Sensey. I’m making up a word. I can do that if I want to.
There is a seemingly perpetual debate in the pole world about whether pole should be portrayed as sexy or not. It generally discusses how pole is perceived by the masses. Some polers want the world to know and love pole so they strive to find the easiest connection to non-polers (ex. pole fitness). Some polers don’t give two shits what others think and resent implications that there’s anything wrong with what they like (ex. stripper style). I can relate to both those motivations. I think people are bringing up the right issues for this to be a meaningful discussion and I don’t need to add my voice to it at every turn. In fact, many other blogs in this month’s blog hop are addressing the important issues of public perception and technicalities. For instance, if we become too gymnastic, we become so much more competitive which might actually damage the community. What I need to lend my voice to is how I feel deep inside. Provoking you to examine how YOU feel deep inside.
“Sexy” – it’s a great word which means slightly different things to each person but has an overall impression that leads one to think of sex. “Strong”, “impressive”, “graceful” – all words with fairly well-defined meanings and if you saw a performance where someone was exhibiting these things, you’d know what you were dealing with. Sensey – that’s not a word, but I want it to be. Something sensual that leads you to think of the senses. When you see a performance like that – well that’s harder to understand and it might take a second to internalize it and respond. Is it something you relish or does it make you uncomfortable? Bored? Something else?
If a pole dancer grinds on the pole or floor, simulating sex, that can be sexy and you may or may not be down with that but I bet you KNOW how you feel about it. If a person does a handspring mount into an iron-x you can be damn impressed and KNOW how you feel about it. If a person drags a toe slowly up the calf of their other leg, that is sensual. You may find that you DON’T KNOW how you feel about that. Maybe the context of how or where you see it matters; maybe it doesn’t. In a pole dance it might not even fully register, but on the subway I bet it would.
Think about it this way. If your mom does any of those 3 things how would you feel about it? If my mom were to grind on the floor I’d be super UNcomfortable (even though I may like it if Alethea Austin does it). If she were to perform a super strong trick I’d be massively impressed. If she were to drag her toe up the calf of her other leg I’d wonder what was lingering in her mind – is she daydreaming and it just felt good or is she remembering some intimate moment or is she longing for intimacy that isn’t there? That doesn’t make me uncomfortable; in fact it kind of makes me want to get to know her better. (Hi Mom!)
As a poler I have so many choices to make. Am I “performing” and care what someone else sees and interprets? Do I want to focus on strength and grace or just let the music wash through me and move with abandon? If my mind is in control I can make the choice to be sexy or strong or sensual. But my mind is not in control when I dance. Not at all. I usually have no idea what happened when I’m done. My body longs for a movement and rewards itself instantly. It’s not deciding to look or be sexy. It’s not deciding to be strong and impressive. My body’s talking to itself and to the music and to the universe and it’s a conversation even I don’t always understand. I want that conversation to happen every chance I can have it.
What do you think? When you dance do you let your senses take over? When you see someone else dance, what resonates with you? Purely physical strength and grace or do you long to connect with the story being played out in their every movement?