Why I Pole Dance Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Inquiring minds want to know, why did I take up pole dancing? Actually, a good friend wanted to know and there was something about the way she asked that led me to believe that this may be a loaded question.
I’ll start with things that aren’t my reasons. I don’t want to be a professional stripper, nor am I deluded into thinking that I could compete with a woman in her 20s. I am not having a mid-life crisis (that was last year, thanks), I don’t want to win the $300 bar tab prize at Club Nitro on amateur night (actually, I do). I am not a dirty ho. I’m glad I got that out of the way.
Now for my reasons. I am committed to my health and fitness. Like really committed. I do step aerobics three times a week (which I love, by the way), I lift weights three times and week and a try to do yoga as much as I can. As much as I enjoy these activities, they are missing something. Back in my college days I was in a semi-professional dance company The African Dance Ensemble of CU Boulder whose artistic director, Letitia Williams, was on the dance faculty. In the seven years I was with them I had the pleasure of taking master classes and had choreography set on me by the esteemed likes of Amaniyea Payne of the Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, Chuck Davis of the African American Dance Ensemble, C.K. Ganyo, Onye Ozuzu, and a long list of African Dance luminaries. Of course the obvious question is why was a half Vietnamese person in an African American dance company? Easy. This is Boulder and I was as close to multi-cultural as they could get.
Where this is leading (besides me getting to brag a little about my ancient history) is that I come from a performance background. After seven years of learning choreography, costuming, and then presenting to the public (President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu being the most famous), it was very hard to go back to simply taking classes, learning something and then throwing it away, so to speak. For me the best time has the elements of challenge, mastery and performance.
Pole dancing completely challenges me. I am so far from mastering any element of it that’s it’s not even funny, but it is invigorating. I can’t say I’m dying to go to the gym to see if I can do that thousandth crunch, but I can’t wait to get into the Boulder Spirals studio so I can work on nailing my Flirty Fireman on the left side because I’m going to need it for the Slow and Sexy Stilettos choreography next week. Time just evaporates when I’m focused. My buzzing muscles afterwards are the only reminder that I got my ass kicked in the meantime, not to mention that my arms have never looked better.
The seasonal showcase gives me a comfortable venue to share the fruits of my effort with a group of people who can appreciate what I am doing. The environment is very supportive and encouraging. My first foray into performance is coming up in May and I am really excited about it. Mostly I am psyched to be inspired by my friends but I’m also looking for that performance buzz that was part of my life for so many years. It feels good to take a risk and put it all on the line. At this point in my life I need a little push to do it and Sasha, Tabitha and Shawneen are keeping me moving in the right direction.
In a nutshell I love pole dancing because it makes me feel alive, it rocks my body, it challenges my creative side and keeps me out of my comfort zone. I think it keeps me young.