BEYOND THE VERTICAL OBJECT

BEYOND THE VERTICAL OBJECT

CRYSTAL BELCHER  |  POLE AND DANCE ARTIST



CHOREOGRAPHING

THOUGHTS AND INSPIRATIONS — What do you want the audience to take away from the performance or what do you want to say with this performance.
STEPS IN ORDER TO CONSTRUCT — It’s a multi-layered process. It can be about bringing a costume to life, the movement of a song, taking a vision or character and developing it. It could be watching TV, watching life pass you by or simply a move on or around the pole. From there you consider if the performance is an exhibition or competition. Although every move should be calculated and done with a message, when competing certain things have to be considered and methodically done. We then configure tricks with shapes and transitions that create conversation and pause.
MATERIAL TO ENRICH — I have a background in various dance styles, competitive cheer and co-ed sports, but I am very much a visual learner. I use my athletic background for endurance and strength training. I use my different dance training to mix on and off the pole. And for any new tricks or transitions I get inspired by movement in class or play and video postings.
CONTORTION, POWER OR LYRICISM — There is space for each. I really try to find how each dynamic compliments the track and purpose of the piece. I  am not the most flexible or powerful performer, but I compensate by finding a peculiar way to move with the words and melody. By using speed, strength, flexibility and transition, onlookers can be forgiving and appreciative of your capabilities and flaws.


PERFORMING

WAY TO CAPTURE AND AMAZE — I transform. Whatever my character calls for, I exude that beyond expectation. The character transformation begins as you enter the venue and doesn’t conclude until I return to the wings following the performance. I am engulfed in my piece until I let it go completely. I want to truly take my audience on a journey and leave them with a lasting impression. The only way that can be done is by believing in and walking as your character would.
AUDIENCE'S NEEDS — An experience. They need to be taken on a ride where they can relive a moment, be introduced to another world, emotionally captivated, be angered or even made uncomfortable. Ultimately you want them to feel SOMEthing.
AUDIENCE'S EXPECTATION — A show. When an audience invests in a show they want to be entertained. Whether they cry, smile, laugh or sigh with googly eyes, it is the performer’s obligation to make them feel.


POLE

IT IS — In it’s technical form it is dance artistry with a stabilized, vertical object. But beyond that it is aerial Art in motion meant to evoke emotions of all kinds, while pushing the limits of physical feats.
IN CONTEMPORARY LIFE — It’s taboo, political and misunderstood, but so was cheerleading in its evolution. It’s becoming more mainstream and gradually we are forcing the world to understand the many faces of pole. It’s not always raunchy or distasteful, then again there’s space for that as well. But it is also inspirational, healing, innovative, expressive, challenging and empowering. It is everything you associate with art; daring, revolutionary, rebellious, therapeutic, peaceful, majestic and universal.
BENEFITS — A great extension of cross-training. Continues to challenge the body in areas that may not be utilized by dancing alone. But it also has every use of the foundation of dance. Poise, extension, intention, continuity and transition are vital pieces when performing on, off and around the pole. If a dancer never loses their foundation, their growth in pole can be a remarkable journey.
ENHANCE YOUR MOVEMENT — There’s no step-by-step guide to what you should do when you’ve reached an extreme level of pole. The first step is to step away and venture out to other forms of fitness. Dance, yoga, gymnastics, silks, lyra, rope and trapeze are complimentary regimes to pole. But I would even challenge these athletes to engage in other exercises such as flag football, interval training, water sports, winter activities, theater, etc. There’s so many other things in the world that can push you physically and mentally, so that your pole performances can be even more dynamic and innovative.
STUDENTS' COMMON FEATURE — The most common comment after a workshop or class has been, “I never thought to do that.” After a trick or transition has been mastered we don’t allot enough time to tell our pupils that there are exceptions to the rule. We have to make space for choreography, improvisation and/or transitional classes so we don’t hinder the holistic growth of our students and instructors. Why limit ourselves to just one picture rather than working towards creating a greater work of art. Relating the physical, emotional and theatrical aspects of a performance truly makes for a beautiful piece.
POLE CHALLENGE THIS FAR  — Creative block & individuality. I’m that type of personality that if I am not inspired by a song, movement or concept, then it is extremely difficult to create. I literally won’t move or a combination just won’t stick.  It’s not for choreographing others, it’s always about my own creations. It could definitely be due to an overwhelming schedule, but mainly because I simply am unable to envision a story and purpose for movement.  I want to always be methodical and intentional but I want to be “me” while doing so. I need to always leave a piece of myself on the stage and in the hearts and minds of my audience.
5 YEARS AFTER — I would love to continue teaching and performing locally and across the world because I have so much to share and give. I also want to continue hosting and creating events to acknowledge and showcase the many performers that the aerial world has to offer.

Follow the LINK to read more about CRYSTAL BELCHER.

Photos by Crystal's on-line collection