Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Monday, November 15, 2010

YouTube and Pole Dance Music

This is for those of us who post our dance videos on YouTube. How many times have you been notified that the music in your video violates copyright agreements? I have a dance that was done to "Broken" by Seether and Amy Lee. The acoustics in the studio where it was done are none too good. I takes some imagination to discern that its actually Seether and Amy Lee. The music recognition software used on the YouTube site is pretty damn good. I've made a ton of money off of that particular video that I haven't shared with the label that put out "The Punisher" (snort...snicker).

I find the YouTube policy short sighted and as my mom used to say, "Cutting off your nose to spite your face." How many times have you looked at the comments on someone's video and wondered along with someone else, "What is the name of that song?" Not long after that you are on iTunes or Amazon downloading the music. Am I right?

What brings in more revenue to the music labels, swapped audio or dance with really good music? I've posted my last dance to YouTube. Facebook is much easier and you don't have to deal with crude comments like, "Aren't you a little old and fat to be doing this?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

White Rat

Last Thursday I was interviewed by a University of Colorado School of Journalism graduate student. The topic of the project she is working on is men who pole dance. I'm usually the one asking the questions and trying to put the answers together in my own mind. My dance teacher asked me if it was ok for her to contact me and I am really excited about the project.

When I told my wife that I was doing the interview we were walking through the parking lot of the Denver Center for Performing Arts after an event. Her reply to me was, "My husband is a white rat." I think she meant one of those poor little white mice that they do stupid things to in laboratories.

So what is it like being the white rat? I liked it. The person asking the questions is a wonderful woman and she is also a pole dancer. I didn't shy away from any question and I was as open and honest as I could be. The hardest question was, "What does your wife think about your pole dancing?" The simple answer is that she doesn't get it. She doesn't understand pole dance as an art form and at the heart of it has a problem with the fact that I have become friends with quite a few women. How can I help it? At my dance studio I am outnumbered.

Today is going to be a little challenging. As we were walking out of the Starbucks where we met for the interview our aspiring journalist asked if she could sit in on one of my private dance lessons, watch and take pictures. Yesterday she asked if it would be ok to videotape. I agreed.

I find myself closing my eyes in embarrassment when I watch myself on tape. It never looks right to me. So this is going to be difficult. Nonetheless the subject is male pole dancers and the way I dance today will be the way I dance. My art, my attempt to be as honest with my body as I was with my words.

I think it was the great choreographer Martha Graham who said, "The body never lies." That scares me a little bit.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guys Feel It Too

Videotaping your dance is a double edged sword isn't it? You can learn a lot a lot from the experience. You get to see what your dance looks like from the camera's eye. But the first thing I noticed wasn't my floor work or that my arms weren't bent enough to get my belly button to the pole on my least favorite inversion. I noticed my body.

The wrinkles, the extra weight around the middle and the semblance of the extra chin. It's a strange mirror and all the things that we are not supposed to be looking at or worrying about surfaced the first time I watched myself on tape. I'm not that ripped, sexy twenty-something dancer on YouTube shaving his legs while his SO laughs and then videotapes him on her spinning pole.

The dance is supposed to be a vehicle that gets us past our obsession with having the perfect body. Guys should even be less susceptible to this self doubt and looking at other dancers and thinking that they look so much better on the pole. In our youth obsessed society men get distinguished and women age. The graying, thinning hair, the extra weight and those lines around the eyes are all things that are just part of our rugged male journey through time. Hardly.

The first time I posted clips of my dance on YouTube. I got the nice compliments from my friends and support from a couple of the best pole dancers in the country. But then there were the, "Aren't you a little old and fat to be doing this?" Those comments hurt. How can they not? At the time they were made I was struggling with dancer's block and wondering if I wanted to continue dancing.

This brings me to the heart of the matter. When I dance with my eyes open and make eye contact with my audience I sometimes go outward in a bad way. I find myself dancing for the crowd. I become self-conscious and forget that this dance is supposed to be a way for us to discover that everyone can dance and that there is no such thing as the perfect body.

Anytime I start down the self-critical path I have to take a deep breath and for a moment go inward and just feel. I have to remind myself that this dance is mine and it's my choice to share. My audience can take it or leave it. Once I start to care about what other people think I have lost my dance, my honesty and a part of myself.

So if you ever wondered if men who pole dance get dancer's block, are self-conscious about our bodies or become the target of rude comments, know that we do.