Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Offense Intended, I'm Going for Sexy/Artsy

I have to admit that the more time I spend in pole dance, the stronger I feel about the sexy side of pole. Less than a year ago I tended to have a stroke anytime someone said, "Bring back the sexy." I took it to mean, "Women Only." I no longer dance at the little studio that was more about the dance and less about the tricks and sexy. I've come to a fork in the road and I've decided to head on over to the sexy, artsy side of pole and never look back.

I maybe a guy, but I feel the need for emotion and expression. I feel art in movement. I'm getting away from over fifty years of, "Boys don't cry." Empowerment is becoming an overused buzzword in pole. But dancing expressively from deep inside is my revolt, and my rejection of the conventional male box where I used to live. If you would like to call that "empowerment" I'm ok with it. There is a power and sexy in artistic dance. 

This past January I took a  series of pole classes that were designed for men. It was called Acro Pole and most of the men in the class were married to women who also pole danced in the studio or knew female pole dancers from their involvement in parkour. We worked on pole tricks. The guys were great. The atmosphere was fun, and hilarious at times. Contrary to popular myths propagated by "Women Only" pole studio owners it didn't turn into a penis comparing contest. I enjoyed the class and really respect the courage of the studio owner.

However, something was missing and I felt it when I would finish a move. I've very conscious of lines and the way I connect the pole moves. The first time the entire class was working on basic inversions the guys were just lowering themselves down the pole into a handstand or rolling over on their shoulders. For me some things are just muscle memory now. Without thinking I inverted, hooked my outside leg, slid down a little, put my hand on the floor, tucked under my arm, and spiraled my body around the pole. Amber Richard taught me that dismount years ago. To my surprise a few of the guys noticed and complimented me.  Some of the guys were so strong that in the second class they were able to go straight into an Iron-X or reverse a shoulder mount. I have spent most of my time in pole with women and I was amazed at the way men could go from a fireman spin to reversing shoulder mounts in two weeks.

But I found myself wanting the studio to be dark so I could put on some really emotional music and dance. I wanted to feel. I felt like the kid stuck in school on a warm spring day. When do we get to freestyle teach? When I dance I never get feedback on the way I actually do a certain move. The feedback is always about musicality or the story I'm trying to tell. I look at pictures taken of me during performances and I find myself looking at them and thinking, "Is that really me?"

I've come to the conclusion that I really don't want to see how long I can hold a flagpole move or spend hours smashing my legs into the pole trying to figure out the brass monkey. I'm driven by the music. I like having women compliment me on my expressiveness and grace. I looked at the scoring system that has been proposed by the IPSF a few days ago. It was then that I knew that my pole style was much better suited for dancing with the lights down low and Scotch straight up. I know that I have more in commen with women who say things like,

Fuck yoga. I want to drink whiskey and dance to Alice in Chains. ~ Alethea Austin

I don't do tricks, I just do pretty stuff. So, deal with it. ~ Amber Richard

We need to address the issue of sensuality, the inherent value of the sexiness of the movement before we can defend it as nothing more than a form of fitness. ~ Claire Griffin Sterrett

Shaping the Choreography (The Jersey)

I hate that I can never relate this story to anyone, not even Estee without tearing up a lot. This is from a NY Times article about the night Wayne Gretzky retired:

After most hockey games, Wayne Gretzky is a quick-change artist, out of uniform and out of the locker room before anyone else on the team. But yesterday was different, for so many reasons, and Gretzky still wore his Ranger jersey and pants more than an hour after the conclusion of the final game of his brilliant career.

His blue jersey was dark and wet with sweat and spilled water and maybe a tear or two. When asked why he had not changed it, Gretzky first said a few proper things about getting to the news conference on time without making reporters wait in a back hall at Madison Square Garden. Then he leveled.

''Probably, subconsciously, I don't want to take it off,'' Gretzky, the player known as the Great One, said. ''I'm not going to pull it on ever again. It's hard. It's hard to take it off right now. I have to be honest with you. I don't want to take it off."

