Philip Deal seems to be a rather controversial figure in the pole dancing world. This seems to stem from some of his uncensored, outspoken, and sometimes sexually loaded status updates on Facebook. Personally, I have found Philip to be one of those rare people who prefers not to sensor his person to anyone, he does not try to put on an “acceptable” public face in order to be liked.
I first met Philip in New York in the spring of 2011 at Body and Pole Studio, at least a year before he entered the competition circuit. My trip to New York was centered around competing in the 2011 USPDF Championship, and after a serious competition “hangover” (that state of being where you feel suspended between an adrenaline high and jet lag) I took a workshop with international pole crush Marlo Fiskin, I then decided to stay for Steven Retchless’ workshop too…here I met Philip. I remember how beautifully he moved in the workshop and later discovered afterward that he was a classical and contemporary trained dancer of umpteen years. I found him very easy to be around and unpretentious.
When he informed me he was going to be on the WestCoast, I asked a couple of studio owners where I teach if they would like to have him as a guest instructor. One knew who he was from his APFC performance and the other didn’t so I sent her a couple of his videos and they spoke for him. Anyway out he came for a nice stay in the Bay Area, and not only did both studio owners have him do workshops, but they both raved about what a remarkable instructor he was. Needless to say, everyone (students, studio owners-Bel Jeremiah and Hana Granados, and myself) were really amped up over his classes. Philip is a technical instructor, if you are having difficulty with a move, he can look at what you are doing and tell you how to fix it. He also has a keen eye for line and detail which I assume comes from all of his classical dance training, he can tell you how to make movement more aesthetically pleasing.
At some point in time we realize that workshops from pole stars are limiting in what they can teach us. It takes so long to master a new trick on the pole, that really having to0 much practice material can just leave us overwhelmed and doesn’t allow us to master anything. Further, a workshop can not give us strength no matter how incredible a dancer the instructor is-If the moves are physically over our head nothing can help us except time and practice and strength building. That said, I think that it’s important to be realistic about what you want to get out of a pole workshop. You need to pay more attention to what kind of skills the instructor of the workshop has as a teacher, as opposed to just their their name as a polebritie-not to say that there aren’t performers out there who are also awesome pole teachers because there definetly are some, you just need to research a little beyond your pole crush.
What I think most everyone took away with from Philip’s workshops, regardless of their level, was some awesome technical training and a new awareness of their body and what it is doing. I personally conquered a nemesis trick, brass monkey (don’t ask me why, it’s so stupid that I couldn’t get this move), learned new transitions that I never would have thought of, and have a new combo to master that Philip made up on me…I will post it when it’s awesome, but for now here’s a video of the Brass Monkey combo Philip taught me @ 00:00-00:14