Alex Shchukin: Workshops With a World Champion

Alex Shchukin; the man, the myth, the legend.

Alex Shchukin, for those who don’t know, is a world pole dance champion. He has multiple international titles, including Male World Pole Dance Champion, he has a beautiful wife and daughter, and still manages to fly all around the world to deliver amazing workshops to all of his adoring fans. I’ve now had two workshops with this lovely man, and he honestly is so upbeat, engaging, funny, and cool. He encourages you to try crazy tricks you never before thought possible, and shows you how simple certain scary moves are if you know the right technique.

My most recent workshop with him was ‘Advanced Tricks’ at First Class Pole Fitness in Melton Mowbray. He led us through an intense warm up, with a hardcore mini abs workout in the middle, and some great stretching. This was choreographed to a Ukranian dance beat. He then took us through the motions of swinging onto the pole and up into fun positions and flips. We practised dynamic repeat back grab spins, which he led us through seamlessly, and then we started on some crazy moves.

We got taught various dynamic ways of getting into a handspring/ayesha position up the pole which looked cool and quirky. We practised different types of handspring to get into various moves, such as a true grip handspring walkover into a back split. These combinations packed in a lot of power and wore me out completely. The whole two hour workshop was very focused on strength-based moves, with the shoulders doing the majority of the hard labour. It was most definitely an advanced tricks class. He even rolled his eyes at me twice for saying the moves we were doing were crazy!

Overall, he’s a very sweet, cool man with a lot of power and strength. He moves with fluidity and style, from his background in break dance training. He even posed in an Iron X on the pole with me!

Do Not Blame My Sport for Things Men Do…

I have seen posts like the one I am about to write for years, but never have I understood, empathised with or fully felt the way they have until now. Until I read what the London Abused Women’s Centre had to say about pole fitness/dancing. They have withdrawn their support for Take Back the Night, an event by the Women’s Events Committee because there is going to be a pole fitness display included.

Within multiple statements made on their very public Facebook page, they have posted the following statements and images:

Their official statement on withdrawing:

http://www.am980.ca/2016/09/12/lawc-take-back-the-night/

They have also stolen an image from Body and Pole without asking permission to create the following meme:

lawc

Not only is this illegal as it is copyright and the owners at Body and Pole are working hard to get this taken down, but it is also highly degrading to any woman who chooses to pole dance and makes suggestions that if they were to be abused by a man, that it would be their own fault for normalising it through pole dancing/fitness.

The first thing I have to say is that when I started pole dancing, I called it pole fitness, didn’t tell many people I was doing it and only started posting pictures privately because I was 18 and didn’t know how people would react. However, I started getting good and wanting to show off and share my achievements, so I did. I have received one negative comment which was not abusive, but merely slightly weird and kind of humorous. I know people who have been slut-shamed, called prostitutes and treated incredibly badly for doing their chosen sport. I have one thing to say about this: call me a circus freak, a failed gymnast/dancer or whatever you choose, but never call me a slut. I hate this word and it has taken me a long time to realise why. I hate the word ‘slut’ because it is a word used by men and women alike to put down another woman for what she chooses to do with her life. I hate the idea that a woman would put down another woman for doing something out of anything other than jealousy. We all say things we don’t mean from time to time, in the heat of the moment out of jealousy or shock. But more often than not, these things are not perpetuated, we apologise and move on with our lives and never even think this way again.

The LAWC have made this statement, that pole dancing women normalise men’s violence against women, and they have stood by it multiple times. I can see and understand that some of their women have had bad experiences in the stripping and sex industries from men forcing them onto a pole against their will and beating them up for doing it wrong, however this has nothing to do with the pole itself. The men chose a pole and sexualised it. They put women in underwear on a pole and made it into the known and accepted image of a pole dancer. However, firemen use poles in their practise, hence the fireman’s pole at the park, the Indians danced on it in their traditional Mallakamb dance and the Chinese used it for feats of incredible strength and power. It is not about the pole. It is about what people do with it.

