Now don't misunderstand, I've done a solo modern dance at a show that had a full packed house of 500 people. But not a pole dance. And even that show with 500 people I managed to get through by never looking at the audience. Part of the art of good pole dancing is eye contact with the audience, so I could no longer use the avoidance technique.
So this party was way ritzy and fancy and we were all served this fabulous steak dinner. That's right about the time I realize how terrified I really was. My stomach was in knots and my appetite was not so great. My heart was pounding like a rabbit's all through dinner and I couldn't slow it down no matter how much time I spent taking long, slow, deep breaths. And when I tried to get up from the table at the end of dinner, I had to sit right back down because I was so light headed. I was THAT nervous!
Then the show started. It's mostly girls having fun, right? Well low and behold, two of the girls were very clearly strippers or former strippers. You could tell by their pole work and floor work that they were the real deal. I was so intimidated! I'm a pretty good pole dancer from what I hear. But rarely can I hold a candle to the professionals. These girls are the real deal. This only contributed to my nervousness. But it also contributed to my resolve to make sure I go slow and give the best of all that I've got, not just the stripper type skills. But I was also nervous because these girls stripped down all the way. How can I compete with that when I'm only going to strip down to boy shorts and a bra?
And then my moment came. The DJ put on my Massive Attack and I did my slow, sensual stripper walk onto the dance floor as over 200 people watched me. I started with some belly dance moves and merged them into a deep arch backward on the pole. The audience was quiet, I was nervous. As I started to strip off my long skirt I could actually feel my hands shaking. But I'm a performer deep down in my heart and soul, whether it's acting or dancing, and the show must go on. And I made myself do everything right. I told myself to forget the nervousness and make eye contact anyway. And as I took hold of that pole and started walking, I looked up and scanned the front rows and I actually made eye contact with as many of those 200 people as I could! And I was so amazed that I could do it through all that terror and nervousness - that alone was such a huge victory!! In no time I was moving around that pole with all the years of training and love that I have for it and by the time I climbed up the pole and flipped upside down, 200 people were howling and cheering and screaming for me...OH...MY...GOD! I've never heard so many people go so crazy so many times over just a few pole inversions. I let Massive Attack take over and move my body and for the first time ever during a performance in front of an audience, I didn't have to think of or try to remember my next move. My body just flowed! Granted I couldn't do all my moves in just that 6 minute song, but I remembered enough to just go from one to the other without thought or effort. I floated through it, and the audience rewarded me again and again with the most incredible applause and cheering. All that hard work that built my skills to this point was bringing pleasure to so many people...it was heaven.
After the show I was stopped all night long by people telling me how much they enjoyed my performance. And of course girls wanted to know how I learned all that, at which point I whipped out my business card and told them they could learn from me! I couldn't have asked for a better marketing opportunity. I didn't believe it when it happened, but I was told later that I got more cheers and response than the other girls. I had to stop a moment and try to wrap my brain around how I could have possibly garnered more attention and response than actual strippers. I can only guess. Maybe weaving in the belly dancing. Or maybe because the average stripper moves so quickly. And I teach (and of course practice) a very slow, sensual form of pole dance which is more about being in touch with your body and expressing it than just putting on a show to look sexy. I think maybe it's because I wasn't trying to be sexy, I was just trying to tap into parts of myself that I love and share it with as many people as possible...and they loved it. I'll treasure this experience for a long time.
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