Scary tricks . . . how to beat them at their own game
There are certain tricks that seem to freak dancers out at first. It’s totally understandable, because each of these tricks has a significant element of danger. 🙂 I’m talking about the cross leg release, basic invert, butterfly, and aysha. Comment below if there are others you’ve gotten wigged out about!
In the meantime, let’s talk about the ones referenced above. The cross leg release, basic invert, and butterfly can all be practiced from the floor, with little danger of falling on your head, and almost no danger of slipping off the pole. So when I teach these moves, I teach them from the ground up. And aysha–well, aysha has its own set of tips for a safe first try, including some things you can practice while standing!
This week I’ll talk about the cross leg release
In subsequent weeks I’ll tackle the other moves mentioned.
Can you do a elbowstand against the pole? Next time, bring your legs past the pole and down toward your back/the floor. Cross them over and feel them grip the pole. Turn your knees inward and really engage those inner thighs, then clench your butt. CLENCH IT. Now see if you can bear any weight there by allowing your elbows to disengage slightly. Are you holding yourself up? Yeehaw! Keep at it until the grip is so secure and locked in that you can do crunches while in that position. Then you’ll know you have the strength to get down–and back up! No grip, no lock, no hold? Then keep trying, testing the pole in different positions on the legs, testing your muscle engagement. For me, the sweet spot is pretty high on my inner thighs. I’ve seen other dancers with the pole more toward mid-inner-thigh. Everybody is different . . . and every body is different. The point is that if you’re working on a move from the floor, you can play with different positions and not worry about being dropped on your head.
If you aren’t comfortable doing an elbowstand on the pole, you can still practice the beginning engagement needed for the cross leg release. Lie on the ground (I recommend tucking a pillow under your head for this one) and get your butt close to the pole, with a leg on either side. Slide your butt up so your lower back is against the pole. Grab the pole, thumbs up, underneath your bum and use it to hold you in place while you position your legs. Once you feel like your legs are locked into place and are holding you, let go with your hands and arch your back as much as you’re comfortable doing. Ideally, you should be able to stay in that position on the pole.
Learning a new inverted trick can be scary business, but it doesn’t have to be!