Men’s violence against women simply cannot be normalised by women taking a pole fitness class at a respected studio where no men are even present, and if they are, it’s because they are joining in themselves. This is because men can be violent towards anybody at any time for any number of reasons, but mostly it is because they choose to. This is not exclusive to men; women can be violent just because they choose to also, anybody can, I am simply referring to what is said in the picture above. Any man can attend a strip club, a pole dancing competition or pole fitness lesson and go home and not think about it until the next time they see it. They can think about it, they can think sexually about it and still choose to do nothing. Or they can decide that they can have their way with a woman just because she danced on a pole in his view. Or they can decide that they can have their way with a random woman on the street wearing nothing revealing after not watching any form of “trigger”. All of these come down to the same conclusion: if a man abuses a woman in any way, it was his choice. They can blame it on a short skirt or a pole, but at the end of the day, they wanted to do something so they did it, not taking into account how it would make the woman feel.

I hope LAWC read this, and if they do, this is for them:

You, at London Abused Women’s Centre have made me feel like I cannot come to you now if ever I need your services. I feel that I will be judged for pole dancing and, just like the many women on the street get asked ‘what were you wearing?’ by police, I would fear that you would ask if the abuser had seen me on a pole. You may be withdrawing your support for reasons related to some of the people you help having had bad experiences with pole dancing and exotic arts, but just consider what this says to strippers and pole dancers alike who choose to do what they do and get abused regardless of whether they do it or not. It says that you do not support pole dancers, or the pole fitness industry and, while you may not have meant for it to come across this way, this is how it has come across.

If I ever get abused, don’t you dare suggest it was my fault because I pole dance.

As a pole dancer, we go through asking ourselves many pressing questions, such as am I ever going to be good enough to compete, or put a routine together, and how do I actually go about these things? I may not be able to answer whether you will be good enough to compete, since that is a very personal decision with a lot of factors affecting it. But as for putting together a routine on the pole, of course you are ready!

From day one of pole dance, you learn to pirouette and spin, climb and sit on the pole. Regardless of if it’s thirty seconds or three minutes, if it involves a rainbow marchenko or simple dance steps into a fireman spin, routines are for everyone at every level. Pole dancing is a form of dancing, and choreography is the hardest part. Obviously, it is amazing if you train at a studio where routine classes are available to you, but most of us do not. So, here is my step-by-step guide to putting together a pole routine:

  1. Start by free styling to music you enjoy listening to. You will find that you either can choreograph to it, or you cannot. You will find that either free style is your thing, or it is not. Do this where you feel comfortable, but film yourself if you can, as it will show you what you are naturally good and not so good at.
  2. Remember: it may be a pole routine, but do not forget the word DANCE! You should be able to body wave, pirouette, step around and slide down the pole. Floor work is relatively easy to copy from videos online, although it can require flexibility in places.
  3. List out the key moves you would like in your routine, and make sure you can do them. For a beginner, it is best to think about putting your spins and sits together to create interesting combinations. For anybody inverting in their routines, try not to include more than 5-7 big pole moves in a routine under 4 minutes. The audience may love them, but flow and style in your piece is often more important.
  4. Choose a song. This may sound easy but, if it is for a competition, take into account time limits. Regardless of what it is for, you should choose a song you do not mind hearing all of the time. Because you will- it will haunt you in your sleep, so try not to choose a song you love that you will end up hating.
  5. When choreographing, use the music. Directly connecting with the lyrics may seem cheesy, but it can be done cleverly, so think about things like ‘shh’ sounds, or ‘holding close’ lyrics and how you can utilise them effectively in your routine. Also, use the actual tempo and beat of the music. Do not just dance quickly because the beat is quick, think about the tempo and rhythm and how you can contrast it and be in correlation with it.
  6. Think about angles- which way are you performing the piece? Are people going to appreciate seeing a crotch shot, and how are you going to make sure that your back bend is on a perfect side angle for both the audience and the photographer?
  7. Feel your natural way of moving and use it. There is nothing more awkward than somebody trying a brand new style of dance in a routine when they have never done anything like it before. Your body knows how to move to some degree, so focus on its natural rhythm and go with it. Maybe take a generic dance class too to see what style you best fit into.
  8. Connect with your audience. You can do a routine just for you, but never forget to perform it out to the whole room. Use your space wisely and effectively, and make sure the audience can feel what you have put into the routine.
  9. Attempt to tell a story with your body. It does not have to have a plot, but a basic beginning, middle and ending should be enough for the audience to go on a journey with you. You could be a flower blooming, or show a journey of life to death, or base it off a picture you like. Ambiguous story lines are the easy to get creative with as a beginner choreographer.
  10. Remember, the routine is for you. Sure you may have competition guidelines or pressure from friends/family coming to watch you perform, but choreograph a routine that you love performing, and that you love watching back. There is nothing better than loving your own creation.

