Dance is not all about the tricks, how high you can get your leg or how long you can hold a certain pose. Whilst all of those things are eye catching and impressive they don’t make me feel anything apart from a second or two of “wow”. When there is a real intention behind even the slightest movement I am more impressed because it makes me question what the performer is thinking or why they chose to do that. For instance, when I was judging the Blackpool pole dance competition I was really struck by the repetitive hand gesture of one of the competitors. Her head whipped up from looking down and then her hand flipped and I was instantly drawn in. Repetition is great tool that can be used to keep an audience engaged; as humans we like to see something that is familiar which then helps us relax and remember a bit more of the performance.
When I choreographed “Count to Six” I had to look at what I was trying to say as a choreographer who is researching different ways of working within pole dance. How can I use the music and merge the poles together to develop some sort of story, idea or experience? Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I thought that maybe I should do some more tricks, but there was no reason for me to do that so I decided against it. Also, I considered the type of showcase I would be performing in. It was doing a guest performance at a competition so I really minimised the amount of tricks I did because I knew that the audience were going to see trick after trick from the competitors; they didn’t need me to do it too. This whole piece was pretty much built from one full improvisation and then adjusted and tweaked in parts that I felt needed it. I deliberately used repetition to finalise the ending where I took movement from the beginning of the piece and then reused it and developed it towards the end.
What do you think about tricks and intention? I obviously love learning and seeing tricks, but I don’t think we need to do them just because we can. I think everyone has much more to offer than that.