Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ballet and Pole For the Bewildered

Some of my friends read my blog for the things I say that are not exactly related to dance. In all my endeavors I have found lessons that are more about living my life than the sport or hobby I am exploring. Competitive chess taught me planning and strategy. Similar lessons are in ice hockey with the added complication that you are responsible for other people when you play and coach. You can be a positive or negative force in your teammates and players lives. Dance and competitive long-range rifle shooting are lessons in Zen. You feel when the conditions are right to make your shot or execute a subtle gesture with your eyes. Sometimes you have to let your intuition take over. Not everything in the world works like a proof in advanced calculus.

The vocabulary of pole dance and ballet is filled with strange names. Ballet is almost entirely French and it takes a while before you just know that en croix means the combination will be done devant (to the front), a la seconde (to the side), and derriere (to the back). You guessed it, in the shape of a cross.

So I thought I would suggest a few books that might help people who know nothing about ballet or pole dance see past the language/jargon and into one of the worlds I inhabit. The first short read is Winter Season: A Dancers Journal by Toni Bently. Toni danced in the corp of the New York City Ballet during the last of the Balanchine years. The book is actually a journal she kept during a season she danced with NYCB. I'm warning you upfront that other searches of Toni's writing will lead you past her writing in Dance Magazine and Suzanne Farrell's biography. You might fall into the rabbit hole and find yourself looking at The Surrender, an Erotic Memoir. Toni is my age and not long after degeneration and arthritis in her hips took her out of ballet she wrote an entire book about self-discovery and anal sex. So don't say I didn't tell you that she is very in touch and comfortable with her sexuality. You don't have to pole dance to find your erotic self. Dancers are weird.

The second place to look is Pole Dance Dictionary Here you will find some of the moves I reference in my blog. There is no standardized language in pole dance. Be aware that some other dancer or studio might have a different name for the same move. I hate that but I'm a scientist and a "Feynmanist."

Pole Story: Essays on the Power of Erotic Dance by Claire Griffin Sterrett looks at the history of pole dance and she is a huge proponent of keeping pole dance sexy. Claire and I don't always agree. Nonetheless her book is for anyone who wants to know what makes pole dance attractive to so many women.

Happy reading. Dance is all about digging deep inside, coming to terms with your body and soul and showing it to the world. It is powerful and painful. Most dancers have to dance.

No comments:

Post a Comment