When I originally set out to put this piece together, I thought I might get one or two responses. I am so grateful to these amazing women for taking time out of their busy days to write their thoughts down for me. I never anticipated so many beautiful words and needing to split the post in two. If you haven't read my message, or the beautiful words of the ladies in yesterday's post, click here.
Like many women, I was first drawn to pole dancing because of the amazingly feminine movement, the mesmerizing flow, and unapologetic sexuality. When people ask me why I love pole dancing, I usually give the short answer. Because it’s naughty, and wickedly fun. Because it makes me feel graceful, strong. It led me to discover a side of myself I never knew was here all along, hidden beneath my (then) tailored suits. I love it because it challenges me and pushes my buttons. I love it because of the shoes. I love it because of the amazing women from around the world it has brought into my life.
But the honest answer is this - for me, the pole itself is simply a shiny metal stick in the room. Through my sensual movement practice, I have learned how to think down into my physical body, into the present moment…and all of a sudden, the entire world changes for me. I am transported. I can savor the way a delicious inhale ripples through my body and awakens a softer, hidden, more feminine, authentic part of me, inch by inch as it flows through my capillaries and veins. I can detect the tiniest thump of my own heart beating in my chest, my own internal rhythm. I can feel every fiber in every muscle aching to stretch awake and to take up space. I can feel how deeply my body longs to slow down and feel sensually alive, emotionally present in that exact moment. Every breath seems to pull back another layer.
And then, sometimes… when my hand or body touches the pole, as I’m in those moments… something magical happens. That cool metal in my hand becomes a dance partner.
April currently teaches in Houston, TX. For class info, message 'April Kaminski Instructor' on Facebook
Many have asked me what has pole dancing done for me and why I continue to do it? Well pole dancing has made me into a stronger more secure woman and showed me my worth. When I first started pole dancing I was insecure, angry, and didn’t know my worth. Most would never know because of how I carry myself, but that is a protective mechanism that we women of color are taught at a very young age. Do not allow anyone to see you sweat or know how bad things are in your life. No one would know that I was judged and pick on quite frequently when I was younger because I wore glasses and I was always super skinny. Being called skeletor, four eyes, skinny mini, and boyish tends to leave scars on your self-esteem that is hard to come back from no matter how hard you try. But with pole dancing it allowed me to embrace the woman that I have become, and know that people say things because they are not happy with themselves. “I know I am beautiful.”
In the pole dancing community you are allowed to freely express yourself with no back lash or judgement and your sisters truly support, which allows the walls to fall down and allows you to show your true self to your fellow sisters. It is amazing how many sisters I have made in the pole dancing community. But there are also those women that haven’t fully become secure within themselves and still judge women before getting to know them because they feel intimidated by them, which I have heard a lot. “Micka you are intimidating!” I never really understood that statement when anyone said that to me because if you actually talked to me, asked me a question, or asked me for help I am always there to help anyone.
Pole dancing allows me to express myself any way I see fit for the emotions that I might be bottling up inside. Pole dancing gives me a release of toxic energy like any good weight lifting session at the gym. Pole dancing allows me to dive into dancing, which has always been my one true love. I gave up dance for nursing in college because I needed to be a responsible adult, but pole dancing allows me to dive back into my one true love again, and again. Which brings me to why I teach? I teach because I want women to learn to love themselves more, love the art of pole dancing, and just have the freedom of dancing with no judgement. I am a teacher that will nurture you, but I will also push you to points that you didn’t know you could achieve. CANT has never been in my vocabulary and it will never be in my students.
“Love yourself first or else no one else will” Words to live by.
Micka currently teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
I started my pole dance journey out of curiosity. It was a different type of workout, it was sexy, it was not the usual workout. I found a studio , and it literally changed the trajectory of my life. I found myself looking forward to the class each week, looking forward to the potential soreness, and pole kisses (bruises), and learning badass tricks. Well, I did not come away with this arsenal of pole ninja tricks, nor was I the badass. What I found was a sanctuary. What I found was a grounding feminine movement that spoke to my body and soul like no other modality ever had. What I found was a community of like-minded women who supported each other without fear of judgment, reprisal or rejection. I found a home for my storm of body emotion, and a reservoir so willing to be filled with my love, anger, sadness, joy, laughter, tears, power, strength, softness, sensuality, sexuality and anything else I was willing to share. I found a deeper emotional body connection and how to express myself fully through movement. I've laughed, cried, held and been held by the most amazing women and am forever grateful to have them in my sister-circle as my tribe, my warriors, my sisters.