My day came three years ago. I had to take my jersey off for the last time. I'm no Gretzky but I loved every minute of every game and I just couldn't play hockey with the thirty-year old guys at the level I wanted to anymore. The dance Estee and I are choreographing for my Midwest Pole Dancing Competition entry is about that day. I'm even dreaming about dancing lately.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Dance Bag (March Bloghop)

My dance bag is a small disorganized disaster area. It used to be worse. I used to carry my ballet stuff in the same bag with my pole stuff. After "losing" my phone and keys for the 200th time I split the bags. One for pole and one for ballet. In an hour or so I'm heading off to a private lesson with Estee Zakar and my bag is ready to go. Welcome to Pandora's Box:

  1. Duct tape. Doctors orders. I am not to dance barefoot on the ball of my left foot. It took three years of freezing, a chemotherapy drug and permanent scarring to get rid of a plantar wart. Besides. Duct tape fixes everything.
  2. Towels. One for the pole and one for me. 
  3. iPod. 180 Gig. I don't go to any dance lesson without it. If you hear that burning bags of cat poop were found at Apple headquarters it is because they finally discontinued the 180. My entire music library is on mine including some pole music playlists that go back to 2007.
  4. Water bottle. I prefer Rockstar Zero carb but my doc tells me water is better for my kidneys.
  5. Extra booty shorts and dance belts. I always wear a dance belt under my pole shorts. It keeps people focused on my pole work. Most of the stuff men wear for pole dance doesn't leave a lot to the imagination. When you are in your mid 50's this is NOT a good thing.
  6. White Flower. Estee swears by the stuff. I'm hurting. I'm trying it.
  7. Arnica. Arnica is in the same category as duct tape. Indispensable.
  8. Dew Point, Dry-Hands, iTac2. I like Dry-Hands the best. But on some poles on some days the other stuff works. I like Dew Point a lot. Especially on 45 mm poles. Dew Point is also a great way to get glued to the bed sheets without all night monkey sex.
  9. Contact lens solution, extra case, extra lenses, and re-wetting drops. 
  10. Hand Sanitizer. We all know that EVERTHING rubs on those poles. Ballet barres are also metal Petri dishes.
  11. Deodorant. Self explanatory
  12. Spare hearing aid batteries. Embarrassing. I have a lot of hearing loss. Too many Deep Purple concerts and exposure to the 2.0 kilohertz sound pulses that are used extensively in meteorological research. I have an especially hard time hearing female voices. Their already soft voices make the consonants hard to hear. So if the music is loud, you are female, and I look bewildered, it is because I can't hear a word you are saying. 
  13. Double sided tape. Things slip. After one inversion the drawstrings on my booty shorts are always hanging out. I also assume that some people really do not want to see my below the belly button ink.
  14. One pair of Pleaser Taboo 7 1/2" Sexy Black Stripper shoes. (Don't ask. Future blog post) ;)
Pole preference. I learned on 50 mm brass Platinum Stages poles. I really liked working on brass. I visited another studio in Denver and they had 50 mm PS stainless. I spent half of my time trying to stay up on the damned thing. I learned to hate the 50 mm PS stainless. Back in December I had a chance to work on 45 mm PS stainless. No problem. I think it has more to do with the diameter than the material. I don't mind working on 45 mm PS stainless at all. I have two PS brass poles at home (45 mm and 50 mm). I like them but when I started working with Estee it was 45 mm X-Pole. I have one at home too and I'm not looking back.

I love the X-Pole. Period.

I do have to say one thing about X-Pole and Platinum Stages. Everyone seems to have a horror story about their quality control or customer service. Estee got my X-Pole for me and it was perfect out of the box. I bought two poles from PS. The first one was cut wrong and it was my fault because I forgot to click the correct ceiling length on the web page. They made it good overnight. The second was perfect from the get go.

So there is my story about commercial products and inside my dance bag. I hope I made you laugh a couple of times. I really try to avoid commercial dissing or endorsements. As they say YMMV