A look at the art of pole dancing from the viewpoint of a male dancer
Pole pas de deux
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.
I'm a pole dancer, ballet dancer, ice hockey player and research meteorologist. I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife of 20 years and two Siamese cats. I found the gift late in life. I was 52 the first time I went around the dance pole and 53 when I made my first plié.