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Defining Characteristics of Russian Exotic

By on June 26, 2018

Eva Bembo- The originator of Russian Exotic. Photo by Markin Mikhail

The phrases “Russian Exotic” or “Russian style” evoke images of a very specific type of pole dance. The mind immediately jumps to the graceful slinkiness of Eva Bembo, Olga Koda, Daria Che, and others. But what, exactly, makes a dance Russian Exotic and how is Russian Exotic different from other styles of pole dance? Trying to nail down what makes a dance “Russian Exotic” is a bit like trying to nail down what makes something hip hop or what makes a dance contemporary; you know it when you see it, but it isn’t necessarily easy to put into words. While it’s impossible to pinpoint precisely what makes this style so hypnotically distinctive, this article explores some of the most common elements of Russian Exotic dancing.

Heels, Heels, and More Heels

While any style of dance, including Russian Exotic, can be performed without heels, Russian Exotic is typically performed with heels in order to enhance the full effects of the dance. In addition to adding to the overall sexy vibe of the style, heels facilitate the picturesque long lines associated with Russian Exotic style dancing. The heels also serve a practical purpose, allowing the dancer to slide along the tops of their feet, making a number of transitions much smoother (and less painful!) to perform.

All About That Flow

Olga Koda photo by Anna Drobina

Unlike some other forms of pole dance, Russian Exotic puts less emphasis on high flying tricks and instead places greater value on low flow, floor work, and base work. Of course, this doesn’t mean that tricks are totally absent from the dancing- they’re still there, they just aren’t the main focus in this style. Also, just because Russian Exotic isn’t as focused on traditional tricks as other styles, don’t for a minute think that Russian Exotic is an easier style of dancing. On the contrary, Russian Exotic takes enormous strength, flexibility, body control, and technique.

Daria Che photo by Ilya Doronin

Seamless Transitions

A huge part of what makes Russian Exotic so hypnotizing for the audience is the way the moves all seem to melt together. Direction changes, transitions from up the pole to floor work, and transitions from the floor to standing can occur without any obvious starting or stopping. Rolls, threading, and flexibility moves are common in Russian style transitions, making the transitions seem like tricks in and of themselves.

Well Placed Power and Control

The slinky flow of dance movements and tricks isn’t the only thing that makes Russian Exotic so distinctive. Russian style dancing is also known for well-timed dynamic power moves. Windmill kicks, kips, a quick slide along the tops of the feet, or an abrupt directional change keeps the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats. This masterful interplay between flowing transitions and powerful bursts makes Russian Exotic stand out from other styles.

All styles of pole dancing require superior body control. However, Russian Exotic puts that body control on exquisite display. Isolation movements are used to achieve perfect body waves, long lines and full extensions highlight flexibility in this style. Russian Exotic is inherently sensual without featuring the grinding or other more explicit staples associated with more erotic forms of pole dancing.

Photo by Matroskin Art

No style of dance is static. Part of the beauty of dance is that it constantly evolves with the times and is constantly in a state of flux. Eva Bembo made Russian Exotic a mainstream/well recognized style of pole dancing in the early 2010s. Since that time, Russian Exotic has caught on in Australia, the United States, and around the pole dance world. The style has gained such popularity that many studios devote classes strictly to Russian Exotic, and a handful of studios are dedicated entirely to the style. While the moves and combinations may changes as new dancers seek to push the envelope and expand on the foundations laid by their predecessors, the soul and defining characteristics of what makes a dance Russian Exotic remain the same.

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Jaci Tipton

Jaci Tipton

Jaci spends her days as an attorney based in Columbus, Ohio. When she isn't working she can be found training with her pole family, preparing for her next marathon, or cuddling with her fur kids.
Jaci Tipton

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