*Update: I have created a new version of this blog! Click here to see the Old School Pole Dance inspiration that you need for 2023*
A bit of healthy nostalgia for all polers!
One of the things that I love about being a part of the pole dance community is the opportunity for discussion and debate about pole dancing itself through social media and other blogs. But today, no smart insights from me or intellectualism; I want to share with you some of (in my opinion only) the best ‘old school’ pole dance videos!
Obviously there are too many great pole dance performances to count; here are just 6 of my favourite ones.
As you all know I’ve been poling since 2006 (YouTube was a new thing and it was a while before Instagram was invented), and a LOT has changed since then. The purpose of today’s blog is to look back fondly on some breath-taking performances from other professional pole dancers, to appreciate their awesomeness and to appreciate how much pole dancing has developed in a relatively short time.
If you are just starting out on your own pole dancing journey, these videos will hopefully inspire and help you to put into context just how rapidly pole dancing is developing and changing from a technical point of view. As always, it’s so important to remember that your own pace is the perfect pace; whenever you feel overwhelmed by the amount bad ass of pole dancing you see on social media (or even within your own pole dance class), just remember that time will pass and you too will progress.
Anyways, less talking from me, more pole dancing! Here we go:
Felix Cane ‘Miss Pole Dance Australia 2008’
This is STILL one of my favourite pole dance videos of all time. Felix Cane was the first pole dancer to make the internet explode back in 2006; you can see why in her winning performance from 2008 above. What I love about this performance is how fluid and refined her movement is (those legs!!!) and how she owns the stage. I wanted to learn how to do the splits so badly having seen this video, especially for that split drop at 1:14! I also remember being taken aback by her tiny bikini bottoms (bikinis were not allowed in Irish competitions at that time!)! Aaah how times have changed.
Karol Helms ‘USPDF 2009 East Coast – Optional Round’
Karol Helms is one of the first pioneers of YouTube pole dancing. She became famous for sharing her videos of herself practicing on her pole in her home and inventing kick-ass transitions and tricks, like the superman drop (if you’re old enough to remember, back then she was known as ‘redke71’). In this video above, you can see Karol executing some timeless old school tricks such as the side climb, teddy bear and knee hold. Note the 50mm poles (thank goodness times have changed). How badass is that chopper straight into a hiphold though?! It was mind-blowing back then, and still awesome today. I still want to be Karol Helms when I grow up!
Allegra ‘World Pole Dance Championships 2010 – Preliminary Round’
Allegra (another ‘Miss Pole Dance Australia’ winner) is known for her theatricality and massive stage presence. I was competing against Allegra in the same preliminary round as shown in the video above; I was terrified and honoured at the same time! And you can see why I was terrified; look at how she commands the stage and entertains! Props, multi-layered costume, glitter cannon, rock music, original tricks (check out her signature trick the ‘Angry Angel’ at 1:05); Allegra has it all! And yes, she did invent the ‘Allegra’ pole trick that you might be familiar with in our advanced level class.
Marion Crampe ‘Pole Art 2010 Guest Performance’
Marion Crampe is best known for her superhuman flexibility and for being one of the most famous pole dancers in the world. Here’s a video of Marion from 2010, just as she was rising to fame. What I love about this video is the pure joy of performance that comes across from Marion; it’s truly magnetic! It also reminds me about how important it is to find enjoyment in the moment while training or dancing on the pole, instead of beating myself up for not being strong enough / flexible enough / perfect enough, etc., etc…
Amber Ray ‘Miss Pole Dance Australia 2012’
Amber Ray is an old school poler who’s been around as long as I have, and in my opinion she is massively underrated. I used to stalk her videos back when she was an instructor at Bobbi’s in Australia, and then made it my business to get to know her and learn from her when she briefly lived in Milan in 2010. What I loved, and still love, about this performance is the raw sensuality and theatricality for theatricality’s sake. Not to mention the great balance of strength and flexibility tricks, and the attention to detail with transitions (which is my most favourite thing about Amber Ray’s style).
Alethea Austin ‘USPDF 2012 – Pro Optional Round’
This is my favourite pole dance video of all time. I’m obviously a massive fan of Alethea Austin, who is one of the pioneers of sexy pole dance and made it accessible for many normal folks across the world (like me). For me this performance has everything that a pole dance piece should have: great strength tricks and flexibility tricks, well-measured flowing floorwork, transitions and dancing, stunning costume, musicality and a coherent storyline / message delivered with authenticity. It’s a beautiful and memorable performance that didn’t need to win the competition, and has surely stood the test of time.
Feeling inspired? Let me know which performance you enjoyed the most over on our Facebook Member’s Only Group!