A blog I read recently had a post discussing Competitions and Showcases. To recap, Competitions focus on being the best at something and Showcases focus on displaying talent regardless of calculated merit. It’s a really excellent article, so read it if you get a chance.
It really got me thinking about why people dance publicly. More specifically, why I did so in a super-public way by putting it on the internet. I couldn’t possibly list all the reasons a person does anything publicly – recognition, validation, fame, fortune, inspiration, etc., etc.. But in relation to pole I think a few things stand out. Most seem to do it to teach, to compete, or to express themselves. Now, two of those things can ONLY be done publicly – that’s part of their function. The last one, however, doesn’t really have to be witnessed, does it? Well now we get into the subtleties of dance.
I’ve mentioned a few times (such as in my Men in Pole post) how I think there’s a real distinction between pole for sport/fitness and pole for dance. If you pole for dance, as I do, it’s all about how you feel. Sometimes that doesn’t need to be shared with anyone. But sometimes – well sometimes it does. Feeling something is harder or easier or more profound when other people see you. There are incredible benefits to a classroom environment and one of them is that you share your dance with other people. You witness their journey and they witness yours. You inspire each other to keep growing, learning, doing.
A showcase gives you a chance to dance in front of others in a new and different way. There are more people than in your class (maybe a few dozen, maybe hundreds depending on your venue). You get immediate feedback in a general way (clapping, etc.) and maybe in specific ways (conversations afterward) which is quite different than what you might get in class. And you probably choreograph a story rather than freestyle whatever your heart, mind, and body need at that moment. In telling that story, you now are paying respect to your audience – acknowledging that they are a part of this particular journey and are active in the process.
A video, however, is a different thing altogether. You may be alone in the room, with no external energy to feed off. You may or may not have choreographed a story and your audience isn’t participating at that moment with you. You do not get immediate feedback, and when you do it may be wildly supportive or wildly antagonistic (something that would never happen face-to-face at a showcase because the internet grants anonymity and some people are mean) – it may even be job-threatening for some. So it’s really quite a risk to put yourself out there with no guarantees about the results. When people create videos to share their dance, I think that’s very courageous and should be encouraged. As I was considering making a video, I was reminded that because others had blazed the same trail I found inspiration and encouragement to pole – I was able to see past any doubts about my body type, my skill level, all of that. And I decided that I wanted to do that for someone. If I put myself out there, maybe one person would say “huh, if she can do that then I can too.” Frankly, it’s been one week since my video was done and it’s still scary as hell. I’ve received tremendous support here on my blog and in real life and I’m still not sure it won’t bite me in the ass some day. But I wanted to share myself in a new way and my city doesn’t have showcases – yet. (Hmm, now THAT’S got me thinking!)
What are your thoughts? Have you ever poled publicly? How did it feel? Are you glad you did it?