bipdc3

So that is it! I hope this inspires some creative pole dance pieces, whether they are for yourself at home never to be seen again, for a small audience at your pole school, or for a larger audience at a performance or competition.

Everybody should feel free to choreograph and enjoy their own creation. You do not have to wait for a certain time or certain moves to be able to create a routine, you simply need to love to pole and love to dance. Combining the two should be a piece of cake!bipdc4

Pole Dancing – Reasons to Start?

Everybody has heard of pole dancing, or pole fitness, either because of its origins in strip clubs or because of its more mainstream format in fitness classes. But why is pole dancing so great? Why do people begin, and why do they carry on? What’s so addictive about pole dancing and why should you take up the best fitness craze around?

  1. The fitness/health benefits: Pole dancing offers some incredible health benefits, including helping recovery from injuries, physical therapy and being an excellent form of exercise! You can burn up to 500 calories in a pole dancing class, and you build the muscle as you go, so there is no reason not to take your first class today! You can read about some excellent benefits and people who have used it for recovery and disability here on Pole Dance Community’s blog: http://www.poledancecommunity.com/magazine
  2. The community: If you’ve ever wondered where all of the laid-back, gym-o-phobes are and how to make friends with them, go to your first pole dancing class! While lots of pole dancers do go to the gym, most people start the sport because they wish to try something different and pole dancing is just that. We’re a supportive community of pole dancers, and there is no prejudice within the community.sportsvest2
  3. The body confidence: Not only will your first pole dance lesson introduce you to lots of similar people with similar body issues nervously pulling their shorts down as low as possible, but by the end of your first few lessons, you will also be able to strut around in those shorts with those people and praise each other’s bodies. In the pole dance world, we all celebrate each other’s bodies and fitness based achievements because we all have the same kinds of struggles. Eventually, it will feel weird wearing any more than your sports bra and hot pants!
  4. The addictiveness: You will fall in love with pole dancing after your first lesson. If not, your money back, haha! Being “addicted” to pole dancing is a great way to organise your life, as you’ll be constantly planning things around your lessons, as well as having something new and different to talk about. And you will want to talk about it, ALL THE TIME and that’s okay!
  5. The diversity: While pole dancing is not everybody’s cup of tea, and some people may automatically think that you’re a stripper before they get to know you, the diversity of the sport makes it interesting. You’ll find yourself educating your friends, family and eventually even random strangers on the streets about the pole dance community and how many different forms of the sport there are and how there’s nothing wrong with exotic dancing and stripping as long as it’s your own choice to do it. It makes for great conversation!
  6. The passion: I personally went for a long time not fully understanding what I was passionate about. I loved reading and writing, and I had danced my whole life, however nothing fully compelled me like my first pole dance class. After my first lesson, I went straight to the park where they have a fireman’s pole and practised. I went as often as possible. It is amazing to be passionate about a hobby and to love what you do, because it means that you’ll never stop wanting to do it.cocoonfull.jpg
  7. No age/body requirements: Pole dancing is a sport for EVERYONE. And I mean everyone. You could be 65 and never danced or done anything sporty in your entire life, yet pole dancing is still possible for you. It’s exactly the same as if you’re 16 stone and feel too big to get on a pole- believe me, you’re not. You don’t have to have muscles, pole dancing provides you with them, and you certainly don’t have to be graceful, nobody is for the first six months.
  8. The online advice: There are various online sources of information on pole dancing, including YouTube accounts, Pole Dance Community, Pole Dance Dictionary, but more than anything the most helpful for me are the Facebook groups. You Know When You’re A Poler When… group is my go-to for advice, sharing my personal achievements and accomplishments and to find new pole dance moves to try. While you should always be careful with which information you trust regarding pole dancing on the net, Facebook is usually a safe bet, as if somebody gives you bad advice, there will always be someone around to correct them.
  9. (Sorry boys) The female empowerment: Not only does pole dancing make you feel like a strong, bad-ass woman, but so do your fellow pole dancers in classes. After your first lesson alone, you will see that everyone applauds your new moves, your flexibility and body achievements. The environment is supportive and friendly, but also the fact that the majority of the community is female helps because you can discuss feminine problems with one another, and pole dancers definitely are not shy. winter showcase pole
  10. You will have somewhere to go no matter where you are: Wherever I travel, I now have a pole dancing Facebook friend from that area. I will drop them a message and they often allow me to come and train with them in their studio and drop in on classes. You build connections everywhere and, because most people do pole dancing part time, you meet so many interesting individuals from all walks of life, and can create your own personal database of people who can help you with various things in the future.

