Koala syndrome: (noun, description) “Condition in which a pole dancer’s arms and legs involuntarily withdraw and cling around pole instead of straightening / extending. Usually occurs while pole dancer is upside down and in the process of learning new inverted pole tricks.”
Yes, koala syndrome. I has it.
Yesterday I did a private class with the intention of working on handstands, popping my static-V cherry, working on pike into DVD cover, and maybe trying Maxi on the non-dominant side.
Instead, we spent 3/4 of the lesson just working on DVD. Turns out I’ve been doing it the harder way of pushing up into it rather than sliding down.
Technically, it should be easier but my body doesn’t like change and trying to reprogram it to do things differently is like trying to force an angry cat to wear a teddy bear outfit.
In terms of physical confidence, my strongest body parts are my legs and back, thanks to years of doing Hatha yoga. So I love leg hangs that involve back arching, like Right Leg Hang, Cupid, Maxi, Venus, even Jade. Basically, if my legs can hook somewhere on the pole or my body can lean against it, I feel nice and secure.
My weakest areas are my upper body and core… which are both really important for pole, and is why my nemesis moves are any kind of inversion, or where I need to depend mostly on my arms or core. Stuff like the Pull-up V, Candy, and even open Jamilla, which was something I struggled with for ages.
And DVD cover (aka extended butterfly) really starts from having a strong pike with just both hands and the back of one ankle on the pole. And subconsciously, I guess I just don’t trust my skinny little arms enough to hold me safe.
Which is where the unfortunate Koala syndrome makes its appearance.
Every time I successfully pike up using the harder ‘pushing up’ way, my feet actually twist around the pole first in an ankle grab position before I adjust them into place. And every time I try to pike any other way, my knees spontaneously grab the pole instead and I end up doing very strange variations of ‘upside down knee spins’.
At the tail end of the class, we decided to briefly cover the Static V. I can hold a fake static V quite comfortably, as the back of the right shoulder rests firmly on the pole. But to get into the real Static V, you need to shift that shoulder off the pole to *groan* pike off before opening the legs.
In theory, I get it. In reality, I have a disastrous attempt on video in which you can hear Anni shrieking, “What are you doing?!” in bewilderment as Koala syndrome takes over half-way.
Don’t get me wrong though, there’s lots of other things I’ve made progress with and am very happy about! Like how I joined the final pole grooves lesson for ‘Bootywerk”, learned the whole thing in one class instead of four, and managed to film a decent video of it afterwards.
I just take aaaaaages to learn new tricks that scare me, and it’s still as frustrating every single time.
At least I know that there definitely will be light at the end of the tunnel, because i always nail it eventually. Even if it takes 3 whole terms! Aarghh….!