Who is it for?: Varying levels of pole student, serious pole enthusiasts and Instructors.
Beginner DVD = Beginner-Intermediate students.
Intermediate DVD=Intermediate-Advanced Students & Material for instructors to improve the look of their moves.
Advanced DVD = Serious pole enthusiasts or Instructors, not for students.
Costs: £14 each, or £40 for all 3 at once.
Candy & Chrome Rating: *****
5 out of 5 stars – Excellent, but may be a bit advanced for some.
The warm up on this DVD does not include a brief aerobic exercise routine prior to stretching, although Tracey DOES explain that it is important to do this beforehand. Tracey starts her warm up with pre-pole stretches, and shows you have to execute them properly. Her instruction is very clear, her demonstrations are very clean, systematic and sensible. Tracey starts at the top and works down to the bottom of the body, explains how to stretch each muscle, showing you a front and side view of each stretch so the viewer can correct your posture accordingly. Could probably do with a couple more leg stretches at the start as a hip flexor, calf stretch and soleus stretch for example are missing. The warm up is thankfully not too long – it’s difficult to get this right as instructors generally want to include as much warm up material as possible for safety sake, and also to mobilise the muscles fully – but sometimes this can seem to take forever for a beginner and most people are too tempted to just fast forward to the pole bit! But I do feel that maybe there should have been a brief aerobic exercise routine beforehand and a few more leg stretches.
Beginner DVD Only: This DVD includes some poses, which is useful for beginners as it gives them a starting point for routines and is a non strenuous way to get used to ‘working with’ the pole. Kat (a second instructor on this DVD) demonstrates four powerful poses for the viewer to try.
Beginner DVD Only:In this DVD Tracey also demonstrates transitional moves, this is an area easily forgotton about on a lot of DVD’s as it’s mostly regarded as common sense, but to be honest, when you first start out in ANY sport or new hobby, you just don’t have any common sense! it takes time to build up that kind of learning but fortunately Tracey and Kat give you some basic moves to set the ball rolling. Also, there are many ‘basic pole dance transitional moves’ that DO NOT come naturally to a lot of people. The body wave for example, if you’re naturally snake hipped and watch a lot of R&B music videos, this might be pimps for you, but for anyone else sexy moves like bodywaves and hip circles takes practise! and it helps to have some actual tuition on HOW TO move yourself in a certain way.
Beginner DVD Only: Hooray for floorwork! So many DVD’s forget about floorwork altogether! As a basic rule – beginners start low on the pole, then as they get better the higher up they get. So floorwork, poses and transitional moves are equally as important to learn at this stage as tricks on the pole in my opinion, otherwise people get into the thinking that pole dancing is all about what you can do on a pole, when really it is SO much more then that! The best pole dancers and pole performances feature routines that use the whole of your dance space…INCLUDING the floor so of course you need to learn how to do it!
In this DVD Kat demonstrates some basic floor moves, they are relatively simple, pretty, and teach the viewer how to get used to cavorting a bit….WITH STYLE! Tracey then follows her to demonstrate some more exciting floor moves.
Spins & Pole Tricks
Beginner DVD:This DVD includes the First Spin (Fireman), the Forward Hook Turn (Closed Front Hook), the Backward Hook Turn (Back Hook), the Ballet Turn (Attitude/Sun wheel), the Fairground (Carousel), the Sitting Turn (Chair/Seated Lady), the Reversed Ballet Turn (Backwards Attitude/Backwards Sun wheel), the Spin Up (which is like a fireman from the floor), the Tuck (position is like the Cradle), the Strong Hold (like the Jump & Slide), the Pole Sit, the Pole Cartwheel (Fan Legs), the Shoulder Mount Backslide, Climbing the pole, Basic Invert.
Intermediate DVD:The Backwards Hook Turn (the Back Hook) , the Tuck Spin (the Cradle/Orbit), the Wide Leg Spin (Boomerang), the Reverse Grab Attitude (Back Hand Grab), Climbing the Pole, Basic Invert & Dismount, the Crucifix, the Serpent Dismount (or chest dive she calls it), the Thigh Hold (the Tammy), Upside Down Leg Hooks 1 & 2 (Gemini & Scorpio), the Caterpillar, the Butterfly, the Crossed Leg Release, Straight Leg Release, the Archery Position (the Bow & Arrow), the V-Leg Wrist Seat, the Arm Hold (the Teddy), the Ipcia (the Iguana), the Shoulder Mount.
