For a moment, imagine what the English language would sound like if you didn’t have any connector words or phrases at your disposal. Just try to speak normally, but don’t use ANY of the following: And, Or, But, However, Therefore, With, As, Then, After, Before, If, Because, So. Pretty quickly, you’d start sounding like your 1st grade reading primer: See Spot run. Dick rides a bike. Jane hits the ball. This staccato quality is not what we look for in the written or spoken word. It doesn’t flow together, it’s sharp, abrupt and rough on the ear. The same principle applies in dance.
Students are always so excited to learn a new spin/climb/inversion. Inevitably, I’ll look over and see all of them doing said new move over and over and over again until they’re dizzy, exhausted or both. Once they feel that they can repeatedly perform that new move correctly, then tend to catch my eye with an expression that says, “We took that move DOWN! We made it our b****! Can we learn something else now?” And then I ask the dreaded question, “Can you use it while dancing?” Their faces fall, lower lips protrude and it’s like I’ve rained on their parade.
Just having the strength and flexibility to complete a pole trick is an amazing accomplishment and something to be truly proud of on its own merit. However, being able to get into and out of that trick in a fluid manner – making it appear effortless and seamless – is a skill that’s even harder to develop. Transitional work is the best way to turn a good dancer into an exceptional one, just like taking the written word from “Dick and Jane” to Hemingway.
Have you ever been sitting around with your friends and played the ‘What’s your stripper name game?’ Put your first pet with the street you grew up on and, Voila!, Athena Primrose is born. (No joke, that’s really what mine would be.) Stripper names have been on my mind lately, let me explain . . .
We love to host bachelorette parties, girls’ nights out, etc. at the studio and at the beginning of each party, we have the women randomly pick their dancer nametag out of a basket and wear it throughout class. And I’ve been noticing that some interesting things always seem to happen. First of all, no matter whether it’s a quiet, demure bunch or an exuberant, ready-t0-party group, when the nametags go on, peals of laughter can be heard and any reservations about pole dancing go out the window. Secondly, it’s ALWAYS the shyest girl that seems to get the boldest name in the basket. If she wasn’t quite sure about this and her friends dragged her kicking and screaming, she’ll pull out “Pandora”. The fascinating thing is that, during the course of the party, she will inevitably begin to let go and really DANCE, spinning around the pole and swinging her hips. Her friends will then call attention to her new found skills and she’ll say, “Oh, it’s not me, it’s Pandora!!”
This got me to thinking . . . is it easier to give your “Pandora” alterego permission to feel confident and free than to grant that same permission to your ‘true’ self? The answer surfacing from the deepest recesses of my mind: Yes. Yikes! That’s unsettling. I’m always telling my students that exotic/pole dance is 25% physical and 75% mental, but maybe it’s an even more severe ratio when we’re not embodying a character. What is it that makes us so frightened to face our real, everyday selves?
Welcome to the maiden post of Studio Rouge, Columbus’ premier exotic and pole dance studio! No beating around the bush, we should probably get to the two most important questions any blog reader has: 1. What kinds of things are you going to talk about? and 2. Why should I spend my precious time reading this particular blog anyway?
Answers: 1. We’ll be talking about exotic and pole dance, about the fitness aspects that we love, about its amazing secondary effects like empowerment and self-confidence. We’ll gush about what inspires us, our students and how much we love them, our pole idols on YouTube, even silly things like how we feel when we put on a great pair of legwarmers. We’ll mention our pet peeves. (I could write ad nauseum about unpointed toes . . don’t get me started!) We’ll even talk about other kinds of dance we can’t get enough of – ballet, burlesque, jazz, tap. 2. You should read us if dance is your thing. You should read us if you’re working up the guts to take a class. You should read us if you’re already taking a class and have become slightly obsessed with all things pole. You should read us if you want to learn about something new and different that you would never expect to be interested in. But most of all, you should read us if you want to laugh and share in the sometimes-trivial-sometimes-life-changing triumphs occurring daily in our little red Midwestern dance studio.