Point your toes!!!!

This is the most popular phrase you hear in the pole dance class. Maybe, after the «it bloody hurts». The lines are the thing you have to work on hard, if you ever want to win any competition at all. It is the big part of the score and can cause you victory. Even if you do flips from one pole to another, flying in bilman between them and landing on your hands with planch, but your toes are not pointed, then sorry, man, 10 points off. For London we even received the scheme, how the toes should be pointed properly, otherwise even if your lines look quite good, some points will be taken off.

I sound smart and wise at the moment, but to be honest, it took me a while to comprehend this. I thought that as long as I do crazy tricks and splits I am fine. More than that – as I was a break dancer for a while I worked hard actually NOT to point my toes. In the break dancing culture the dancers, who point their toes are called «gymnasts», which is not a good thing. For ten years I tried to push my toes as high as I could, and then I had to change it all completely.

I am still far from perfect, but for me it was my personal victory – my routine at Pole Art. I did have the lines. Marion Crampe told me – you did, I watched you, and you did it. And I can tell you, that`s harder than any flip I have ever done…

So if you have the same problem, I want to share with you some exercises I did in order to achieve better results. My wife showed them to me, and that`s her you can see on the pictures.

Try to do these exercises 2-3 times a week. You don`t need any warm up for them, just don`t be cold as it will be harder, so if you are in a cold room, put warm socks on. Do each exercise for 3 times on each leg, hold all the positions 10-15 seconds.

     1.Put your legs apart, wide enough, but not to your maximum. Place your foot comfortably on the heel. Point your toes down, until you reach the floor. Be careful not to hold your foot back or forward. You would want to do that, as it will be easier then, but your legs and feet need to be perfectly straight. Fisrt, I would advise to help yourself with a hand, then you will be stretched enough to do it without.

    2.Sit on the chair, crawl your toes, and put your foot on the floor. Your shin needs to be straight. Place one hand a little bit higher than your toes, the other one on the anckle, right near the heel. Push the heel backward, keep the toes from moving. It is quite painful, but you get used to it.

    3.Stand on the stairs, all your weight on the heels. Try to touch the down side of the stair you are standing on with your toes.

And an additional one – if you work with computer or spend much time on facebook (c`mon, we all do!), buy a tennis ball. With no shoes on, just roll it with your feet, trying to embrace it with your toes.  It will not only help you with the pointed toes, but also – helps to fight the stress.

I hope, these exercises will help you as much as they helped me. And here you can see – two of my performances with less than a year differance. Watch the toes, feel the differance! 





Mine! Mine! Mine!

Recently I got the impression, that the main pole dance battle is not the one on stage for titles and medals, but the one for… tricks. There is a certain group of sportsman, who reacts rather sharply to several words like «my», «new» or «signature». Have you ever met these fighters for the pole dance copyright? They are easy to recognize:

  1. They know the names of all the tricks. On all languages. The name of the creator of the trick. The exact date the idea got into his head. The date he realized it. The date he presented trick to the public. The name of the first human being, who witnessed it.
  2. Pretty often, that`s because, it appears, they created the tricks themselves.
  3. Out of all the tricks they know, they can perform around 32 per cent.
  4. They are your friend or subscriber, if you have ever touched the pole. They follow everybody attentively and are very passionate if somebody, let him burn in hell! Steals a trick. Their major fighting instrument are, of course, comments.
  5. The new and signature tricks are very often the old, existing tricks, but with minimal change (other hand, different grip, bended leg, head turned to the left, eyes shut etc). 

I just never couldn`t understand, why would somebody care about all this stuff?! Maybe, I don`t know about that, but trick creators get paid? Or pole dancers need to pay certain per cent to the author of the move, if they use it in their routine? Or they get featured in some kind of very prestigious hall of fame? If no, then just let it go. It`s so not worth it! 


Here are several examples:

- Marchenko rainbow. Created by, obviously, Marchenko Elizabeth – Russian pole dance star and, as far as I know, ex circus performer. And here you can see young sport gymnast – Oksana Knyzhnyk (picture from 1996). Does it look familiar? 

So what? I would say – thank you, Elizabeth, for genius idea to get this move from sport gymnastics to the pole. Because now it`s one of the most spectacular trick ever! All the world knows it as rainbow Marchenko. But if you ask any pole dancer other than the ones from Russia or nearby countries, Elizabeth won`t be the one he associates with the move (most of them haven`t ever seen her). It will Anastacia Skuchtorova, Marion Crampe  or Derick Pierson.So who`s signature move is that? Of the sport gymnast, who did it for the first time, maybe on World Champ or Olympics? Of the girl, who it is named after? Or of the dancer, who made it world famous? 

- Jade and Jamilla. Might be the most popular pole split. I have no idea, who was the first to create it. Me personally, I saw it in Jamilla`s performance. But I call it Jade. l Do you know why? Because it`s shorter. 

- about my flip. Many people call it Shchukin flip. That`s because they saw it for the first time in my routine. But before it was known as Fletcher flip. He did it from the same position, but from the Chinese pole. Again, for those who understand, there is a HUGE difference between flip from Chinese pole, more – if you do it barefoot. But I don`t care. Call it whatever you like. I am just glad, that many pole dancers, who see that I am still alive after four championships, started trying it, too.

So I just want to say. First of all, as long as there is no official certificate for the signature pole moves, any talk about copyright is useless. Second, if you want the trick to have your name, make it naturally – let the trick be associated with you. It`s not enough simply create the trick. Make it famous. These are, in my personal opinion, the good examples of signature tricks – the pole dancer created it, showed it to the world, made people fall in love with it:

Felix`s spatchcock

Oona`s split

Anastasia by Anastasia Skuchtorova 

Third, don`t be lied to with the descriptions of workshops, where in capital letters you have – signature tricks. The workshop is at least one hour. Either you will learn two tricks only, or the tricks are not signature. There can be the signature style, though, interesting transitions, signature way of teaching, but not the tricks.

As for me, I don`t know the name of the half of elements I do. Other half I needed to learn just for my workshops and classes, not to lose time, while explaining what I want from students. Many tricks I create myself, I fins later in the earlier routines of my colleges. And in general, for me the crime is to kill the main advantage of pole dance. This is the sport, where you can translate any of your talents or skills onto the pole. Ballet, break dance, gymnastics, parkour, capoeira, even kick-boxing – just add a pole and here you go – a new trick! 

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