Overall, taking your first pole dancing class is the first step towards the rest of your life. It will take you on a journey like no other, encourage travel, introduce you to new people constantly and rid you of body image nightmares. It will teach you that you are strong, confident and sexy as well as showing you that everyday in the mirror. Your friends and families will love the new you, as will you. Pole dancing has only made myself and other people better versions of themselves. Start today!

 

Train Safe, Pole Safe!

Recently in the pole dancing community, there have been many stories, videos and pictures of injuries relating to unsafe teaching/training methods. I have read every cat and dog’s comments on social media regarding the subject and finally feel like putting in my two cents.

Pole dancing is difficult. It requires extreme levels of strength and flexibility and a massive amount of patience. Some moves you may work on for a day to achieve, some may take years, it doesn’t matter! What does matter is listening to your instructors and your own body as it tells you which moves feel easy and comfortable, which ones you will struggle with and which ones, for now, are just not happening. In my own journey, I have always found front splits moves rather comfortable and easy to manage, while I know for a fact that Spatchcock will take me years to master. I learned to deadlift after two years of pole dancing, yet Janeiro proves to be near to impossible. Either way, I have learned that listening when my body won’t bend a certain way or grip the pole in a certain position is 100% essential to progressing quickly in my pole journey. So many others out there seem to refuse to do the same!

Since UniLad shared that video the other day of a girl falling out of a poorly executed shoulder mount, I have been at odds with myself as to whether or not to write this post, but I feel it’s needed as a non-professional in the industry to make some points loud and clear.BLOG2

No.1 – Whatever move you are currently being taught/learning by yourself, you should know the name of it (the most commonly used name in the pole community), and what level it is revered by either Pole Dance Community’s online syllabus, or Pole Dance Dictionary. If it is not on there, you can post on a Facebook pole dancers page, or ask another pole dancer in the industry, as they’re always willing to help out.

No.2 – If following your research you find that you are learning a level 5 move when you have only previously been taught to level 3, bring this up with your instructor, especially if you are struggling with the move and discuss it with them. They may have perfectly good reasons for it as long as they are professional and qualified, however there is always the risk that they do not know the level themselves due to being unqualified…

No.3 – Whenever joining a new pole dance studio, check the credentials of the instructor. Are they PDC approved, or do they have Spin City instructor training? If you cannot find these kinds of qualifications on their website or social media outlets, you are perfectly within your rights to email them and ask. Credentials do not only include relevant training, however. If your instructor has a list of competition finals they have participated in/medals they have won, they will usually be perfectly adequate. DO double check and cross reference all your findings as there are too many unqualified studios popping up all over the place.

