There came a time for me, a year or two into pole dance, when I stopped trying to convince people that pole dance “wasn’t what they thought.” I was under the impression that it was VERY important to make sure people knew I wasn’t a stripper.
I used words like “circus” and “pole fitness.”
I came from a very conservative background, volunteered at my church, sexy wasn’t talked about and what people thought of me mattered. A LOT. I was performing, competing, learning all the cool tricks, body rolling and spending as much of my free time at the studio as possible. Soon telling people that ‘it wasn’t what they thought’ felt like a lie. Because when I was really honest with myself, I LOVED the sexy part of pole, I LOVED putting on heels and learning how to walk around a pole, the smile plastered on my face never went away when I did a hair whip. It was the first time I’d ever experienced sexy, without experiencing shame.
One of the first times I didn’t try to explain away what pole dance was, I said,
“I pole dance. And whatever you think it is, it is.”
It came together for me in that moment. Before that, I can honestly say I didn’t know what it felt like to not care. Over time plenty of people have tried to re-introduce me to shame, and obviously I’m not bullet proof, so it hurts. But I no longer try to justify what I do, or why I do it, or mislead them into thinking it’s something that it’s not.
Yes. Pole dance is absolutely a sport. Yes. Pole dance absolutely comes from strippers. Yes. Pole dance absolutely comes from ancient cultures. For me that’s the beauty of it. You can’t put pole dance in a box. One day we’ll be able to find it in on club stages and on the Olympic stage and that’s amazing!