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Tips for Nailing Your Exotic (Pole) Dreams

By on February 25, 2017

One of the great joys of pole is the diversity in style available to dancers. There’s something for everyone, whether you are seeking out the gymnastic power moves, or the floaty, ballerina flow of spins, and more. It seems though, that the most elusive style to nail is exotic. Which might seem funny, considering that it’s arguably a style that attracts a huge number of newbies to the community, and is also the source of some of our most controversial labels from the outside world.

Exotic is more than just ass-claps and heels, but on the flip side, one cannot expect to nail exotic by simply strapping on some heels and doing their same ol’ stuff. As a style, Exotic can encompass a lot of things: the bendy, fluid flow of Bad Kitty Ambassador Sarah Jade, the take-no-prisoners sass of Jordan Kensley, the Russian-style heel mastery of Daria Che, the classic stripper-style of Annemarie Davies, and more. There is a lot to explore, and technique is a huge part of it!

Sarah Jade - Pole Show LA 2015 - Photo by Alloy Images

BK Ambassador Sarah Jade – Pole Show LA 2015 – Photo by Alloy Images

One tip for dipping a toe – or heel – into the exotic waters is to do your research. Watch videos online to look for styles you vibe with; bring those videos into your pole time. It’s important to participate in this kind of learning and mimicry, to begin to build the strength, skill, and muscle memory needed to do exotic pole work, and to introduce yourself to the general world of exotic. You’ll get a chance to explore, as well as a chance to find what you styles you like visually, and what feels good to you. If you’re comfortable with it, tape your explorations – watching yourself can be an invaluable learning experience, too!

In addition to doing your research and independent work, be sure to seek out instructors to get help on mastering things that are tough for you. Technique is vital for solid exotic work, no matter what style. Sign up for an exotic-styled class in your area, or book a private for specialized attention outside of a class setting. Not in an area with exotic instructors? You can wait to snap up workshop offerings from traveling polers, or – even better – book Skype lessons. One of the best heels lessons I ever had was during a workshop with Rachele Ribera, and guess what? She offers lessons over Skype!


BK Brand Ambassador Tiff FInney. Photo by Pammie Cameron Photography.

Beyond all of this more technical advice, there’s also the issue of authenticity. I’ve written a lot over the years about finding what is yours to do in the pole world, and exotic is no different. To be clear: mimicry will only get you so far. You must work to develop your authentic voice as a poler, even in exotic styles. That will mean trying on different styles, learning different techniques, and then taking all of that and distilling it into your own movement. And your sexy will not look exactly like someone else’s sexy. Don’t try to be Alethea. There’s only one of her, and she’s really, really good at being her. Why would you want to try to compare?

When you try to do what others do, instead of moving authentically as you, people see it. They may not know how to articulate what they are seeing, but it reads false, or just…off. Like you’re thinking too much, or trying too hard. And, it fails to be truly sexy. You have to be you, and move like you, and express YOU. Mimicking cannot do that for you. It can help teach you the technique and give you the tools, but that extra step? That comes from giving yourself the space to be vulnerable and fail. To try things that maybe won’t always work. To watch your own videos and be honest in your self-critique (without being cruel to yourself for no reason).

BK Ambassador Sergia Louise Anderson. Photo by Alloy Images

BK Ambassador Sergia Louise Anderson. Photo by Alloy Images

One of the best ways to discover that authentic movement for yourself is to freestyle. I’ve written before about the magic that happens when you commit to freestyle – especially when using guided prompts/techniques to explore – and exotic is not exempt from it. Freestyle can help you build a trust in your body and what it can do. And trust? Trust unlocks confidence. And exotic? It’s rooted in confidence. Not only confidence in technique, but confidence in one’s authentic self.

Jordan Kensley - Photo by Alloy Images

Jordan Kensley – Photo by Alloy Images

Danielle C.

Danielle C.

Creative entity, cat mom, dog auntie, consumer of too much sugar. Pole and lyra enthusiast, amateur foodie, local explorer. One half of Poleitical Clothing. Read my musings at
Danielle C.

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