No.4 – Ask your instructor before deciding to buy a home pole. The main reason is that if they do not think you are ready for it, it is advisable to follow their advice, as you do not want to be stuck in a move at home with no spotter and no way of getting out. The other reason is that they will be able to advise you on the best size and material of pole to buy. They may even be able to offer some discounts depending on where you buy it from!

No.5 – In training sessions where an instructor is not present, DO:

  • PracBLOG1tise moves you have been taught and achieved, make them look better and feel stronger
  • Practise moves you ‘nearly’ got, but make sure you have a friend spotting you just in case
  • Stretch and condition!!! Training sessions are for training what you know already, so build that strength and flexibility for your next lesson!
  • Be careful and aware of what you can and cannot do

DO NOT:

  • Ask people to teach you moves you have never learned before
  • Offer to teach people moves they have never learned before
  • Practise moves you ‘nearly’ got without a spotter
  • Hesitate to ask for help where needed

No.6 – In solo training sessions, be very careful of what you are practising. Be sure to have a mat ready just in case, and be wary of how your body is feeling that day. If your legs are failing to grip, do not practise tip backs, if your hands are slippery, don’t practise handsprings. Simple tips which so many people fail to remember.

No.7 – If in class you are being taught a move and it doesn’t feel right, or you’re struggling more than usual, communicate with your instructor. They will more than likely know if you’re doing something wrong or if you just need to use an alternate technique in order to land a move. Communication is key!!!

No.8 – Finally, as said by other pole dancers previously, analyse your instructor in your first few lessons, and maybe even stick around to watch a more advanced lesson than your own. If they are teaching moves that they seem to struggle with, or if they have to kick up into an invert, or be spotted in a move they are teaching you, they are not advanced enough pole dancers to teach.

This post has been rather to the point, but I feel that the safety of all pole dancers in the industry is much more important than me being a happy-go-lucky blogger. Please note that I am not an instructor, but I have learned from many different ones over the years and it has become very easy for me to sep
arate the good from the bad.BLOG3

My Top 10 Tips for an Amateur Pole Competitor!

Pole competitions are very tempting when you’re progressing through moves naturally and are enjoying every second of your pole lessons. As soon as I found out I could compete, I prepared a routine and entered the Midlands Pole Championships at an intermediate level. I came 4th in my first comp, which I was very proud of! However, I did not get masses of guidance from many people and wish I had known what I know now about pole competitions, particularly amateur ones.

Here are my top 10 tips for any amateur pole competitor:

1. At a beginner/intermediate level, it is not just about the tricks. Make sure you incorporate dance or gymnastic elements in your routine. Your technique will increase or decrease your score massively depending on how you use it, and fluidity of movement is way more important than how advanced your moves can get without breaking any rules.

2. READ THE RULES. As an amateur competitor at any level in any competition, there are rules! At a beginner/inter level, there will be move restrictions which you need to read closely and make sure you understand them; if you don’t, email the organisers. It’s better to ask and win than get disqualified because you didn’t understand a rule. The same goes for costume, timing and routine rules. Most competitions require a certain amount of bodily coverage in your costume and certain things, such as gloves and thigh-high boots are often disallowed. Make sure your costume fits the requirements. Check your time constraints, as well as checking if the comp is asking for a certain amount of the routine to be based on floorwork, etc.

3. Show your routine to everybody. Your friends, family, instructors and classmates may get sick of hearing your routine song over and over, but make sure you get their fully honest feedback. It is also recommended that you ask them to point out if you are not extending enough, or if your toes are not pointed, as these are the things which will bring your score up massively.

4. Choose your song carefully. Think about watching routines and competitions, and what kinds of routines you enjoy. I personally get bored by slow songs which never pick up the pace, so often choose a more upbeat song that people will recognise to wake the audience up. If you do choose a slower song, think about the dynamics and how you can move to the song to make it stand out from everybody else’s routines.

5. Remember it’s a performance. When you compete, the judges want to see you performing; look at them, smile, look at the audience and engage everyone in front of you. Command the stage and make sure nobody wants to look at their phones apart from to take pictures and videos of your performance. Think about making somebody watch you; which pole dancers do you watch and cannot take your eyes off? Become that kind of pole dancer when you perform.