Advanced DVD:The Switch Up (changing direction mid-pole from inverted crucifix to upright crucifix), the Knee Grip (2 Knees), the Reverse Climb (Caterpillar Climb), the Straight Edge, the Aysha (shown as a variation of the Straight Edge), the Supergirl (Superman), the Spider Girl (Pole V), the Hanging Splits (the Jade), Straight Edge Dismount, the Monkey Pose Dismount, the Handspring (including leg variations, jacknife etc), Handspring from up high, the Flag Pole, the Rocket (Rocketman), Lowering the Ipcia, the Matrix (Twisted handspring), the Chinese Flag (including leg variations).
Advanced DVD Only:In the Advanced DVD, Tracey and Kat also teach the viewer some pole combo’s – combining several tricks at once and demonstrating how they flow into each other. This again is unique to this series of DVD’s as usually tricks are demonstrated one at a time. This is definitely for the more serious poller or instructor and should not really be attempted by students.
Combo’s include:The Spider Girl with turn & Knee Grip, Reverse Climb & Straight Edge combo, The Straight Edge & Supergirl, Helicopter to Straight Edge, the Arm Hold with Leg Variations, Shoulder Mount Combo’s, the Monkey Pose & Sitting Up, the Monkey Pose & the Straight Edge, the Monkey Pose & the Archery Position, the Supergirl & Shoulder Mount, the Supergirl & Arm Hold, the Supergirl & Hanging Splits, Handspring into Leg Switch, the Rocket & Leg Release, the Rocket & Flag Pole, the Ipcia with V-Leg Wrist Seat & Sitting Up, the Chinese Flag from the Caterpillar, the Chinese Flag & Return.
Again the post-pole stretches sensibly start from top to bottom. Clear descriptions, clean demonstrations, generally an all round good cool down.
Tracey does a pole show for us at the end of each DVD which includes the moves featured on the instructional sections. Tracey Simmons is in my opinion an extrordinarily talented and exquisite pole dancer, winner of several National and International pole dance competitions, and is recognised as one of Britain’s top pole performers. Her moves are sleek, fast, precise, creative, smooth, beautifully extended without being contorted, flowing and natural and the pole shows featured in the extras does not disappoint!
With an array of glittering wardrobe, she even subtully demonstrates how to remove layers of costume cleverly, incorporated as part of the pole routine, and sleaze free.
I would say however that as a beginner, DO NOT expect to be able to perform the routine Tracey does in a short time as she includes some more advanced moves too. The purpose of this is just to show how pole tricks, transitional moves, spins and floor work can be put together into a creative pole routine. Tracey is a bit too good to pull off a basic, bog standard beginner routine and to meet her standard will take LOTS of practise!
This DVD series has a bit of EVERYTHING and has something for every generation and genre of pole dancer. Some of the unique points I noticed are:
* The beginner DVD also includes a brief lesson on ‘Pole Termanology’ – which is useful for beginners as many instructors start their teachings telling people to use their ‘Dominant Arm’ on the pole for example…..which one you have tried pole dance a few times seems a pretty obvious comment, but as a total beginner, this might not be so obvious!
* The series offers Poses, Transitions, Floorwork and Combo’s as well as the usual pole tricks and spins. An absolute joy to see!
* On the Intermediate DVD, Tracey revisits some of the beginner spins and then demonstrates advanced variations of the move by increasing the difficulty level. She very clearly explains how to do this and the difference from the basic version.
Other notes about the series that are worthy of recognition are that the filming of the DVD slows down to show a proper break down of how to achieve the variation, and all spins are demonstrated with postural corrections and comments.
From a constructive criticism point of view, I could only nit pick on 3 points! They are:
* The ‘Going Upside Down & What to do next’ section – Tracey whizzes through some moves and dismounts a smidge too fast without a whole lot of instruction, and some of the intermediate pole tricks are explained in brief, this COULD have been explained slower, with further break downs.
* Some of the intermediate tricks could be classed as more advanced.
* Does not explain about skin grip, pinching of the skin & pain barrier.
Overall I have found that there is a lot to be learned from Tracey as a beginner level student, though reaching the same quality will take time and this should be stressed. The Intermediate DVD was equally suitable for students and instructors alike as many teachers can fall into the trap of being content and become ‘sloppy’, watching the Intermediate level DVD would be beneficial for those looking to polish up their moves and achieve a more ‘professional’ look.
The Advanced DVD is for instructors and the more seasoned dancer. Admittedly there are a lot of moves and combo’s on this disc that I cannot perfom myself, and I know many other instructors would seriously struggle to compete with this sort of standard also so I find this DVD of imperative use for anyone wanting to advance to competition/instructional class pole dancing.