This month the Facebook pole dancing bloggers are looking back on the highlights of their year. This post won't be confined to pole dance. It is impossible for me to untangle my experiences as a ballet dancer from pole dance. I am a dancer.
The top moment of my year was the spring showcase rehearsal at my former pole studio. I finally got a chance to live out a moment on stage that had been in my dreams since I made my first plie. I looked up at the end of the "This Bitter Earth" pole dance pas de deux with my partner and saw tears in peoples eyes. We didn't know what people were going to think about our dance and when we saw their eyes we knew that something magic had happened. My inspiration for bringing the pas de deux from Wheeldon's “Five Movements, Three Repeats,” to pole dance came from watching a rehearsal video of Wendy Whelen and Tyler Angle posted on YouTube.
The next special moments of the year came from watching Ballet Nouveau Colorado dancers Sarah Tallman, Brandon Freeman, Julie King, and Damian Patterson perform pas from the Garrett Ammon ballet "Love in the Digital Age". They made me cry. Twice. My lines come from the dancers and teachers at BNC. I'm blessed.
My wife and I attended opening night of the Vail International Dance Festival 2012. Imagine walking in and seeing NYCB principle dancer Tiler Peck doing her warm up barre on stage! I came for Dove's Red Angels and walked away stunned by the way Tiler and Amar Ramasar performed the final pas from the Robbins ballet In the Night .
In August I pole danced with props for the first time. It was a very different experience. It was also my first experiment with the music of Italian composer Ludivico Einaudi. His music moves me deep inside. Sometimes I hear music and I can see myself in some kind of movement. I could see myself playing ice hockey and I told the story of what it means to be an aging hockey player and a dancer. It was my last dance at my former studio.
Sometimes heartbreaking things happen and from the pain and ashes you become stronger as your comfortable little world collapses around you. The change forged a tighter bond with my teacher, the amazing pole dancer Estee Zakar. I actually freestyle danced for Estee last month after working with her for over a year. Her enthusiasm for my dance style and encouragement has helped change my way of thinking about performing. I am looking forward to the Great Midwest Pole Dance Competition coming next summer in Chicago. I can think of no one better qualified to help me get ready for the trip.
In October I was invited by Sasha Viers to dance in a Halloween pole jam at her Boulder Spirals studio. The women in the studio are awesome and I love dancing with Sasha. Sasha knows ballet. We are talking pas de deux. I can't wait. My new home is at Spirals.
This has also been a great year blogging and being a part of the Studio Veena online pole dance community. You should check it out. It is an amazing place to learn about pole dance and share your experiences.
I'm also very happy to be reconnected and taking class with a good friend at Spirals. It seems that we have followed a similar path. She is a beautiful dancer/instructor and we inspire each other. She was one of the first women to welcome me into the nearly all female world of pole dance. Another lost friend from my dance past and I have reunited and are working on pole pas de deux. I hate that the stigmas associated with this beautiful dance form keep me from mentioning them by name but I want them to know how much their friendship means to me.
My final inspirational moments of 2012 came from watching the CBS News 60 Minutes coverage of the New York City Ballet. Two things Peter Martins said will stay with me. Peter is the guy who runs NYCB. He is Balanchine's successor. When Lesley Stahl quoted Balanchine's mantra, "Ballet is woman", one of the things Peter said was, "He (Balanchine) needed us (men)." When asked if he was hurt by the critical reviews of his collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney Peter didn't flinch. He reminded us that no one knows more about our dance than ourselves. Courage. To hell with the critics. We dance our dances. The critics don't stand in the fire and show anyone what makes THEM tick. Pole dance needs men too. The world of pole dance will get there.
The year 2012 was a year of endings, beginnings, reclamation, and rebirth. It was full of those brief moments of joy that keep dancers dancing.
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