I love pole dancing. I tell everyone I know how amazing it is, but because of the reactions I've gotten in the past, I haven't always been eager to open up about it.
When I tell people about my pole dancing classes, I sometimes get raised eyebrows or an awkward silence. I know some people associate this exercise with exotic dancing, but I've never set foot in a strip club.
Yes, I am much stronger and more flexible because of this exercise. But there is so much more to why it has transformed who I am.
It’s because of that other part that pole dancing has been such a healing experience for me and I believe, has the power to be a healing experience for all women.
These are three things that I have learned about pole dancing over the last year:
1. A pole dancer isn't necessarily doing it for the viewer's pleasure. She might just be dancing for herself.
I started dancing at the beginning of this year. At the beginning, I was totally in my own head and uncomfortable, overthinking every move. I felt awkward, and as if the whole class was staring at me, wondering, “Who the heck is she to dance this way?”
But as the weeks ticked on, that inner-critic began to quiet down while my body began to get louder. Tuning my inner-critic out was so healing, and I began to take that experience with me outside of the studio.
Pole dancing is an inner-journey. I feel the difference in my own body and soul, but because of the common association, many people still see me as just another woman dancing for someone else's pleasure.
We automatically think that the viewer (typically, a man) is the subject, while the woman dancing is merely an object. I felt the same way for so long! It’s only after I actually started doing the movement that I realized that the woman dancing can be the subject and heroine of her own story, and she might be dancing for no one but herself.
2. Pole dancing is about reclaiming feminine movement.
Women are sensual creatures, and it felt so good and natural for me to move in a circular and undulating fashion. My body longed for it! We used to dance like this without shame. Fertility dances were said to help the crops grow, as a woman’s fertility was inextricably linked to the Earth’s fertility in ancient times.
This movement was later branded as dirty and dangerous, instead of life-affirming, as it once was, and confined to male-dominated strip clubs. I think it’s high time we take back this movement for ourselves.
3. Pole dancing is a celebration of the female form.
It connected me to my body, and showed me that what is sensual can also be sacred. This movement honors the feminine in me, as it can in anyone. In many of us, the feminine has been crushed, pushed aside, or hidden deep within us, in order to allow us to survive and thrive in a masculine world.
Too often we are told that we are too emotional, too sensitive, or not logical enough. Reconnecting with that softer, creative part of myself brought me into a wholeness that would otherwise have been impossible.
Once I realized the power of this feminine movement, and how naturally it seeped out of my pores, I was finally able to let go, get out of my head, and allow my soul to express itself through my body. The first time it happened was a brief and fleeting moment, but I know that over time I will shatter entirely and allow my authentic self to be set free to the music.
I hope this captures essence of why I believe pole dancing can be so powerful for all women. Once you get past the constraints and taboo, there is such openness and expression lurking in your body, just waiting to be unleashed. If you are ever presented with the chance to try it out, I truly hope that you take it.