Pole-dancing is serious — seriously sexy, seriously gorgeous and seriously hard. The strength and gracefulness gained by those who pole-dance pave the way for better health, flexibility, and often, restored confidence.
My idea for Project NÜ stemmed out of my belief that the only things a woman need to be are happy and healthy — like every other human. Not sexier, not smarter, not this or that stereotypical label; and not necessarily even against this or that stereotypical label. Being a woman — being a human — is beautiful because of our ability to self-determine — to absorb and observe ideals and characteristics we see in the world and change — or remain static — as we choose.
Pole dancing is such a wonderful example of an activity that, in the hands of forward-thinking women and men, is being reclaimed from an awareness that tends toward the negative (due to a more conservative takes on erotic dancing and stripping) and established for what it really is: an art, a sport, a passion.
I spent a day in Long Beach with Dara, a friend and role model, shooting her practice at Polarity Fitness, where she teaches. She spun and twirled. We mused with on life, traffic, pole and sex. Men walking down the street made full halts and gawked at the windows. She pulled the curtains open wide.
In Dara’s Words:
I discovered Pole Dancing 2 and a half years ago … from the first class I took I was immediately hooked!
From watching the transcendent confidence of other teachers and students, I started to understand what a moving meditation meant. And the more I came back, the more I began to explore my physical and expressive limits, the more I started understanding what it meant to meditate and empty the mind.
I guess I’ve changed the most in the fact that it no longer scares me to express my opinions or feelings or to pursue my aspirations. That’s not to say I’m thoughtless or crude, simply that I feel alright to be assertive because I know that I am enough.
It is an unfortunate stigma and is such a dynamic issue, not just with pole dance, but with many aspects of society. For example: her skirt is too short, she’s asking for it, her cleavage isn’t appropriately covered etc. Pole and in fact all forms of dance are by nature sensual. Sensual, not necessarily sexual. Sexuality is only one facet of human sensuality, but it is the acknowledgement and acceptance of all facets that complete a person. Denying sexuality or, in this case, repressing it, is a very toxic practice to accepting oneself as a whole person and this is where people are often misguided.
Pole dance can be sexual, and for some it is important to find that expressive release in that way as a form of self care… but it can also be strong, it can be vulnerable. The idea, for me at least, is to lose myself in expression of whatever I may be feeling that day in much the way runners and boxers release their inner tension or emotions or yogis empty their minds and lose their ego in their practice. Sometimes this expression is sexual, but it’s unfair to stigmatize an entire form of fitness based on one facet of the craft.
It’s hard to single out role models in this field just because I feel like I am surrounded by so many genuinely amazing people. Mothers that work and care for their families and still make time to come and connect with others in this community and share and often compete. In fact every competitor to me is a role model […] they pour their hearts out to us on stage and hope for us to like and accept them and that to me is a special level of courage and acceptance of oneself.
One of the things I love about pole is that there is constant learning. After two and a half years I am continuously learning something new and practicing, not perfecting. But the more you keep coming back to it, just like the more you condition your body to run just a little further everyday, the easier it becomes. Patience and consistency are key to this practice.
Physically I’ve come into the best shape of my life. When I began my aerial journey I was by no means physically active or fit. I came from an academic, sedentary lifestyle and traditional workouts never sufficiently mentally stimulated me to continue.
One of my favorite thing to do during my dance lately is in fact to introduce articles of clothing to dance in or around or express myself through like a flowy shirt that will move with my dance […]
My favorite move at the moment is the double falling angel on silks – it’s a trust fall and there’s a moment at the top when I look down and I can’t see the fabric behind me and have to trust and know that it’s there and that I’m going to be okay […] There are so many moments in life where you’re scared because all you can see is you and the ground so many feet below, but you have to trust that even if you fall, you are strong enough and able enough to save yourself. You alone are enough.
One of the things that I love about pole is that I am constantly mentally stimulated. My dance is continuously fueled by my own creativity […] I became more confident as a person, and especially as a woman. I was able to embrace myself as an emotional and romantic being and open myself to the world and to be vulnerable. Because even if I fell, I knew I was strong enough to save myself. I embraced what I did and did not want with myself and those in my life instead of what those around me wanted or thought I should do with my life. I feel much stronger, clearer, smarter, and more whole as a person than I’ve ever previously felt and finding this way to express myself has been crucial in that discovery.
NÜ, woman, to me is constant growth and self discovery. Woman is dynamic, expressive, emotional, sexual, whole and capable within herself.
bra: Beyond Yoga
shorts (similar): Bad Kitty – Onzie – Vimmia – MichiNY