In my book assertive means that you are confident in who you are, what you do, and you are going to stand your ground against oppression, prejudice, and ignorance. But you are going to do this with the least amount of sweat possible. You draw a line and quietly, subtly, let people know that they can expect a fight if they cross the line. Aggressive on the other hand means taking the war to the enemy. Going on the attack. The trademark here is being vocal and in someone's face. The name George Patton and blitzkrieg comes to mind.
It is important to me to help make space for men in pole dancing. For men to get past "pole tricks/fitness" and dance we have to get beyond the empowerment word in the way that some female pole dancers use it and find our own meaning. We have to do this without being aggressive. We have to seek out the assertive women in pole dance. They are the dancers who will dance with us, laugh with us and share what they know about the dance with us. They are the dancers who will tell us that men move in angular ways on the pole, that the articulation and length of our moves make our dance sexy.
Last week I was watching the movie "Men Who Stare At Goats" with my wife. At one point in the movie Bill Django tells Lyn Cassidy that sometime in his life someone told him not to dance. Next we see a flashback where a young Lyn Cassidy is rocking out to the radio in his room and his dad walks by and tells him to stop it because he looks (expletive) queer."
I'm sure all the guys who swing on their SO's dance poles have at some point seen a fleeting glimpse of this bad spirit. It's ok. Really. If you ever get the chance to dance in front of a crowd and listen to the applause afterward you might find as I did, empowerment. It takes courage to be a guy and pole dance. And I do mean dance. No going from one trick to the other. The floor and the pole are your friends.
I danced last night with my teacher and she left the studio for a minute to greet the new Pole Dance class that was waiting outside for my lesson to end. I grabbed my Ipod and put on Eric Clapton's "I Wanna Make Love to You." I grabbed the pole and swung it just a little differently. I did it with an edge. I liked the feeling. I could make it sexy or I could make it sexual. Assertive vs Aggressive. You cannot dance and pretend to be someone else. It is going to show.
"Acting is not my language at all." ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov
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