Pole Dancing Has Changed
We’ve come a long way, baby
I’ve been pole dancing for over three years now. Granted, I’m no superstar, but I still love it. But I remember when I got into it and how it felt like this private community that, if you were lucky, you stumbled into online.
It was like some special sub-culture that you only found by kismet – and, once in the doors, you opened onto an entire world of support and friendship.
Before that, it was even harder, I’m told, to find fellow pole dancers. Classes were few and far between. Stigma was high (yes, what we have now is no longer much stigma, relatively), and only the most dedicated were able to pursue their love of pole.
But now, we get national sports coverage (yes, still with the smirks and winks, but even so). And, what’s more, the level of skill and pure theatrical ingenuity has skyrocketed.
Performing means something different now
I was at the USPDF last weekend. I went with my hubby and he got to see world-class pole dancing for the very first time.
It was an amazing show; the performances blew us away. No big surprise that, but it got me to thinking: somewhere along the line, pole dancing has kicked it up a notch.
Pole dancing has always been about giving a great show, but now we have the creme de la creme in pole competing all over the world and the results are momentous.
Just like an advanced ballet dancer is very, very good and very, very talented, so also are advanced pole dancers. But, also just like an advanced ballet dancer, pole dancers are now getting attuned to seeing the lofty heights to which they can aspire – and which only the few can attain.
Fluid spins and strong tricks will always be amazing to see, but pole dancing is now about theater. It’s performance at a higher level – and the audience is coming to appreciate that. Just as an audience can tell the difference between a local production of Swan Lake and that of the American Ballet Theater, so now do pole dance audiences recognize that difference for our own dance style.
What does that mean for pole dancers like me?
Frankly, the thought is a little daunting. Where does that leave the average pole dancer, like me? Does that mean I have nothing to offer if I choose to perform with my class? Or even if I stretch myself and try to compete?
Of course not.
It means that, even if I can’t go there myself with my own dancing, I still get to see my pole dancing dreams come to life when the stars take the stage.
It means that, even if I can’t go all the way with my own style of pole, I can still learn from every edge pushed by those talented enough to push those boundaries.
I still learn. I still grow as a dancer.
I am influenced by that pure pole dancing magic of those elite performers and strive to bring a little of that into my own style.
The more I see where others can go, the farther I go along my own path.
So, where does that leave pole dancers like me?
Center front in the audience, I hope – and very happily so!
P.S. If you missed it, here’s an interview I did back in December with the newly-reigning 2011 US Pole Dance Champion herself, Natasha Wang!