How to Choreograph a Pole Dance Routine?

I’ve been asked by many pole instructors how I go about choreographing my pole routine or performance. The truth is, there isn’t one way to do it. I’ve tried several methods, and I’m sharing what has worked best for me and my students.

I’ll share my method, and as usual, you can send in your comments using the contact us form to bring diversity to more readers. 

So, how do I choreograph a pole routine?

Decide the Theme and Song

I usually plan out my pole classes and sessions ahead. This has allowed me to find more creative ways to teach students and learn on the job too.

I start with choosing a theme for the pole routine or a song I feel works best. Whichever one comes first determines the next one.

For pole competitions, the theme and music determine everything else, from pole moves to costumes, props, and more.

I should warn you that working your way from a theme can be harder, as finding the perfect song to match your theme may take longer. On the other hand, knowing your song makes selecting a theme for your performance easier, saving time on costumes and props.

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Mind Map Your Performance 

You can easily tell what dance tricks are great for specific songs and themes.

It’s also easy to reach specific parts of a song and think – a Superman trick will work just fine for this verse. Note these down to the specific verse or song time.

Begin to develop a mind map of the possible pole moves and tricks you can combine, the different variations you can make to each one, and how it fits into the lyrics or verses of your chosen song or beat.

Don’t just develop the mind map; note them down in your journal. Write everything down to the last detail in your mind. Continue adding related pole tricks to your journal as you build your choreography lineup. 

Always remember that it’s better to have fitting pole moves in excess.

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Arrange, Perform, and Re-Organize Your Routine

Start by re-arranging your pole tricks based on your experience and practicality.

It’s best to have your desired song playing in the background (with no distractions). This should help you visualize each pole trick as the song plays. 

You should be able to move pole tricks into position, in order of transition, based on the song’s lyrics, your theme, and your dream performance.

Learn how to break songs into 8 counts if you’re finding it hard to squeeze enough pole tricks into your routine. 

Below is a video on counting music and breaking it into 4 or 8 counts to improve your dance transitions.

Practice On Pole

Visualizing your pole routine and performance before getting on the pole will make things much easier. You already know what you want, and you’re ready to find out how to get each move to work smoothly.

I recommend listing your moves on a board or large piece of paper visible from your pole. This will help you track what’s next and avoid unnecessary breaks between your performance.

With the pole moves hung, approach the pole and play your music. Follow the moves, counting 4, 8, 12, or 16 music counts as you transition between pole tricks.

The more you practice, the more you’re likely to make alterations to the moves to improve transitioning between pole tricks. Try this 5 to 10 times, note your new dance arrangement, and give it a rest.

While resting, listen to the song and visualize how to improve your choreographed routine.

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Refine and Perform

After adequate rest, bring your newly visualized idea to the pole and see how well you can refine the existing lineup of pole tricks.

Keep working at it until you’re mildly satisfied with your outcome, then film your last two practice sessions to get a good feel of what you’re doing on the pole and how to improve it.

Give yourself enough time to rest and engage in other activities. You can return to the video, watch it, and note areas where you didn’t nail your moves or transition right.

Work on those areas during your next practice session and record the last two sessions.

Repeat the error-spotting, practicing, and filming parts until you’ve confidently nailed your music timing, moves, and transitions.

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Important Tips to Remember

  • You’ll likely end up with a polished routine different from what you started with.
  • Pole routine choreography is a process; give it time.
  • It’s okay to showcase less or more, but keep it fluid. 
  • Be open to innovation and pole-trick manipulation.

FAQ:

How Long Should a Choreographed Pole Routine Be?

A choreographed pole routine should last between one and four minutes (typically the length of your chosen song) and incorporate as many fluid and transitional pole moves as possible.

How Long Does It Take To Choreograph a Dance Piece?

It can take 2 – 5 days to choreograph a dance piece. Professional choreographers may require less amount of time due to experience and expertise.

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