Sunday, May 30, 2010

Speech at DC Pole Convention 2010

Miss out on my speech at the DC Pole Convention last weekend?  Well, not to worry.  It's on YouTube!

The presentation is broken into four parts.  Click on the links below to view each section.

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: The Inner Temptress 

Part 3: Tools and Solutions 

Part 4: Questions and Answers 

And feel free to share it with others!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DC Pole Convention

Well, the Pole Convention was a blast!  Highlights included the BadKitty Fashion Show, an amazing showcase of your favorite pole stars including Felix Cane, Karol Helms, Alethea Austin, Estee Zakar, Mina Mortezaie, Amber Ray, Zoraya Judd, and Sally-Ann Giles.  There was a “Spins and Tricks Battle” won by MISTER Josiah “Badazz” Grant, and there were a number of workshops offered throughout the weekend.  All (well, almost all!) of our favorite vendors were there including Bad Kitty Exotic Wear, who launched their amazing new PoleFit line, PoleSkivvies,  X-Pole and The Pole Fitness Association.  And last but not least, there were a number of speakers who presented on topics ranging from pole going to the Olympics to the importance of eating right. The Convention was well attended and of course, incredibly fun!
            Aside from being fun, the pole convention had the benefit of uniting a group of people whose primary form of connection, until this weekend,  has been the internet and competitions.  It was both exciting and inspiring to see how far some women had traveled (Australia! Luxembourg!) just to be a part of this event.  And it spoke to the passion and the dedication that I think is an inherent part of this movement.  
            What I also found fascinating was how different each dancer’s performance was in the Showcase of the Stars.  Styles ranged from an elegant almost ballet-like performance to a sassy burlesque striptease, to several downright sexy, erotic dances.  I was very excited that Alethea Austin chose to do quite a bit of floor work in her routine – something that I think is missing in many of the studios. I was also rather pleased that the sensually based movements got just as much applause as the exquisite pole tricks.  Whenever a dancer would do something a little naughty, there would be quite a bit of shrieking and cheering from the audience.  It appears that women are just as excited about being sexy as they are about throwing tricks on the pole.
As many of you know, I spoke at the convention about bringing pole into the public eye, and how to deal with issue of sexuality in our dance.  I cannot tell you how happy I was with everyone who came and listened.  I was particularly touched by the stories some of you chose to share.  While I know that I did not address everyone’s concerns,  I WILL be writing about them in the future.  Your questions and comments renewed and affirmed my commitment to sharing the benefits of pole dancing with anyone and everyone who will listen!  I was thrilled to be able to present and per your requests, I will be posting my speech on YouTube by the end of the week.  Please feel free to forward it anyone who you think would be interested!  See you at next year’s convention!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

...And I'm Anchored Through My Vagina

I was recently hanging out with my friend Meghan B, a fellow pole dancer and a woman who is NOT afraid to be in her body.  We were talking about pole dancing, and women who pole dance and sharing some frustration about things that we sometimes felt were missing from our dancing, and sometimes from other women’s dancing as well.  Meghan was struggling to express exactly what she meant and so finally she just said, “It’s just like there is not enough of THIS!”, making a large downward V-motion  along her vagina with her hands, repeatedly.  I’m going to insert a picture here, so you can REALLY see what I mean.

“This?” I said, repeating the motion with my own hands, and trying to find words for it.  
“Yeah, this!”  She said, repeating the motion.
“You mean…Anchoring Through Your Vagina?” I asked.
“YES!” she said.  We exploded into laughter, but I knew exactly what she meant.  She was talking about this feeling that sometimes, despite all the hip circling and head tossing, there could be a real lack of sexual force and presence in the way we move.  That our seat, our pelvic floor, was somehow not connected to the earth, that somehow we weren’t really living in that sexual space between our legs, just making shallow attempts at it.  It’s an awful feeling.  Empty and powerless.

A few days later I was out with some of my other lovely friends (who have all either pole danced or are currently pole dancing, or are teaching pole dancing) for a mani/pedi/martini evening.  As we were letting our nails dry, catching up on each other's lives and flipping through the gossip magazines, Heather announced that Katie Holmes was set to play Jackie O. in some made-for-TV movie.  “Whaaaaat?”   Everyone was a bit surprised.  I pointed out that it was as weird as Jennifer Love-Hewitt  being cast to play Audrey Hepburn.  It just didn’t feel right, there wasn’t enough oomph, enough presence, enough weight or depth to these women, you know they just weren’t…and  all of a sudden I found myself making the downward V-motion along my vagina.  Rather emphatically.  My friends looked at me quizzically.  “Uh, no, we don’t know.  What’s…?” And they repeated the motion. 
“Anchored Through Your Vagina.” I explained.  They laughed their heads off.  And of course, they completely got it.
“I love how you said that, like it’s just an everyday thing…and it kind of should be!” said my friend Meghan S. (I have two Meghans in my life, and they are both splendid people).
“Yeah, sort of like ‘What did you do today?’ ‘Oh, I went to get a hamburger, oh and by the way,  I’m 
Anchored Through My Vagina” said my friend Julie.
EXACTLY like that!  For the rest of the evening, we inserted the phrase “Anchored Through My Vagina” whenever possible, along with the hand gestures.  Between that, and smacking our own asses at dinner to describe the way someone danced, we had quite the evening. 

At one point during dinner, my friend Meghan S. pointed out that it might actually be really important to have that sensation of anchoring, of external force coming from the vagina, because it so often spends its time taking things in.  She’s right.  We don’t spend a lot of time pushing out from our vaginas, unless we are giving birth.  Most of us are hardly aware of our pelvic floors in our day-to-day living.  And yet, there is a deep well of knowledge that lives in that part of our bodies.  It can inform us about our sexuality, our desires, our fears and our scars.  When we take the time to explore that part of ourselves in our dance, we begin to make friends with it.   And I think what also begins to happen is that we start to feel a certain weight and presence in our sexuality and in our movements.  The movement no longer come from our arms and legs, it comes from our pelvis, from our seat of power.  And this discovery gets translated into how we move in our everyday lives. 
So the next time you dance, see if you can find that connection to your pelvic floor.  And if you feel disconnected from your movement,  see if you can find a way through it by exploring the space in between your hip bones.  And the next time you are feeling distanced from your  sexuality, ungrounded or even disempowered, ladies,  simply point your hands into that  magical V-Shape (emphatically) and repeat these words: “…And I am Anchored Through My Vagina"!