This post was originally written months ago for a #PDBloggers blog hop. I don’t even remember what month. The point is, I never hit publish…. out of fear. ~ Sheena LaShay
Originally written sometime in the Spring of 2014. One thing to understand about the inspiration of this post is that its part of a movement that started a few years ago. The idea is to move past the life and person we present to the world (especially in the online world where it is so easy to pick and choose only the best parts of ourselves to share), and share some of the things we hold back.
I have STRUGGLED with writing my #PDBloggers blog hop post this month. I’ve tried every angle and ultimately, the truth is I need to just get honest and put myself out there.
When it comes to pole dance, these are the things I’m Afraid to Tell You.
1. I don’t get the hype of pole stars. In fact, I never even used that term or “pole celebrities” until people started referencing it in our private #PDBloggers FB group. That’s a thing? That matters? Apparently it does. There is a market for it. Some people will give tons of money to go to a “pole star” workshop. Name dropping that so-and-so is headlining your XYZ project is a thing. I don’t understand it though. But then again, I never bought a perfume because Britney Spear’s made it. I never did anything because a popular person did it first. But I’ve got to make peace that for other people, there is value in it. But still, when I hear the term “pole star” and “pole celebrity”…I roll my eyes on the inside. Maybe its semantics. What about pole inspiration? I mean, maybe its because I equate it with people saying, “I just want to be famous. I just want to be a star?” and when I hear that I think…famous for what? So basically, I need to adjust my attitude and get over it. (I just rolled my eyes again. Le sigh.)
2. I think people think I’m a better pole dancer than I am. Like, I’ve lost my outside leg hang. I can not do splits. I think I know less than 20 pole tricks. Brass Monkey, who? So being invited into a pole dance company? Being asked to perform as a VIP guest at a competition. Being given reign to dance whenever I’d like at Schtick It. Being invited to do the The Pulse Project, Siren series…I’m just like…how the hell did you ask me after asking Lara Michaels? I am a good dancer. I have a way of connecting to the audience in a way that many polers cannot or haven’t explored. I am uber sensual and fluid. I am a siren. But I’ve also never done a jade. I don’t know. I think sometimes I’m given too much credit.
3. I miss S Factor. (UGH!) Great product. Poor business practices. And if I vote with my dollar and display my values with my money…I just can’t. But sometimes I cheat, and if Aerial Amy emails me for a Flight Night at S with the girls followed by Thai Food and great convo, I will go. And part of me feels like a hypocrite for doing it because how can I give them my money after everything that has happened? And part of me feels so good in that dark room with red lights dancing in a way that no other studio in New York knows how to do.
4. I no longer watch most pole videos past 10 seconds. Most of the ones filmed as freestyles on smart phones are just poorly shot, so even if the dance is good, I just get bored. More of the professionally produced ones….all look the same. Why haven’t polers caught on to the genius of people like Glen Graham? (I get sick of even the pole videos I film and produce. It’s why my last film projects were not pole related….they were for a bakery, event space, boudoir client, non pole dance company and etc. Tomorrow I film for a fashion line.) Its just…even if the video itself is shot interesting and the dancer is awesome, the studio is boring or poorly lit. It’s just hard to actually come by an AMAZING well shot, aesthetically pleasing, innovative and creative pole video with an awesome dancer that keeps my attention. Can you please link an amazing pole video below? Requirements. Great and awesome dance. Creatively shot. Set design that isn’t a studio with a mirror. No dubstep music. (I actively seek them out on vimeo and share them on the PDBloggers FB page and even started a pinterest board for the awesome ones.)
5. I still am just as excited and in love with pole dancing and sexy and movement as I was day one despite everything that I know now. Thank god, I’m not jaded.
6. The people doing the most interesting work in pole, are not pole people. That’s interesting to me and there is a lesson to learn in it. Joanna, the producer of Schtick It…is not a pole dancer. She’s a comedian. She producers a monthly show and pays the dancers. How is that possible? Pole companies should pay attention to how she makes that work.
7. I think one day pole will be a respected art form, fitness form, sport and leisure activity. It may or may not be in my lifetime. I also believe pole will NEVER be that. I wonder which version is true. Can someone write a novel where there are two universes and we see what its like if both are true?
