pole or the floor movement?
It depends which part of the song I’ve connected to most. I picture certain movements for certain parts of the song, so it can start anywhere.
Since creating your first solo, how do you think you have grown as a choreographer?
I don’t know if I will ever think of myself as a full blown choreographer. I do what I do. I try my best to create something honest. And if it can’t be honest then it should at least be entertaining.
If you could give readers a piece of advice for creating their dance, what would it be?
Be inspired by other but don’t try to be them. Listen to your voice. Find your style and then work your ass off.
I would hire someone who is brave enough to do all of the big dynamic power moves that I have never mastered. Haha. It would be fun to play with someone like that.
What sort of time frame do you give yourself to create a new piece of work?
If I have a deadline like a performance or a competition, I want to start right away! It may take 1 week or 4 weeks but I want to lock in the choreography and drill it to create the muscle memory. If the piece is for myself or not on a deadline, I will usually be done quickly because whatever emotion is causing me to make it is eating me alive. I have to do the dance so I can stop obsessing over it.
What does pole dance do for you?
Pole is everything. It let me express myself but it also kicks my ass. It shows me who I am while it challenges me to be more.
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