Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tyranny of the Mirror

"The mirror shows the impossibility of perfection. And thus a curious intimacy was born: I was constantly sharping, changing, improving, and restyling myself, while the mirror - cold and constant sat in judgement, like God." ~ Toni Bentley - The Surrender

Eventually you look up and see yourself. My pole dance studio doesn't have mirrors but my ballet studio does. The first thing you notice is the unforgiving, floor to ceiling oracle. The video camera becomes the mirror for me on the pole. There is this strange disconnect in dance. We are told not to think about it. Be free. Dance. Empowerment.  Discover our inner self. Get in touch with our bodies.

But then there are the corrections, bruises, slipping, and practicing the same moves over and over again trying to get it perfect. When you move on the pole never have a flexed foot. Ballet... "When the foot leaves the floor it is pointed." Don't wing. Don't sickle. There isn't enough Lithium or Invega on the planet to fix this bipolar tug of war over a dancers heart.  There is even more anxiety hidden in the polished quartz. When we look beyond technique we also peer deeper into the darkness. We see the extra weight, extra wrinkles, a bit of grey, big thighs, skinny calves, funny hair.

The truth of the matter is that we are all looking for something when we come to dance whether we know it or not. In the last year I have come to understand Claire Griffin Sterrett and George Balanchine. There are times when the Zen is right and you know you look good in that God-like mirror. And then there are the times when you hurt and the mirror kicks you when you are down. It is then that Claire and George's appeals to beauty, sexuality and art come up wanting.

We dance in anger. We dance in pain, We dance in joy. Dance is like life. Thinking otherwise is to live in denial because we cannot dance forever.

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