Monday, April 30th, 2012
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Emotionality & Sexuality ~ Immersion
In October of 2011, I participated in a two week sensual dance intensive called Immersion via Sheila Kelley S Factor. Each day we had discussions, journal prompts, readings, exercises and movement as part of our curriculum. Each day, we also had a particular theme that was our focus. On one particular day we talked about EMOTIONALITY and SEXUALITY as it related to the soul of your “erotic creature.” Remember, “Erotic Creature” is what S Factor calls it. Long before S Factor, I referred to this part of myself as my Inner Siren. Claire Griffin Sterrett, the Editor of Vertical Art and Fitness as well as the author of The Pole Story refers to it as her Vixen. You can call it whatever you want. I find it to be the core of my sexuality, sensuality, desire and pleasure. In essence, it is all a part of me. It all makes up my being. BUT sometimes honing in on that particular part of yourself is more helpful. For instance, when you’re in the throes of awesome, mind-blowing sex, you know that part of you that comes out…. That animal bit….That carnal seductress? You know that feeling you get when you see something or someone you want? All those things that activate your erotic nature….. is what I refer to as your SIREN. I will use the words SIREN or EROTIC CREATURE interchangeably.
On this particular day we spoke a lot on emotionality and sexuality as it related to our sirens. Our instructor for instance was quoted as saying, “The physical expression of your emotionality. The sexuality in your body…. All of that is your erotic creature.” Now because this is a movement class focusing on sensual dance this makes sense. There are other ways we physically show our emotions. Kids are experts at this. They get mad or upset or pissed OFF and they throw their body to the ground. They stomp. They shout. They wither. Or a kid might find themselves full of joy and they jump and shout and twirl and flip and roll. Children are so awesome at physically expressing their emotions.
What about you? What if you had to move beyond a simple physical action? What if in any given moment you had to freestyle dance whatever emotion you were feeling? Even though the class is sensual..i.e., the engagement of your senses… it doesn’t mean every dance has to be overtly sexual. When I dance with the emotion of sadness, its hard to describe that as sexy. But its emotional, sensual and full of heart.
When you dance in pole classes, especially during your freestyle sessions, what emotions usually come up? Its true that we can experience the range of emotions but just as S Factor ascertains, I would have to agree, your SIREN has an emotional core. For instance, I recall watching one of my classmates dance each day during the immersion and it was clear that her Erotic Creature was full of joy and happiness and rainbows. It didn’t matter the song, the outfit or the assignment, every dance was full of light filled love, cheerfulness and bliss. She danced with a bright smile on her face. I’d never seen it before. That’s different that one of my Siren’s, “ISIS”. I’ve mentioned before that I have two Sirens. SLY and ISIS. ISIS’s emotional core is aggression, power, sultriness, seduction, rage, and dominance. SLY’s emotional core is coy, playful, suggestive, passionate and affectionate. Whether those are technical emotions or not, you get the point.
Actually, let’s look at what makes an emotion so that we’re on the same page of what it means to engage your emotionality and sexuality into your movement. According to the dictionary an emotion is an affective state of consciousness in which¬† joy, sorrow, fear or the like is experienced as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.¬† What the what?, you may say. Well, a cognitive state of consciousness pertains to the mental process of perception, memory, judgment and reasoning. A volitional state of consciousness pertains to the act of willing, choosing or resolving. So back to the emotional consciousness, it’s the affective side of who you are. It’s your feelings. There may be no rhyme or reason to it. There may be no justification, cause or need for alarm. Sometimes our emotions are triggered by particular people or situations and sometimes they are not. It’s no matter. The point is that your emotions seem to be similar to what a freestyle dance is. You know how you just move with what feels right. You don’t think about it. You just breathe and move without reason. This is different from a choreographed dance where there is a logical next 8 count step. Choreographed dance is similar to what your cognitive state of consciousness is.¬† And you choosing to dance in the first place goes towards what it means to be volitional. Have I lost you?
