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eBook Excerpt: Breaking Through Creative Blocks

eBook Excerpt: Breaking Through Creative Blocks

Comp Prep by Natasha Wang

Whether you are a first-time competitor or a seasoned performer, everyone has experienced a creative funk at the studio. 

Here are some things I do to break out of a creative block.    

  • Do not worry about creating new stuff for your routine. Work on what you already know.

    Relieve yourself of the pressure of having to invent a trick no one has ever seen before. Find new transitions and pathways out of your favorite moves. I assure you this can be just as surprising and interesting as inventing a new move! Remove a contact point. Add a contact point. Grab a leg. Grab the opposite leg. If the move involves a split, try a straddle, stag, or split in a different direction. During Week 1 of the 8-week series, we will put together Movement Flashcards. Throw some of these cards into a giant pile, mix them together, randomly pick three, and turn it into a combo. 

  • Film your favorite move or combo, and then play it back in reverse, or watch it upside down. Then try to execute it.

    Maybe it is impossible, but who knows what happy accidents can result from trying!


  • Create a climb.

    Take one of your favorite moves and create a climb out of it by repeating that move over and over.

  • Give yourself a time constraint.

  • Some of my best creative work is done during those 15 minutes in between classes. Maybe you are the kind of person who also works better under pressure. Take any available studio time you have – whether at the end of class, in between teaching, or anytime you find yourself already warm and a pole is available – and create a combo or new transition in that short amount of time. Knowing you have a time constraint can force you to focus.

  • Freestyle.

  • The art of the freestyle is an important skill, and one that takes practice to perfect. Some of the best freestyles happen when you give yourself a creative constraint. Try blindfolding yourself. Or dance with one hand on the floor during the entire length of a song. Dance while spelling your name on the floor with your feet. Or dance an entire song without your feet ever touching the floor.

  • Step away from the pole. Watch a movie. Take a walk.

  • This is one of the classic suggestions for getting through creative blocks of any sort, and it is also one of the hardest to do, because it feels like you are being unproductive and lazy. The truth is, inspiration can strike in unexpected ways, and often happens outside the pole studio. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery or fresh air to re-focus and re-energize.

    Bonus Tip: Download the free ‘Oblique Strategies’ smartphone app, which musicians Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt developed way back in 1975 for promoting creativity. The method was originally designed for musicians and uses simple creative prompts that promote lateral thinking, but apply to any creative endeavor, especially dance (since what is dance but a physical expression of music?). Here are a few: “Don’t be frightened to display your talents.” “Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element.” “Use an old idea

    Buy the eBook for more tips!