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Pre-Performance Rituals from 3 Top Polers


The thought of going on stage can be daunting. Most performers look confident and prepared when they walk out under the lights, but what’s happening behind the scenes?

I asked 3 top polers what their pre-performance rituals were to get themselves ready the day of the show…


Yvonne Smink:

  •  I always bring lots of snacks (and water) with me to the venue, so I don’t have to stress about finding food during the day. Fruits are my favourite because I digest them easily.
  • To keep my feet warm, I love those warm furry big socks (or slippers) to walk around in when backstage.
  •  I always put my music on a separate MP3-player. Very old fashioned perhaps, but since there has been some times where I had to hand my phone to the sound technician and I couldn’t listen to my music during the warm-up (which puts me in the mood) I have this habit.
  •  I like to find a quiet place in a corner of the venue out of sight to stretch, focus and get in the right feels for the performance. Usually, I turn off my wi-fi not to get distracted by incoming messages and properly take time for myself.
  •  I always carry a spare performance outfit with me, just in case something happens to the 1st choice.
  •  I always have multiple bottles of dry hands with me and usually forget multiple ones somewhere around the stage. I am your events biggest dry hands donator.


Marion Crampe:

When it comes to performing as many things I actually do in everyday life, I do have little rituals. It secretly helps me to ground, to prepare in a positive way to start the experience to come. I love to think as M-A Gillot said that this « discipline » is the base of my freedom.

No matter the purpose, place… I dedicate the same importance to this preparation (sometimes during some trainings I go through some of those rituals).

It involves the way I start to stretch and release tensions with foam rollers balls. Execute some waves exercises to give movement to my spin. I always finish by so deep flexibility to be ready to bring my body into some bendy shapes. Right before stepping on stage, I will apply my grips here too actually always in an order( oh my lord… makes me realize how much « ritually » one I am haha). And I go to my first position. There I have some words I say loudly to myself. And voila ready to go.

Rituals depend on each individual. Some might not need and others yes. And it is all right. Find yourself and what brings you in a positive place where you can then express and share the best you can what you train so hard for.

Happy rituals. Love Marion C.


Brandom Grimm

  • Research and practice makeup
  • Dress rehearsal in costume
  • Shave morning of the show for optimum stick
  • Listen to music and visualize every hand grip, every move to perfection
  • Get to the venue early and establish your station and space to put your stuff, do makeup/hair, warm up
  • Pole test: run through pole passes only, and choreo in between poles and adjust choreo as needed -warmup: do the least amount of warming up as possible so I’m not tired/ sweaty. Once I start sweating, I’m finished.
  • Stretch only integral body parts to not over exert any area.
  • Go over the piece with headphones in and visualize it 2,3,4,5 times…. until there’s not question I got this!
  • While offstage about to go on: warming up feet by doing relevés, tiny jumps, and cracking toes. Final splits, straddles, arches
  • I don’t talk to anyone 5-10 mins before or after my piece.
  • Whatever happens on stage, leave on stage. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes you made, bc you can’t go back and fix them, and there’s no need to waste your energy on things you can’t fix. Be happy with what you produced for the audience.


Hope you’ve found these insights helpful and maybe you can use some yourself next time you’re about to step on stage!

My personal rituals include:

  • Writing a list of what I need the night before as on the day I won’t want to think about it
  • Bringing a yoga mat/roller to warm up and give yourself as much time as possible
  • I always try to get some stage time to mark out the routine and to get used to the space/flooring
  • Listening to the routine with headphones to run it through in my mind about an hour before
  • I wash my hands, apply dry hands then just before I go on stage I hold a microfibre cloth as I tend to ‘fiddle’ and this keeps my hands clean and dry!

Sarah X



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