Anastasia Skukhtorova shares with The Brass Barre: her advice on getting flexier, how she started her journey into being the dancer she is today, and that you can achieve anything if you work at it hard enough!
1) Your dance style is so beautiful and effortless. Do you have any tips for non-trained dancers who wish to improve their dance flow and stage presence when dancing the emotive lyrical style?
I think first will be to start taking dance classes and slowly work on it. It will not come very fast, but it is totally worth it. It is not easy but after some time you will see progress. Don't give up!
2) Sometimes the music in lyrical style is challenging to count through while teaching. Do you still count through the moves, use song lyrics instead, or simply the accents of the music?
I believe I use them all, but most of the time I'm using song lyrics.
First thing that I do when I chose the song for my performance is to translate it. So I know what singer is talking/singing about. It is very important if you want to create an artistic routine. Then I'm trying to fit all moves to accents in the music.
Click to watch one of Anastasia's beautiful videos below.
3) What is your favorite thing to teach, and why?
At this moment I really like “All About That Drop” workshop. It is a lot of fun and girls love it. I think it is because you are challenging yourself and overcoming the fear to do certain tricks and transitions.
4) What is the best piece of advice you ever were given by a teacher?
Never give up. Always do your best and Always believe in yourself. Don’t try to find any excuse. If you really want to do or to get something - you can, you will find a way! Set a goal, think what you can do to get there and then work hard and be patient.
5) Would you ever consider dancing sexy style, or floor work in heels?
I started learning pole dancing in heels in Moscow in December 2008, and I loved it. Lines are so beautiful, long legs, beautiful moves. You look so elegant and sexy, confident. So why not? I think one day I will definitely do it again.
6) We’ve heard that you are an amazing flexibility teacher! Do you have any favorite or signature stretches you would like to share?
Oh thank you so much <3 I believe that it is very difficult to explain exercise on a paper and I think it is very dangerous, but what I can definitely recommend is to do a great warm up. It is super important if you want to become more flexible and prevent any injuries. Then if you want to progress faster I will advise to stay in each position or exercise for minimum of 30 seconds. And don't forget to breath, it is 50 % of your success.
7) Which do you feel is harder to achieve: flat front splits, middle splits, or back flexibility?
I think it depends on genetics and skills of each person. For some people it is easy to stretch the back, for some front splits and for some middle split.
For me middle split was always very difficult to achieve. I think it took minimum 2 years.
8) How on earth did you go from having no prior training to Rainbow Marchenko in just a few years? It seems so super-human!
I think one of my great motivator was Felix Cane. When I saw her performance I was so stunned. Everything she was doing looked beautiful and impossible to do, but somehow I believed that I can get there and do what she can. I started to train very hard, 5/6 days a week. My goal was an Eagle, this beautiful move that Felix invented.
And one day (after almost 2 years of training) I finally did it <3 After achieving the Eagle, every flexible move was quite easy to achieve.
9) Do you think it's possible for the rest of us who have no prior training to achieve that kind of progress if we do not have access to circus professionals?
Yes, you can. It will just take a little more time and can be a little bit more dangerous if you will do something that you don't know how to do. If there is a little chance to take a workshop or private lesson that specifies at what you want to learn and the teacher is a professional - yes, take it, learn from it and then you can slowly start to apply it during your classes or trainings. Also you can find now some people who are teaching online. I never tried it, but my friends did and they said they had a big progress. Or you can use website that sell online videos like Poleandaerial.com
10) What about more mature pole dancers who want to achieve flexibility?
I truly believe that everybody can get more flexible or stronger. You just need to work on it. Be aware and know what you are doing and train minimum 2/3 times a week.
11) Could you give us a glimpse of what your own training schedule is like?
When I come to the studio I always bring a lot of warm clothes, put my special belt on (that helps warm my back up), warm socks and sometimes I drink hot coffee or tea. It really helps to stay warm =)
Time of my warm up depends on how hot is it in the studio. But usually it is about 15/20 min.
And then i can train on the pole for 2/3 hours. It depends on my mood or health.
If I'm training with my friend we can stay at the studio from 3 to 5 hours.
Thank you for sharing Anastasia!
Anastasia is one of our guest choregrapher's for the Polegraphy class in Term 3. Sign up to learn a Pole Art routine taught by the Instructors of The Brass Barre. Click here to book now.