One of the worst pole dancing tips on how to freestyle was "Just put on your favorite song and see what happens." I had no prior dance experience, and I was terrified. So you know what happened? I just stood there, frozen in fear while my favorite song played in the background.

Eventually I learned, but until I broke through, there was a lot of frustration, tears, and feelings of inadequacy. Here are five things I did to get over my fear of freestyle:

1. Walk.

You already know how to walk, so spend some time with your pole walk. Move your arms, play with your hair or clothing, but just walk. Do it for an entire song! No spins, climbs, inverts, or fancy tricks. The goal is to just be in the moment.

2. Slow Down.

If you've ever tried to learn another language, you know how helpful it is when native speakers talk slowly. Well, dance is a language too! Slowing down gives you the chance to form your sentences, so to speak, and your audience the chance to process what you're saying with your movement.

3. Budget.

If you're trying to freestyle to a 4 minute song, you don't want to blow through your whole repertoire in the first minute! Dole out what you know. What if you spent 45 seconds building up to a move? Do that with five moves and you've danced for the whole song.  

4. Repeat.

There is NO shame in repeating movements. Have a go-to-combo? Good. Keep repeating it. Repeated sequences become your movement vocabulary, your signature, your catchphrase, your brand. Repeat, repeat, repeat. That's how you get really good at something!

5. Set small goals.

If your goal each time you freestyle is "be perfect" or "don't suck," maybe it's time for a new approach. For one freestyle session, set a goal to repeat movements on your other side. For another session, set a goal to smile the whole time, no matter what happens. Setting smaller goals will help you feel more successful, and if you feel more successful, you'll move with more confidence each time. The Ultimate Pole Goal Notebook is helpful in setting goals and tracking progress. Check it out in the shop!

Now, I love to freestyle. Sometimes, it feels great! Other times? Meh. But that's how it goes, right? On the meh days, I think back to those times when I just stood there in class, watching everyone else and feeling like I'd never be able to just let go and dance. Now, I can! And it all started with a few small steps. Hopefully, these pole dancing tips on how to freestyle will help you too.