I do a whole lot of answering on this blog; answering questions and giving advice on what I believe is the best approach to your pole training. But, I thought it was about time that I was the one asking the questions. This is how I came to be contacting some of our most beloved and well known pole stars with a single question – ‘What one thing would you attribute your success to?’ I wanted to find out what these amazing athletes believe has helped them to be the success stories and inspiring dancers that we all know and love.
Read on to find out what they had to say:
“Being authentic and taking the time to find my own movement style. It can be really empowering to realize that absolutely NO ONE dances like me (or like you), and it relieves the pressure of having to move like someone else. You don’t have to do the latest back flip or contortion trick to be a compelling performer or champion athlete; you just have to be unique.”
“The one thing that I would attribute my success to is practice to beyond perfection. Each move, skill, shape or spin I can make will never be good enough for me. I always see something I can improve – if only this leg was straighter/more flexible/higher up, if only I was stronger and could hold or lift this way. I always see where I can improve and will not ever put anything on stage until it has a 100% success rate. That and LUCK.”
“What do I attribute my success to? Two words: LASER FOCUS.
People attribute their success to many different things – some call it ‘the power of positive thinking’ or ‘the power of attraction’. For others its something which has guided them such as the personal development book ‘The Secret’. Some people believe there is a higher power at work in their lives. And others don’t believe in anything other than sheer hard work and a degree of natural talent. Whatever your personal philosophy is, it all comes down to one thing. If you really want something, you have to focus on it to the exclusion of all else. Like a pin-point laser.
There is a saying; “Jack of all trades, master of none”. If you try to focus on too many things and spread your energy over many areas, your results will mirror your efforts – so you will only be partly successful at a lot of different things. Give all your energy to the thing you want the most, and you will excel rather than getting the usual average results. It seems obvious when its stated, but I think a lot of people find it difficult to implement a laser focus philosophy, because life has a way of pushing us to prioritise what other people want. So you need to make your own priorities the most important, because no one else is going to do it for you. Laser focus on what you want, and watch your goals get closer every day.
One more thing – I’ve found that helping other people without expecting anything in return has always resulted in something positive happening in my own life whether its directly or indirectly. This has been the formula for my success.”
“For me, the one thing that makes me feel like I’m succeeding in my progress is that I dance the way that my body wants me to, as opposed to how I think I *should* be dancing. I think that I’m in the ‘sexy’ category of pole. However, I don’t feel pressure to move and dance in a traditional or typically sexy way. I naturally like fast, jerky, fun and weird movement. It feels good. If it feels good then it’s going to look good too because you’re really believing in that movement in that moment. When YOU believe in it, others will believe it too.”
“Being a successful performer is everything about finding your style and owning it. You will never see me do a fonji. You will never see me dance contemporary. I’m bendy and sexy and I learned early on that if I focus on those, I can wow a crowd in 4 minutes rather than being a less good version of someone else.
Being a successful teacher is different though. That’s all about love. Love your students, genuinely feel in your heart for them and feel their joy with them when they get their nemesis moves. Never be jealous, never clip anyone’s wings. Love everyone you touch in this industry – it is built on friendships and without those, you will go nowhere fast.”
“The one thing I would attribute my success to is being myself, honing my uniqueness and never comparing myself to others.”
“Hmm… one thing that I attribute my success to would be will power. The will to push through all the battles, the hurdles, the pain, and get up and keep going. The will to forget the negative comments and back lash and continue to focus on yourself.”
“Being focused and not afraid of taking risks. Working hard is a given, following your gut and being true to yourself! Most importantly, enjoying the journey because Pole is a passion after all!”
“To become an elite pole dancer I have been 100% dedicated to my training. I have no prior background in anything gymnastics or dance related, and because of this I know I had to work hard. I trained in Scotland in a studio without heating when I was truly freezing. Walked for an hour in the rain to find a training spot in Morocco. Trained when I have been sick, emotional, hungover, and the day after a competition. I have stretched in a plane, the corridor of a hotel, the shower, a park, beach, a toilet, Christmas day, my birthday. I now can take it easier and have a balanced life. Apart from the physical side of things belief in yourself is crucial and not comparing yourself to others. We are all unique that’s what makes pole so beautiful.”
There are a few reoccurring themes here. Firstly, stay truth to yourself and your preferred dance style. Dance how you want, not how you think you should. Secondly, work at your craft, you have to dedicate time and effort to becoming a better pole dancer, it won’t just happen without your focus and passion. Lastly, be a positive force in your pole life – positive in your own mindset, confidence and self-worth, and positive in your relationships with others in the industry. If you are kind to yourself and those around you, the favour will be paid back.
These pearls of wisdom and snippets of advice contain some fantastic points to help you develop as a dancer, performer and member of the pole community. Have you got any questions you would like me to ask the pole stars for a future post? Leave them in the comments below, or message me on my facebook or Instagram @peachleeray.
*I have tried my best to credit all of the amazing photographers who took these images, but I could not find the names of a couple of them. If you know this information pass it on to me please so I can add the correct credit to them.