Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Friday, January 18, 2013

Things to Remember: A Year Without Goals

I missed the January pole dancers bloghop. The subject matter was basically what we wanted to get out of the coming year. I never made it to the deadline. I kept thinking about how my year was going to revolve around the Great Midwest Pole Dance Competition and Convention. The word "competition" was causing brain lock. It's not like I hate competing or I run away from it. I remember vividly my last season playing regular winter season ice hockey.

My team had won back to back league championships. I was fifty-one years old. For three months after I skated off the ice with the trophy I would not commit to another season. Why? The answer: I am utterly competitive. I was still playing like it mattered. Beer league hockey doesn't matter. It's just a bunch of guys having fun. But I still wanted to be the best captain and defensemen on the ice. If I could not find the emotion and heart to be that person, I was just going to quit playing and enjoy my Sunday afternoons at home.

Two months before I needed to register our team for another season I knew I wasn't ready to quit but that I was going to have to do more to play the coming season than ever before. Age was taking away my balance, skating speed, and my shot. When I made up my mind that I was going to play I also told myself that this was the end. Win or lose, this was going to be my last season of ice hockey. After that it was endless. I was in the gym three days a week from the end of July to October 1. I beat the living crap out of myself in the gym. I worked with one goal in mind. Win. Win that one last meaningless trophy.

When the season started I was emotionally and physically ready. All season long my team was a machine and we could not have had a better season. The storybook ending came on Easter Sunday 2009. I skated up to the league director, shook his hand and held up the last championship trophy of my hockey life. Three years in a row.

Now the difference between going to Midwest and Beer League ice hockey is huge. On the ice I was a predator. I have had a hockey stick in my hand on and off since I was thirteen. I pretty much skate like I walk, maybe better. In pole I'm technically horrible. I'm a newbie. Three years of pole compared to thirty-nine on skates? I am so far out of my league it's nuts. To succeed in Chicago I have to have a new plan. This can't be brute force like my last hockey season.

This year I have to remember some very important things. The things that led my teacher to believe that I had something special to say with my dance.

  1. I need to take advantage of the tools I have. Musicality, Lines, Emotion
  2. I need to be humble and honest with myself.
  3. I need to dance because I love dancing.
  4. I need to express not impress.
  5. I must always remember that the body never lies. My dance has to come from the heart because that is my strength. Real people can smell pretentious from a distance.
  6. I need to remember that what I do is art. You can't measure it, time it, or count it.
  7. I need to live in the moment. All of them. That is what dance is all about. 
So I have no goals. All I have is list of things to remember.


  1. love your list of things to remember, sometimes is better than a list of goals

    1. I'm so glad you liked it. I struggled with my feelings for a long time before it all came together.

  2. I love and admire this. Items 4, 5 and 6 REALY resonate with me as there is a local competition coming up and I go back and forth with entering. After reading this I think I'll see where I'm at this year instead of forcing myself in before I'm ready. Thank you for this. xoxo

    1. Awww. Thank you. So far as competition goes I would say that deep down inside you know the answer. Follow that voice. But also remember what Balanchine always told his dancers.

      "Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for—for another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now."

      We are not always the best ones to judge our dance. Dance is hard because we beat ourselves up a lot. Good Luck!

  3. #6! Isn't it funny how much we measure art though? I will keep this in mind the next time I find myself staring up my pole :D