This week I have been rehearsing an old dance work (created within the last few months) that I would like to perform again. The urge to perform this particular piece got me thinking about how pole dancers rarely show the same work twice and I wonder why this is. Dance companies and solo artists usually create with the intention to tour it, sharing their message and their purpose with audiences around the world. So why are we, as pole dancers, so eager to create new material all the time? I am totally guilty of it, but that is not to say that my old work is dead and buried. Whilst I am neither for nor against creating new work constantly I do feel that there are benefits of performing the same dance more than once.
Your Message Should Be Shared
Think about it this way. You have dedicated time, money and energy to the creative process, rehearsals and planning. Why would you put so much effort into something for one performance, for one audience?
I saw a great piece of work at a pole show a few years back, the stimulus for the work was alcohol and although the choreographer didn’t have a specific intention to inform audiences of its danger, it sure came across that way. I spoke to this choreographer a couple of years later and although she didn’t realise it at the time, after watching back her second performance, she could see that she had problems with drinking and has since stopped. The work wasn’t shown a third time because of how personal it was to her.
So, even if your movement was created with lack of intention to convey a particular message, it still has meaning to someone, even if that someone is you!
It Will Benefit You as a Performer and Choreographer
I do get it, the vocabulary of pole dance movement is expanding at a rapid pace and with this you want to learn new tricks, show off and challenge yourself as a performer. However, it is beneficial for you to explore your own vocabulary before you move onto everybody else’s. Especially if you are fairly new to performance work.
It takes time to be comfortable on stage and to find a real presence. I and most of the performers that I know are still working on it. If you give yourself the opportunity to really get to know the way you are performing any particular work, you can begin to see what you need to improve on as a performer. It’s difficult to do this if you are always performing something new. Your focus is always going to be mostly on remembering the steps. Whereas when a piece a been rehearsed so much that it is imprinted into your muscle memory you can begin to think about other things like reading the audience and really connecting with them.
The Audience Get a Second Chance
As a dance enthusiast, if I like a something I definitely want to see again. The last pole performance that absolutely blew me away was choreographed by Vasya Kozar for Olga Trifonova. It was phenomenal. I would love to see this live, but the chances are, she is probably already working on something new. Watching it again, not on video, would give me the opportunity to read more from the intricacy of the steps and analyze what the process might have looked like.
Overall, although it is exciting to work on something new, which I do a lot, you should definately think about using something you have already created. It’s useful to also think about the venue and the audience. I have full pieces of work that haven’t been performed yet because I haven’t found the right audience; the movement I consider for a contemporary dance setting probably wouldn’t go down too well in a pole dance competition because the audience expect very different things.
What do you think about performing the same pole dance work?