What are the feelings inside of you? What’s bubbling beneath the surface? If you had an entire room to yourself, any music that you needed and assured support that no matter what emerged from your body’s movement, what emotion would surface? Even if you had no reason for it. Logic doesn’t have to apply. What comes out of you when you tap into yourself?
Sometimes people feel that in order to really have an emotional connection to anything, including movement they have to experience something dark and heavy and gut wrenching. I mean, it’s not really a heart-felt dance unless someone cries, right? I’ll refer back to our immersion instructor who is quoted as saying in regards to how we dance, “Connect emotionally. Know that sobbing in the corner isn’t the only emotion. Joy is an emotion. Confusion is an emotion. There are all kinds of emotions. You don’t have to have a break down. Let me repeat, you don’t have to have a breakdown to have a break through.”
What are the impulses of your body? I remember when I first started dancing in this way, SLY immediately emerged. I think this is because SLY the Siren has been a part of my life for years. I have been a flirt since college. I have been a tease, wearing summer dresses and a suggestive twinkle in my eye since I can remember. It was so easy for me to tap into that part of myself when I danced. SLY will always be a part of me. But then I started digging deeper, I started giving myself permission to let any emotion out of me. That is when I started seeing aggression and dominance. That’s when I started seeing a darker, sadistic part to myself that loved to come out. I never knew this of myself. I think before S Factor, this may have frightened me about myself. I probably would have judged too quickly and stifled that within myself to appear appropriate and ladylike but when it was my turn to dance, a creature so fierce, daring and sometimes evil came out and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Around the time that SLY the Siren started to show a clear difference within me than ISIS the Siren, I was asked the following question, “Why does your erotic creature get up to dance?”
In my journal I wrote, She needs to break free. She needs the freedom to express herself. She needs to lash out and be in control. When I dance I feel as if I’m telling a story. I’m trying to get to something or someone or to get away. My body is yearning.”
If asked that same question today my initial response would be almost the same. Each week I pick a song, a mood, a costume and more because I NEED to express myself. I need to find a physical way to get the emotions and feelings outside my head. I need freedom. I need exploration. I need a challenge. I need the sex of this dance. I need the safety of the room to explore my own danger of dominance, control and sadism. I need the openness to explore my sensual pleasure. That is why SLY and/or ISIS gets up each week.”
I see that I’m speaking mainly on emotionality. Perhaps this is because I am one of those that dismisses emotions too quickly. I don’t like to dwell on them for too long. I’d rather deal with cognitive reasoning and my own volition than dwell on sadness or even joy. I do well to acknowledge them but I find I don’t stay in them for too long. Perhaps this is why dancing is so important to me. Its one of the rare times I give myself permission to live fully in the extremity of my emotions. Hmmm. I wonder.
However this post wouldn’t have the title it did without addressing the sexuality. And by sexuality, since I did attempt to define its perimeters in a previous post, I mean the sex, the desire, the passion and the seduction. You know, the ooze, the connection and the energy play of one human to another. By sexuality, I do not mean your gender, your sexual preference, how you birth babies and your knowledge of your genitalia with their proper names. All those things hold importance but for the relevancy of this post by sexuality, I mean the smoldering desire that lives in your body, dripping out your pores and begging or demanding to be addressed.
As I explore the movement and expression of my Siren, I try to embody my emotionality and sexuality. So even though ISIS is full of rage and sadism, she is not without the sex. She is a SIREN after all. Therefore, I don’t get lost in my emotions. I move with them and through them and against them but I don’t lose my self by being engulfed in rage or passion. Am I making sense? One of the ways to ensure that I don’t lose my cool and become an emotional dancing nutcase is to remember the sexuality too. If possible, I ask myself, is there a way to infuse my sensuality and/or sexuality into this movement too? They are all interesting things to think about and interesting things to physically explore. What do you think?
1. What’s your Siren’s emotional core?
2. What activates your erotic nature?
3. How do you normally physically express your emotions in your day to day life outside of dance class?
4. Why does your Erotic Creature get up to dance?
Below you’ll find some of my most recent pole dancing posts.
Below are some of my favorite sexy musings.