6. Let yourself get nervous. Nerves are a GOOD thing, regardless of what many people think. For me, nerves provide me with adrenaline to put that extra energy into my performance. They also help to warm up your muscles, as they make you slightly shaky, so as long as you stretch, your bendy moves will look twice as good on adrenaline. I had never achieved a flat Jade split before my first competition, so use your nerves to your advantage. This goes hand in hand with not getting cocky, or over-confident! Sure, your routine is fabulous, and maybe one girl messed up on her extended butterfly, but that does not mean you should assume you’re going to be any better. If you have never competed before, you have no idea what you will do on stage in front of an audience.

7. Choose whether or not to watch your category. Then, stick to that decision. This relates to my nerves point above, as some people find watching their category gears them up and gives them a decent amount of adrenaline as they have seen what they need to surpass. However, for others it makes them feel sick if they see someone perform a better moves than them, even though their routine may be flawless. It can make some people fired up and ready to compete, while it can make others want to run and hide, which can mess up their performance. You know what type of person you are, and more often than not, your instructor and pole friends will be able to tell you what they think you can handle.

8. Practise, practise, practise, then stop. As much as you will want to practise constantly leading up to your competition, know your own body. If you know that you’re more flexible after a day’s rest, make sure you rest the day before your competition. If your muscles will ache from practising the day before, don’t do it. Practise as much as you need to to make the routine perfect, then take a day or two off before the actual competition to allow your body to rest.

9. Have your routine set and ready at least 2 weeks before the competition. Choreograph your routine to your satisfaction, then just practise it. Ideally, you should make no changes for 3-4 weeks before a comp, however usually most competitors go for 2, especially at an amateur level, as you may learn and perfect a new move in the month before the comp which must go in your routine.

10. ENJOY YOURSELF. Enter a competition for yourself, not for the win. Do it because you love pole and you want a chance to put a routine together and show the world how good you are. Don’t ever let yourself be pressured into it, and don’t do it for anyone but yourself. At the end of the day, you know if you like performing, and nobody can or should tell you to or not to.

Aaaand just because I haven’t put this in, and just thought of it:

10.1. Enter the correct category for you. If you are in-between beginner and intermediate, enter whichever one suits the moves you enjoy performing. If you like spins, transitions between poles and upright pretty moves, beginner is probably more up your street. However, if you enjoy inverts way too much to perform for a whole 3 minutes without them, enter intermediate. But also know the difference between advanced and intermediate, as there is a massive jump between the categories.

Pole Fitness Training: The Way I See It.

I’m a competitive pole dancer, and although I’m still at the beginning stages of my journey as a competitor, I believe that over the last year and a half, I have gathered enough information to begin writing on how to train for pole generally. You do not have to have any desire to compete to follow my training methods whatsoever! You just need a passion for pole!

5 Questions Asked by New Pole Dancers (0-6 months training)

  1. How many times do you train/How many times should I train per week?

The answer to this question is simple: Listen to your body! If you went to class yesterday and your shoulder is aching, or you can’t sit up properly without feeling it somewhere, take a rest day. I started out going to regular classes once a week, then increased this to twice after about 2 months. After 3 months, I began going to regular training sessions twice a week, then after 6 months I bought my own pole for home use. Now, after 21 months of pole, I attend 2 classes per week, and up to 12 hours extra training outside this.

2.  How many classes should I attend per week?

This question is one that annoys me, because so many people assume that by attending as many lessons as possible, they will immediately be better than everyone. Pole does not work like this! You should do no more than 3-4 taught lessons per week for the simple reason that you’re never going to remember anything if you do too much. Your instructor may teach you a basic pole sit, but just because you can take your hands off for 2 seconds, doesn’t mean you’re ready to go for a superwoman sit on. Everything needs refining before learning the next move. Good instructors will see this and tell you to carry on practising something you’re struggling with before moving on to the next thing.

