A Tale of Two Pole Mounts
There is so much discussion about the names of pole moves. One studio’s gemini is another studio’s scorpio. Am I doing a Tammy or an inverted thigh hold (note: in this case they’re the same thing!). Is this called a fireman spin, or a firefly spin? A dis-locator, or a reverse grab?
The truth is, since we are part of a growing and evolving world, there will always been different names for the same moves . . . or different moves that have the same name depending on what studio you’re at.
The following post isn’t intended to make dancers feel like they nay not know what they’re doing. Pole dance in ANY form and by ANY name, is an accomplishment.
Once upon a time there were two basic ways to go into an aysha from the floor. One was called a cartwheel, and the other was known as a handspring. Over time, these two names have morphed, and it seems that most studios and dancers use a single name – handspring – for any move that begins on the floor and lifts or sweeps up into an aysha.
But it’s interesting (to me, at least!) to know that they are really two very different mounts onto the pole. And if you think about it from the perspective of gymnastics moves, the names make total sense! Note: I’ve also seen the cartwheel referred to as a cartwheel handspring, and a handspring called a front mount handspring.
Let’s start with the cartwheel mount: to do a cartwheel into an aysha/straightedge/jackknife, the dancer stands behind pole, facing toward the pole with the inside gripping at about head height. Outside hand may begin on or off the pole, though often you’ll see it coming down to grip the pole as the inside leg sweeps upward. The dancer’s head and chest go down toward the ground, still facing the pole as the inside leg sweeps behind the body, and UP carrying the hips up as well. As the hips go up the body twists so the chest is now facing upward in the final position.
Now think about how you execute a cartwheel on the ground. You put one hand down onto the ground as your head follows that hand down toward the ground. Your opposite leg sweeps up and behind you into a straddle, and at one point your body is in a full straddle with both hands on the ground. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely see how this translated into being called a cartwheel mount onto the pole.
Then there’s the handspring mount. For this one, the dancer ends up to the front of the pole and the chest never faces downward; it is always toward the ceiling. Once again the move can begin with both hands on the pole. More often you’ll see it with one hand (in this case the outside) on the pole – the other reaches down to grip the pole as the legs sweep up. Now about those legs. In the cartwheel mount, the sweep is behind the body and it initiates with the inside leg. In the handspring mount, the legs sweep forward, initiated by the outside leg (usually).
Funny side note: I had a really difficult time finding a video of a true handspring as I know it because almost all of the videos titled “handspring” were really what I’d consider to be cartwheel mounts. 😉
To see the differences one right after another, check out 0:44 to 1:05 in this video from Veena at Studio Veena. CLICK HERE TO GO TO YOUTUBE
The handspring is similar to a back handspring in gymnastics. Head goes back and down instead of forward and down, and chest opens upward rather than diving downward.
Does any of this make a difference in how the actual trick is executed? Of course not. But it can make a difference if you’re trying to instruct someone, or if you’re trying to describe which one of these moves you prefer in order to get to your aysha. Food for thought, that’s all!