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How to create your concept

Updated: May 7, 2023

Are you thinking about competing in the near future or would you like to perform in a live show eventually? The best way to make your pole or aerial routine memorable for the audience is to have a strong concept, something different from everyone else. Not to brag, but I think building a good character and concept is my forte. My technique might not be perfect and my toes aren't always pointed, but people remember my acts because it's different. Obviously there is no magic formula to creativity and everybody's brain creates differently, but here are a few questions you should ask yourself at the beginning and during the building of your choreography.


First of all, remember that you're gonna be listening to the same song over and over again for a few weeks. Pick a song that you like and that you don't mind playing in a loop, because by the end of the process you won't wanna hear it ever again.

Secondly, I strongly suggest that you choose a song with a lot of variation in the rythm and in the intonation. Not only will it be easier for you to find your skeleton of a choreo -for example you do a drop when the music starts to be more agressive, or you do your floorwork part when the music slows down- but it will also be more interesting for your audience if the beat switches and leave them on the edge of their seat the whole time.

Repetitive beats are nice when you're freestyling because you know what's coming but it can get boring if it's for a more complexe piece.


I'm not talking about your costume or what you look like. Are you impersonating a human being, an animal, a fictional character, an element? Even if it's just for you, you need to know who your character is. This will guide your every movement. And it's not about the tricks or combos you're gonna do, but everything in between. The way your arms move. The way you walk from one pole to the other.

A baby wouldn't move the same way that a wrestling champion does. And Spiderman won't move the same way that the Wicked Witch of the West does. You need to think and analyse the way your character would move in every situation. And repeatedly ask yourself "how would X move their hands in this transition?".


Emotions. Plural. There should be a build up in the feelings you're trying to express to your audience.

You shouldn't just be "sad". Maybe at the beginning you discover something that makes you sad. Then you process that sadness, maybe by being angry or by withdrawing into yourself. But by the end of your act you have overcome that sad feeling and you are at peace with this new reality.

And the same way, you can't just be "happy". Show us what makes you happy. Is there a moment in the music where you sense that you could act like the happiness is leaving? Your character needs to find a way to retrieve that happiness before the end of the show.

I personally rely a lot of the fluctuations in the melody to guide me with these. If there's a breakdown in the music, my character uses this precise moment to reflect on the situation and become a better version of itself.


But only if it's necessary. If your prop is a random object that you hold in your hand for 3 seconds at the beginning of the choreo and never go back to it... Don't use it. I love props, but only if they're used wisely.

Props should tell the audience who your character is (so go back to the previous section if it's unclear) and it should be useful in your routine. A prop is basically an actor you're playing with. It's a secondary character that helps your main character (you) develop the previously stated emotional build up.


Now that you know who you are and what's happening, what do you do? What combos do you wanna display and what floorwork moves should you integrate?

That is obviously personnal and it also depends on the level you're at (if competing). But here are a few pointers I would keep in the back of my mind while constructing the whole routine.

Use moves your body feels good in. Sometimes there's a move that you nailed the first time you tried it and your body was like yes that feels good (in a weird way). Those are the moves you should prioritize. Obviously if you wanna challenge yourself you can choose a few harder moves that you'll be very proud to have worked on. But this is your time to shine, make sure you display your biggest talents.

But then once again, don't forget that even though you are the one performing, your character is the one we wanna see. So make sure your moves fit the idea of the story. Would a mad scientist really do the splits? Or would a business person jump all over the place? Make it make sense.

I hope this helps you figure out a little more how to create a strong concept for a pole or aerial routine. If you're not sure your choreography fits the character or story, don't be afraid to ask your friends or coaches to watch you and tell you what they think you're trying to show. An outside view can help a lot when you're feeling stuck.

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