11. Pole Dance

I have never put myself in the sexy category. Never. I have always laughed at images of sexy redheads, or the notion that redheads are sexy, because in my experience, having red hair has been the culprit of my lack of sexy. Don't get me wrong, I love having red hair. It took me years to embrace this thing that made me unique, but sexy I am not. I am whatever the opposite of sexy is. Goofy? Silly? Clumsy? Yes, that is my belief. So when I wondered what could get me in touch with my sexy (there's got to be some in there somewhere, right?) pole dancing jumped to the front of my mind.

I have seen and heard a lot about this striptease fitness phenomenon that has been sweeping the nation. I like the idea of the fitness angle, especially because if I tell people that I'm going for the workout, they won't laugh at the idea of this redhead trying to be sexy. The sexy angle, I'm not too comfortable with...

I definitely needed a posse for this challenge! Enter my good old dance companions from my college dance company, Betsy, Jen, and Nickie (see week 1 to get to know them a little better). I sent my girls an email via facebook that explained my latest hair brained scheme, and invited them to join me. Within moments, Jen responded saying she was nervous, but she'd do it, and I could hardly believe Betsy's excitement (Nickie had a conflict). I quickly went about finding the location and making arrangements. During the planning phases, we were in communication about what exactly we were getting ourselves into. Betsy questioned Jen's and my nerves, "perhaps this reveals something about me," she wrote, "but I don't know why you guys are freaked out... I think it will be hilarious. Are you nervous to be sexy in front of other people????" Jen's response, "I don't feel sexy. I'm going to wear a mumu (with a thong on underneath)." and my response, "Of course I'm scared to be sexy in front of other people. That's why this is such a challenge. I'm not afraid of the pole, I'm afraid of sexiness." I was glad to know that I had an ally in Jen.

DOPDC (Day of Pole Dancing Class), Jen, Betsy, and I met at Flex Appeal Studios in downtown Minneapolis. We had called the evening before to reserve our pole, and ponied up our $20 to get our sexy back (or get it... in the first place). Somewhere in the midst of all of this, Betsy became our ally too, because when we met there she revealed that she was also really nervous (though, not of being sexy... just because we had no idea what we were getting into). Of course we had been curious about what other types of people would be at this class, and I can confidently report that everyone was pretty much just like us. It was a beginning level class, and everyone for the most part, looked pretty... beginner. We were relieved, although we still had no idea what was in store for us once class started.

Well, the joke was on me. When I embarked on this challenge, I thought I was doing it to get in touch with my inner vixen. What ended up happening was quite unexpected. You see, I spent the greater part of my life learning the art of dance (again, see week 1). I spent most of my college career studying technique, choreography, and dance history. In all of those years, when I would tell people that I was a dancer, about 25% of the time someone would think that I meant that I was a stripper (this is especially amusing to me because I could easily turn stripping into a comedy routine - for me in particular, it is a thin line that separates the two). I would roll my eyes because I had a judgement about strippers and I thought I was above them. I thought that I understood and appreciated the art better than they did. I thought that I was superior.

I WAS WRONG! Now, I have taken some really really hard dance classes in my life. I have been taught by instructors who have had me in tears by the end of class. I have been so sore that I couldn't walk across a room. I have had bruises in places that I didn't know could bruise. As brutal as those classes were, they were nothing compared to the challenge I faced on that pole. It was so hard. I was so busy trying to keep up, I didn't even have the chance to focus on my sexy. I was in absolute awe of the instructor because she made it look so easy... and sexy.

When I was in college, a girlfriend of mine who was a soccer player made a comment to me about how she didn't believe that dance could be counted as exercise. I was both offended and flattered by that. Offended at her ignorance of how physical dance is, but flattered because it is the job of a dancer to make it look effortless. That is part of the art. When you see a ballerina en pointe (those brutal, satin torture devices that ballerinas strap to their feet) you are not supposed to know that she has probably lost most of her toenails and is bruised and blistered all over. If you can't tell, then she has done her job. While I was spinning around that pole, I realized that I had been as ignorant as my soccer player friend. I still have no idea how they do that and make it look sexy, it shall remain a mystery to me.

So, I'm still looking for my sexy, but I walked away with a whole new appreciation for "that" kind of dancer. I never like to think of myself as a judgemental person. I know that I don't like to be judged, and I know how often I feel judged, but I never realized how often I judge others with really no idea what life is like for them. This experience caused me to take some inventory, and modify the old Native American adage, "never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their... lucite stripper heels?" Not as catchy, but it'll do... for me.

Next week, I'm going to ride a mechanical bull... I hope.

1 comment:

  1. *bowing to your confidence* I just can't even imagine... I've tried belly dancing and the stripper dancing, but ALWAYS within the comfort of my own living room. Each time, I felt like a complete dork and vowed to never do it again.


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