Darling reader, I realize I have not been entirely forthcoming of certain particulars near and dear to my heart, namely pole dancing. I do a lot of skittering around the issue and I might gingerly dip my toe in here and there, but have I given you the full download? No. And why is that?
I’m asking myself this question, because it’s fascinating to me the levels of fear that creep into my bones upon mention of outing my pole dancing love.
Why am I so freaked out?
Well, let me lay it out for you.
While there have been massive strides of healing energy directed to the world of pole fitness and aerial artistry, there is no denying that there is a deeply palpable jolt of negative energy and discomfort when the words pole and dancing are placed next to each other in the same sentence.
No matter how many pole artists we’ve seen strong and in their power on America’s Got Talent or wherever, we’re all pretty much thinking about the seedy strip club with women being treated like meat without a soul. Because, while there are in fact women who do enjoy this line of work, there are also many others who are being subjugated and disempowered and objectified by it.
So, what’s pole got to do with it?
Because, we can talk about Burlesque, and Dita Von Teese, and Sally Rand, and feel okay about it. We may feel slightly squirmy, but we can also feel empowered talking about it. Women are taking their clothes off, but they’re doing it on their own terms, for the love of the tease, and because it is a joyful expression of their body.
But as soon as you put that pole in there… thunk. It all goes to shit. At least this is the way I see it. And I see it in my friends who find out what I’m up to and their face gets an almost imperceptible micro-expression of disgust. And then they say… “oh yeah… I’ve heard that is such a great workout.” Completely side-stepping the issue and focusing on some common ground of masculine achievement.
And I get it. Because all we’ve ever known is that degrading shame-filled association. That is real. But there is something new happening. Something similar in a physical sense, but revolutionary in terms of connection to body, emotional integrity, personal empowerment, increased confidence, and priceless sisterhood.
And I should point out here I’m talking about a particular brand of pole dancing. The kind with no men, no mirrors, no competition, no choreography, no nudity, no judgement, dimmed lights, encouraging women, and a total acceptance of every body type and range of emotions. The kind of dancing that empowers women to become comfortable in their skin by trusting where their bodies lead them.
So yes. It’s an entirely different animal isn’t it? It’s dancing. And there’s a pole in the room. But this time the woman is dancing for herself. No one else’s agenda stares her in the face. This is her time to shine, hide, stomp, nurture, yearn, provoke, seduce, and play. In this way, it becomes a safe space for a woman to be unapologetically sexy, vulnerable, and badass. It is here we get to try on what it might it feels like to be the woman that we’ve always wanted to be. The one who expresses herself fully and wholly without shame or fear of ridicule.
So is it the pole that threatens us after all? Or is it that we are uncomfortable with ‘sensuality’ and/or ‘eroticism’, and we are lacking a comfortable way to connect to our natural capacity for sacred sexuality?
Ah HA. That’s huge isn’t it. Okay, well… this could get long. Why don’t we keep going with the pole conversation and promise to come back around to that juggernaut in the next post, shall we?
Alright, let’s revisit the pole. Or better yet, let’s talk about this kind of dancing without the dang pole. I mean, hell, it’s just a hunk of vertical metal, right? It’s a tool. Do we need it?
Well… no. And yes.
Early on, I divulged not only my pole dancing prowess, but also the fact that I teach this type of thing. Ooh la la.
So I’ve been experimenting with the idea of teaching this movement sans pole, to ladies who are frightened to death of what that could mean to their delicate reputation. I get it ladies, I get it. I’ve been there myself. Still there sometimes. So, I’ve attempted the classes without the pole. Some sensual movement, free dancing, and a full dose of divine self-expression.
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it and then… all of the sudden, there was a moment where I wanted to fly. I literally wanted to fly around the room. And that’s when I realized what the pole was good for.
The pole is there as a faithful partner to help you fly, flip, climb, spin and otherwise defy gravity in ways that are simply not available to you without it.
There is joy there. Plain and simple.
And somehow, despite its tainted history, we have found something sacred in dancing around a pole. Or at least I have. And I know many other beautiful souls who will profess to deep divine revelatory connection through this very same communion.
So there you have it. A rough beginning to pole enlightenment. Feels like we’re just getting started.
Strange days indeed, my friend. And not the easiest thing to navigate in polite conversation. But guess what? Tough. Not everyone can handle the truth.