Yes. Yes it is.
But, to my delight, the question was not whether pole dance would survive. This year at the first pole dance meet of the season, in Nashville, I found the answer to that question already written in the sand; it was “No, but you can be a pole dancer.”
Not just anywhere you want
To get a fuller understanding of this statement, I spoke with three pole dancers in the U.S. and three in Britain: one woman, one woman, and one woman both male and female. The first woman, who has worked in the business since 1993, told me her “first and foremost” goal was to be able to dance at a local competition. However, she said, “I feel the need to dance well to be good at it.”
“When I first started, pole dancing was pretty much everywhere in New York City,” she said. “But not anymore, thanks to pole dancing clubs. So, the question became, ‘What am I not good at doing, and should I be trying to change that?'”
Another woman, who has worked at the city pole team since 2008, was first recruited from a performance center, then moved to a dance school for two-and-a-half years. During the time when she was doing performance art, she also danced competitively. “When dancers move, their body language says a lot about the emotion they are projecting. The body language is what gets your message across.
“But dancing competitively is hard work. There’s a lot of stress involved, and that’s what people don’t like. Even though they are trying to keep a low profile, they don’t get the respect they deserve. They don’t get credit that often—maybe because pole dancing isn’t considered a ‘real’ sport. You don’t get recognized, you don’t get the prizes.”
Although dancers in New York City are required to pass rigorous entrance exams and attend classes to learn how to dance at the advanced level, dancers in the U.K. generally don’t get the same opportunities. “To be honest, it was really hard. You work really hard, and I didn’t do well at school, and then I moved to a dance school to practice, but the thing that really made me quit was that if you dance well, other dancers will be less likely to get to learn from you. I felt like I was letting my friends down when there were people around me who were
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