8. I wish pole people would stop talking about pole people and companies and studios behind each other’s backs like little bitches and grow backbones and have honest, adult conversations in person. I have a novel of emails, phone calls and more of every possible comment and bitch fest and most of these people have never actually said it to the person. EPIC FAIL. When I quit that pole dance company I was a part of, half the group had individual conversations with me about things they have not had with the leadership. EPIC FAIL. In fact, its a disservice. It’s not nice. It’s not helping the peace. That shit matters and rather than saying it to who needs to hear it, they say it to me. “Did you tell her this?” I would ask. Ugh. I was told one company was unethical because they stole campaigns from another company. Apparently its common knowledge. Did the company that was wronged, say anything? Or did they bitch at dinner with their friends? I don’t know. I’m not used to this. I’m not used to working with adult sized children playing games and calling it a business. I’m going to need everyone to take the one week Thomy Barton course on Accountable Communication Technology. It’s amazing.
9. I have an 11 foot spin/static pole in my UBER big bedroom and have danced on it less than five times. I can’t figure out the mental block.
10. I paid for a Studio Veena membership because new york studios weren’t doing it for me and I haven’t watched 2 full videos or participated in any challenges. I can’t figure out that block. (Well, also and then that “pole drama” happened and they banned me. Oh well.)
11. You know when I wasn’t blocked….when I was a student at S factor. (No, Sheena no!)
12. Sometimes the only cure to what ails me is to pole dance. Or if I’m sick, its better to dance. Or if I’m hurting, frustrated, angry or way too horny…the only cure is to dance. There is magic in that. There’s a market in that that we are not leveraging to our advantage.
13. Someone suggested that a pole company or a pole leader lead a panel on how studios/teachers/students/businesses in pole can learn to communicate about pole. No…actually…we need to push pass our rose colored bubble, HIRE a pr expert, marketing expert, AND communications expert that specialize in taboo industries, and high risk industries to head that panel. How this is not assumed…scares me.
14. A baby photography angel dies every time a poler takes and post an awesome pole trick photo that’s blurry, too dark, out of focus, and poorly composed. It’s like going on a once in a lifetime trip and taking the worse pictures ever to showcase it.
15. I have no illusions that the pole industry will be perfect. But I am baffled at how internally and sadistically destructive it is. That energy seeps into why some people, big brands and the public don’t want to touch us with a 1,000 foot pole. It has nothing to do with the hip rolls, stripper heels or booty shorts.
16. I have over 20 pair of high heels specifically for to be used in pole dancing. I want 20 more pair. You can never have enough pole dance shoes.
17. It really isn’t that serious. “It” being all of this. It’s a pole and its a class and a form of expression. It’s 2 hours spinning or slithering or dead man lifting. No one is going to get the nobel peace prize for doing a butterfly. In the history of mankind, poledancers.com is not going to be listed in that book. So chill out and just dance the fuck out.
18. But it also is serious. I personally know how pole…specifically sensual and sexual movement has transformed my life and helped me feel more human and more holy than anything in my life. And helping people make sense of sensuality and sexuality…shit that can cause world peace. So if done right, healing through movement could win somebody a nobel prize.
19. Overall, I am being a sourpuss in this post. I think my period starts tomorrow. Thank goodness for the Instead Cup because I can pole dance with it without fear of a string popping out of my booty shorts.
20. I think the pole industry doesn’t know or understand the value in the 100+ pole specific blogs that exist...but, I also see the pole industry not knowing as much as could be known about social media, marketing and community…so what can I expect. BUT, I also know 20+ women by name who have started pole dancing…not because of a pole star or “world renown studio” but because they read a heart felt post on my blog that resonated and gave an insider’s perspective. So when someone recently wrote, “little pole blog” in comparision to larger media companies…eh. Whatever. I’ve been blogging for 10 years. I know exactly what I’m doing. Here are some things to read:
- Blogs Outrank Social Networks for Consumer Influence – (This is separate from company blogs. Keep that in mind.)
- BlogHer: Women & Social Media Study 2014
I couldn’t tell you what frame of mind I was in when I wrote this post months ago. But I will say no matter my critiques, I absolutely adore and love this industry. It has changed my life. But considering my background is in Rhetoric and Culture and my favorite classes of all time where ones like Communication Criticism, Urban Sociology, Sociology of Sexuality and Theater and Culture…there is no way, that I just show up and dance. Knowing how invested I am in this industry both personally, emotionally, spiritually, sensually, and professionally, I know its important to voice my thoughts, opinions, excitement and critiques.
If this is the first pole related post you’ve read from me, also check out, “The ABC’s of Pole Dance.” And if you’re wondering why I just laid my shit out, check out my 2012 post “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You“