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I’m stretching out of my comfort zone and did so twice in one night!  I recently read a great post about Pole Dancing Energy Play.  It’s so intriguing! In my studio the focus is entirely on self – nurturing and feeling and experimenting with our own movement.  Others are there in the room but we don’t dance for them, we dance for ourselves.  In the rare instances where we’re dancing in close proximity to each other it’s a magical dance of avoidance – respecting each others’ space and finding a way to move around each other.  Well – if I’m reading that post right, there’s a whole other way to occupy the same space and that’s intentionally, with focus on the other person, feeding off their energy and giving yours back to them.  INTENSE!

I told my group of dancer friends about this and one of my friends seemed interested in trying it, but we didn’t really know how to go about it.  The other night we were practicing at my house and we decided to try it out.  I’d say we had mixed results.  We tried to keep some eye contact and dance closer to each other (instead of avoiding) but we mostly found ourselves off dancing by ourselves.  I think this will take some practice!  It wasn’t entirely awkward but it was sometimes uncomfortable because I didn’t know where to go or how to interact. When I intentionally moved into her “personal space” (or so it seemed) I feel like a total creeper! 🙂

But wait – there’s more! 

As part of the weekly assignment for my class, the song I chose to dance to was Buttons by The Pussycat Dolls.  (Class was postponed due to an ice storm so I haven’t done this song yet.)  It made me feel like it should be a lap dance.  Now, some background – in my studio there is a giant comfy plush chair that we dance in/with.  We even have classes devoted to “chair dancing” and you can, if you want, imagine that someone is in the chair as you dance.  BUT NOBODY IS ACTUALLY IN THE CHAIR.  Since our class is meant to focus internally and not be FOR anyone else that totally makes sense.  Sure, you can take what you learn and put your significant other in a chair at home and dance for/with them, but that’s not what we do while in the class.  I wanted to put someone in the chair.  In the class.  So I asked my friend if she’d be down for that and she said yes and we tried it out while practicing.

Drama ensues! 

Okay, not really, but here’s what went down.  I didn’t feel like it was truly successful, but she did.  She felt like the dance was FOR her, which again is something we never do and it really was a different experience.  And it WAS for her – I meant it to be the whole time I was dancing.  BUT, I held back LOTS and to me that felt like I was disconnected and that it was just me dancing around “for” her instead of “with” her, if that makes sense.  I held back out of respect for her.  She hadn’t had a lapdance before; I didn’t know how she’d react and I didn’t want to invade her emotional space too much.  Then, as an experiment, we had my husband come out and sit in the chair and I danced again.  This time it was crazy different.  I didn’t hold back at all and I felt so connected and free and like I was dancing for AND with him.  Granted, I slipped up in my mindless joy of the dance and accidentally (almost) crushed his balls but he forgave me.  (Sorry again, baby!) She said she felt very voyeuristic and we talked about what was different between that dance and all the dancing she’s seen me do for 2 years in class.  We think the difference is that in class when we dance we mean to be seen (even if there is a certain intimacy) and people are “spectators” but this dance was so intimate (eye contact and energy, not ball-busting) that the person watching felt maybe they “shouldn’t” be watching.

I don’t know if my instructor would even allow me to put someone in the chair during class.  And if she did I don’t know what the other students would think (though I LOVE the idea of making them slightly uncomfortable and voyeuristic!).  But I wonder, if I decide to do it will I hold back and make it more like a “performance” or let myself entirely invade my friend’s personal and emotional space and really dance?