Q&A With Lauren Elise

Lauren Elise was my very first exotic pole teacher in London. As an iconic dancer, the founder of one of the coolest competitions set to happen this year (once this is all over) and internationally acclaimed performer, I’ve always wanted to have her on the blog. Now that she has launched her website and her very own set of online tutorials, it seemed like the best time. Super excited that she agreed to take part in this Q&A with me!

Blogger On Pole: First of all, how are you coping with the current situation?

Lauren Elise: I’m doing okay! I’ve definitely struggled a bit with feeling like I should be making the most of this time, or doing something productive when actually half the time I can’t focus on anything for very long, but I’m trying to roll with the ups and downs and not put pressure on myself. I suppose it’s one of the downsides to social media anyway and it’s just exacerbated during this time, because everyone has taken to it to connect. 

BoP: What are you doing to still dance?

Lauren Elise: Living vicariously through everyone else! I’ve had a couple of moments rolling around in my room but I’m on carpet and surrounded by plants so having to adapt to the space and lack of heels.

Can People Still Learn From You In Lockdown?

Yes! I have been teaching online classes and I’ve got tutorials available for download on my website. The initial set of tutorials are like reference videos – bundles of tricks or sequences that you can work through in your own time and incorporate into your training.

Flooreo is more like a normal class: you get a set of videos, including one going through the choreo step by step and also one with me doing the choreo and shouting cues to make it easier to practice! I’ll be adding new tutorials each week, and can take requests too. New tutorials are coming tomorrow.

How did you start pole dancing?

I started at university, for the sake of trying something new and doing something in the evenings aside from drinking… I did the usual thing of falling hard and fast and getting a bit addicted to it, partly in thanks to the incredible teachers I started with (Charlie Babb from Partipole in Portsmouth and Lisa Williams from Polevocative in Croydon were two of my first teachers) and have done it almost continuously for the last 9ish?! years.

You are one of the most unique and well-known dancers and teachers in our community and outside of it. How would you define the Lauren Elise style?

I call it urban exotic, mostly because of the music I prefer to dance to and how that influences my style. I’ve gone through phases with my movement and come out with this weird amalgamation of all the styles I’ve tried and others that I’m inspired by. I guess I started off more Stripper Style, then did the Russian Exotic thing for a while, and I’m super inspired by hip hop, commercial and other styles of dance.

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Lauren Elise at PoleFit London

What does dancing mean to you?

Dancing is expression, it’s freedom. It’s a way of just getting out of my head for a bit. 

Do you still enjoy dancing after all of these years of teaching and performing? Why?

I do, I love getting to the studio and having a boogie, mostly for the music. I have all these songs on my playlist that I’ll spend all week listening to and hyping myself up to dance to and sometimes a song will come along that I just know is going to move me.

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I also really fucking love watching my videos back – it sounds narcissistic as a statement but pole was the first thing I ever felt like I was good at, so as hyper critical as I am of my movement, I’m pretty proud of it too. I do find it hard to separate dancing for myself from dancing for “work”, but I think that’s one of the natural downsides to turning a hobby or passion into a career. 

Why did you want to launch your own competition?

Dominique (Eden Pole Competition’s co-founder) and I have done so many competitions over the years, and each one has its own draw, but I think there was still a gap in the community for a sexy pole competition that encompasses and celebrates all the different styles in one place. We created these criteria that allow as much freedom and artistry as possible, so you don’t feel like to have to fit into particular boxes or change your style to meet certain quotas. We also wanted to make it as accessible as possible, and really just bring some different people together.

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Lauren Elise at the Cocoa Butter Club

What do you want to see when you watch somebody pole dance?

Oh gosh, I could write an essay on this! Most importantly – musicality! There’s an intrinsic connection between movement and sound, and when they’re in sync it’s beautiful to watch. Dancing on beat is the minimum but if you can hit those little accents and I can tell you understand and are connecting to the music you’ll have my heart.

I love it when people commit to a character or a mood and can keep that energy for the whole performance, and I like a bit of personality.

I want to see people introduce their own style to whatever they’re doing – it can make you feel a bit vulnerable at first, especially in a competition setting where you’re being judged on it but it’s so worth it.

What has your career highlight been so far?

All of the things! I pinch myself often because I’m still not quite sure how I got here. Dancing for DaVido at the MOBOs was incredible as it was such a huge audience and probably the “biggest” job I’ve done. A more personal highlight was getting to perform at Underbelly with The Cocoa Butter Club – I’ve been to Underbelly shows most years so that was a dream stage to be on. 

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Lauren Elise on stage with the Cocoa Butter Club

You’ve taken part in a lot of music videos with popular artists. Do you have any advice for dancers who want to do that?

Refine your movement, define your style, and showcase it appropriately. Social media is great for getting noticed (Instagram specifically in my case) so think of your feed as a showreel.

Also know your worth! Set a rate and stick to it – it’s a great way of weeding out the time wasters. And a little professionalism goes a long way, a job is a job…

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Find Lauren Elise’s website here.

Buy Lauren Elise’s tutorials here.

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