So… I’m sure we have all experienced a ‘pole fail’ in our lives. But, how should we deal with these?

Here is my advice on dealing with three common ‘pole fails’:

‘Fail’ #1: Falling Off The Pole

Whether you are in class, on stage, or at home, falling off the pole is always scary, unnerving, and can put a dent in your confidence. However, the best thing you can do to recover from this ‘fail’ is just to get ‘back on the horse’ – if you put off revisiting that trick, or performing, you will only get more anxious and keep putting it off, which will deepen the uncertainty. (Disclaimer: Obviously, if you injure yourself, it is important to find out how and why, and take care of yourself going forward.)

If it was a specific pole trick you fell out off, get your instructor to put down some mats and spot you to rebuild your confidence in the move. If you fell whilst on stage why not invite some of your pole friends to watch you dance in the studio? This will boost your morale, get you back into the zone and be a lot of fun too.

Most importantly (and this is a key concept for this WHOLE blog) ask yourself one question…

“Is this a ‘fail’, or feedback?”

I hate the negative associations that lie in the word ‘fail’, that is why I keep putting it in apostrophes! So, if it isn’t a ‘fail’ then what has this situation taught you? Well, if you fell out of a trick use it as an opportunity to learn about safe practice in that move – What happened? Was it a grip issue? Was your technique not quite right? If you slipped on stage what can you do to help it from happening in future? Perhaps road test different types of grip, or use hypnosis techniques to help mitigate stage fright.


‘Fail’ #2: Forgetting Your Choreography

So, you are either about to go on stage, or you are half way through your routine, and BAM – your mind goes blank and you cannot remember any of your choreography. Recovering from this ‘fail’ is more about the prep work you put in before you step on that stage, rather than what you do after the event.

It is important to work on your tricks and your routine, but take time to practice your freestyle too. The more confident in your freestyle you are, the easier you will find it to deal with the ‘mind blank’ scenario. If you forget your choreography, you can fill in the routine with free style until you remember where to pick up the moves from. Free styling is like any other skill, it can be learned. If you are a bit crap to begin with, don’t worry about it! Keep practicing and you will find bits of flow and combos of moves that feel good for your body, and that you can rely on if you ever need to freestyle during a performance.

Another technique that you should practice regularly in the run up to any performance or competition is visualisation – visulisations helps to improve your muscle memory, and makes you far less likely to forget your moves in the future.

And remember, if this ever does happen, or has happened – ask yourself this question again…

“Is this a ‘fail’, or feedback?”

Messing up your choreography isn’t a failure, it happens to the best of us. Just realise that every routine gives you a little bit of feedback on how you can improve and advance your skills as a dancer, performer and entertainer. What can you do to get better? If something isn’t perfect it doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you have things to work on.


‘Fail’ #3: Never Getting THAT Move

We all have a nemesis move – for me it is a split grip mermaid. I can do various other split grip based moves, but for the life of me I cannot hold myself out in order to aerial body wave. This drives me MAD because I LOVE this move! However, sometimes you just have to accept that there will be certain moves you may never get, or may take you three or four times as long as everyone else you are learning with.

I want you to ask yourself this question one last time…

“Is this a ‘fail’, or feedback?”

Is it a fail if you really struggle to shoulder mount or flip or fonji? No. However, it can be used as feedback! Whilst you shouldn’t necessarily neglect these nemesis moves, you can also understand that you will always excell at certain things and not others. For example, I am really great at hairography, knee hang tricks, and performance. This doesn’t mean that I will stop working on the tricks that I find especially difficult, but it also means that I can focus on those areas that I am naturally good at. See, it is not a failure for me to potentially never do an aerial mermaid, because there’s loads of other things I’m good at. You will be exactly the same!



What do all of these experiences have in common? None of them are actual ‘fails’! Life is not a binary ‘win or lose’ scenario, so don’t beat yourself up if things go wrong now and then – after all, success is not the absence of failure, everyone needs to ‘fail’ at times in order to progress and to grow, and to succeed. You get to use these experiences to become better pole dancers, performers and students. Understand? Good!