Lisa currently teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
I believe that through pole dance every woman can come to believe in her own strength and beauty.
Pole dance is a whole-body workout with so many personal and health benefits. I quickly gained in strength and was able to do the first press up of my life! My flexibility, coordination, and balance improved. And over the years I have come to respect and admire what my body is capable of and what it can endure.
For me though pole dance goes so far beyond the physical benefits. It is honesty, wisdom and expression of one's true self. I dance to be me and I go to the studio to feel part of a community. The women I am blessed to train and dance with have become my sisters.We share our dedication and we share our hearts.
Pole dance is a journey with many paths. We get strong, build muscle, gain confidence, make new emotional connections with our bodies and our movement. Sometimes we are stuck at a cross roads or even move backwards and it's tough to find the right path again. But we pick ourselves up and move forward with the support of our sisters.
As great as we feel when we first achieve a challenging move on the pole, sometimes our greatest milestones are when we break through more personal, intimate barriers. I've watched many amazing women struggle for weeks to find, or to allow themselves, that connection. That first time that each of us truly let's go and lives in the moment of ourdance. It's a great achievement and a wonderful release, and I feel beyond privileged to watch my sisters reach that point in their journey.
Charlotte is the owner and teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
Pole dancing changed my life. From the very first class I took, it was like someone dropped a boulder into the ocean that is my soul and effected ripples to each cavernous corner of my existence. I am in love with the movement: how powerful, feminine, graceful and sexy I feel all swirled together in exquisite inimitability. I am in love with myself: there is no one else on earth like me; I am exceptional! Who would have ever imagined that I’d discover all of this by way of a shiny, metal dance partner? It is with a heart full of excitement and gratitude that I persist along this journey of self-discovery and moreover, reinvention. I feel like I’ve uncovered the fountain of youth, as I have never felt so alive, joyful and liberated in my body.
To me, the pole is a symbol of freedom of expression. It helps us to break taboos, cross cultures and bring wholeness to our community of sisters. We celebrate each other and rejoice in the magnificence that is woman! Acceptance, encouragement and unconditional love are some of the most amazing gifts we share in this sisterhood. Our tribe always welcomes new members, as the brilliance of the whole only becomes magnified with expansion. One day, we sisters will stand hand-in-hand across the globe, unified in allegiance. One day, every woman will realize her right to feel this way, and to own, accept and love her body in all of its magnificent imperfection. This is my dream!
We women are creators of life. For centuries our ancestor mothers have moved, have danced, and have swayed those God-given voluptuous hips to the beat of music. There’s something wild, untamed and instinctive about this movement that travels beyond conscious thought. By turning off the mind chatter, finding breath and allowing the body discover her natural path and rhythm, one may be amazed to realize that she has abilities she never thought possible and start to see herself with fresh eyes unclouded by a lifetime of self-doubt. She might never again fit into the insignificant confines she’s known in her former existence. She, too, may find herself forever changed.
I first walked into a pole studio about 4 1/2 years ago, looking for a fun, different, and challenging workout. But I quickly learned that that pole dancing was much more than just a "fun workout." I found the beauty of flow, the strength of feminine movement, and, most importantly, the pole community. The women in this community(lawyers, nurses, teachers, and moms) have loved me without judgment, believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and held space for me when I wasn't strong enough to carry my burdens alone. And they've allowed me to do the same for them. No doubt about it, pole has physically changed me. I'm strong enough to hold my body weight with one leg. I trust my body to fly and spin around the pole with one hand. I've challenged my body to show me how the world looks upside down. And through three surgeries in four years, including a pregnancy (with twins), my body has, thankfully, not let me down. But those physical changes pale in comparison to the inner strength and self acceptance I've gained from being welcomed into the pole community.