3.  When/How do I start to lose weight in pole?

There is no solid answer to this question, as this is down to you, your body, your diet and your personal exercise plan. Because my body was average size to begin with, I did not notice myself losing weight for around 6 months. However, this was also when I started to change my eating habits and going to pole training more regularly for longer periods of time. The answer to how is that you eat right and train right; listen to your body, it knows when you can carry on and when you need a day off. It also will let you know when your eating is good, because you’ll be able to train longer thanks to the increase in energy.

4.  What should I be eating to be able to pole to the best of my ability?

Again, this is to do with your own body. What I did was went to my doctor, told him how much I was training, how much I intended to train and he laid out a set of dietary requirements for the amount of strength work I was doing. My personal recommendations would be to avoid saturated fats where you can, and remember that not all carbohydrates are bad for you; if you eat brown bread, rice and pasta with your meals as opposed to white, they will convert straight to energy and you will feel a lot fitter. You do not need to eat salad everyday if you don’t want to, you can take a small-medium size helping of spaghetti bolognese made with brown spaghetti and low fat mince meat.

5.  I keep losing my grip, what should I do?

Look around you, you have just begun and so has everyone in your class- you are ALL losing grip in some moves! This is due to you not having refined your grip strength yet. Keep practising, and a good method to naturally give you grip is to ball up your fingers, then shoot them out with as much power as you can and repeat this until it begins to hurt. Do this once a day and those finger muscles will improve drastically. However, if you are still experiencing difficulty, try out different grips- Everything Pole Dancing offer a 5 sample pack of different ones, or try some of your friends’ if you only want to buy once you’ve tried.

I Won University Pole Stars 2015!

On March 15th, 2015, I competed in University Pole Stars Competition. I had been preparing my routine for about 6 weeks in advance, and had decided on the song “Stay the Night” by Zedd and Hayley Williams. My routine incorporated a bit of break dance, as well as many strength moves and even a couple of flexibility moves; I managed to wangle a baby-freeze and some splits into my floorwork! I also used one of my favourite flexibility moves to end the performance- the Spider Spring (although I did slip out of this slightly)!

The competition itself was well put together, with the level of competitors being quite a bit higher than my last competition. However, I was confident in myself that I could pull out a great performance, regardless of whether or not I won. The day was incredible and winning made it all the more exciting and fun! We had pizza and after party drinks at Revolution to celebrate before going home to a nice warm bed. Once some pictures have been uploaded, etc. I will write a full review of the day, but for now, here is my winning routine!!

On Saturday 14th February, Lufbra Bomb Squad went to Newcastle for the annual university break dance competition. We were up and ready for 9am, and had set off from the union by 9.15. The coach there was very interesting, with Frozen’s Let It Go being sung at the top of our lungs and lots banter!

When we arrived, we all started to get hyped up with cyphers and crazy dance moves. The atmosphere was excellent, as everybody was in a happy dance mood, so there was no competitive vibe, just a lot of fun! One of our society members recorded us the entire day, as many cyphers broke out with explosive moves, funky footwork and some fabulous top-rock. This was all put into a music video set to the song “Uptown Funk” which is an incredibly popular song at the moment. This we are putting on the screens in our students’ union for promotional material.

For our crew battle, we were against the Battalions, the reigning champions who have won almost every year since the competition began. However, we powered through and worked really well as a crew, tagging in all the members so everybody managed to perform their set. We even included a duet from Mortimer and Max, two of our more advanced b-boys, as well as cool transitions such as Olusola lifting me off the floor at the end of my set, holding me in a pose then rolling me down and doing a forwards roll into his set. These transitions were particularly fun and crowd-pleasing! Tammy managed to get quite a crowd reaction with her threading move which she is very proud of. Hovis performed a back somersault, as well as a handspring which impressed the judges massively, as he came out of them smoothly and carried on dancing straight away. Unfortunately, we were eliminated in that first round, however we were extremely proud of ourselves and the battle video looked awesome! Everyone loved us as a crew and to be honest, we had so much fun and did not go in with the intention of winning anyway.

After this, because it was Valentine’s Day, Olu and I went to Frankie and Benny’s for a romantic meal before getting the bus home.

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