Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Pole Journey so far: How to prepare for a pole photoshoot

I was looking at my first professionally take pole pictures and just realised about one and a half years has passed. I can't remember exactly when I took up pole dancing but judging from my first post about pole it has been about more than 2 years. Oh my, how time has passed. In these two years, I have become slightly more flexible on my back, shoulders and even though I still don't have my splits, I am much closer to the floor then I was before. It will probably take me years but I will take my time. I am very sure I am much stronger, although I can't do a proper pull up on the horizontal bar, if I placed my hands differently, I can manage three pull ups.

Pole now is both motivating and depressing for me. Tricks are getting so difficult now that I can almost never master the new tricks I have been taught. It is depressing because I see all my classmates nailing stuff while I struggle. Even though I keep telling myself it is not a competition and I will go at my own pace, my heart cries a little when I fail. So now my goal is to gain upper body strength especially in my arms and repeat my levels until I'm confident and look better at my poses. I'll still work on my nemesis moves and one day perhaps I'll get them. Oh yes, I'm taking up Spinning Pole which terrifies me till no end because spinning uncontrollably on a pole is scary and dizzying. I honestly fear I'll be the first person ever to throw up in the studio.

Anyway these pictures taken by Justin Tran is my way of documenting my pole progress. Hopefully in another year, I can show off my handspring, Jade and Allegra. Your pole photographer is very important. Although Justin has taken many pictures of famous pole celebrities, he still makes me feel safe and comfortable. For noobs like me, it can be terrifying because I know I can never match up to the pros. He guides me and helps me to get my best pole shot.

After my first photo shoot, I kinda knew what to expect. In order to prepare for this one, I stepped up on my fitness programme and watched what I ate more consciously. I realise that simple pole poses especially those showing the face look nicest and even though they might not be the most difficult of moves, your expression matters a lot. I looked through many pole poses and selected the few I wanted and started practising them by making sure I could hold the poses for more than a few seconds. These photoshoots are tiring business because you have to hold the pose till the photographer gets the perfect shot. I was lucky to have partnered another friend so we took turns to rest in between. My friend also helped spot me, turn me to the right direction and fixed my leg positions and hair. Thank you Joanne!

The pole spins in order for the photographer to turn you into the right position. For noobs like me that can be very scary because I am used to static poles. I used a lot of tack to ensure that I had grippy hands and would not slide. I also practised in the costume and heels I wanted to wear just to make sure that there would not be any wardrobe malfunctions if you know what I mean.

My first pose was the most difficult, tiring and scary one for me. It is called the Extended Butterfly. Even though I learned this more than a year ago, I only managed to nail this trick a few month back. The pole was moving so it made it harder for me to hold the pose for long so pardon the constipated face.

This is called the Dragon. Another trick I learned one and a half years ago but did not try to attempt because of my then inflexible back and shoulders. I could not do without cussing and the help of a friend to wrap my bottom hand onto the pole. 

This is a variation of a handstand.

And finally a split hand grip.

The best part I think was when Justin said that he thought I had improved from the last time we met, I was so pleased.

I am already thinking of what poses to work on for my next photoshoot. I would have at least another year to work on them.


  1. Hey Jacqueline, I've seen these on IG and I am still SO amazed! I get what you mean by feeling frustrated tho. I am definitely always one of the slower ones in any kind of dancing class as well ;) I think the photos turned out really really well. The second one is my personal favorite!

    1. Thank you Sunny. I was actually having a fever on the day of the shoot so I was keeping my fingers crossed. I love the second picture too :)


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