It is art, isn't it? I mean I went to an exclusive school for it (for a month) and even paid private tutors at the school to advance my skills. All together, including tuition, gas to drive to the school in LA and food and expenses and such, it cost me roughly $1,000 to attend that pole dancing school last November. And that doesn't even include the roughly $1,300 to $2,000 in wages I chose to forgo in order to take an entire month off from working to do this. I even installed a pole in my home to practice. Does the combination of a formal class education and semi-regular practice (meaning I stopped practicing for about 5 to 6 months this year but I'm trying to get back into it) qualify my dancing as my art?
Yet when I wanted to write yesterday about how well my pole practice went Monday night, I did not do so for fear of being labeled an attention addict. I know of a couple musicians in the goth scene. They play in bands and whenever their bands are playing at a local club they post on different message boards and Live Journals and make fliers all trying to get folks to come out and see them and listen to them play their music. Nobody calls that attention whoring. There are a few artists in the scene and they try to get their work shown in coffee shops and post on message boards and LJ asking people to please come out and see their work at the art walk or coffee shop or where ever they can possibly get their work shown. No one calls them attention whores. Yet I enjoy bettering my dancing skills by practicing and I love it so much I often post about this pole trick or that pole trick that I'm improving and sometimes mention that I'll be practicing at the Vogue (and post pictures) -- and I sometimes get the feeling that people assume I'm asking for attention rather than showing off a difficult and often challenging art form that I'm incredibly proud of.
Tell me if I'm wrong. But I think it's because people associate pole dancing with sex. They are conditioned by movies and television to believe that women who perform on a pole do so with the sole purpose of sexually arousing their audience (usually to the ends of soliciting money for a lap dance). Is this where the confusion lays? Or is it because when I perform at the club, I am often wearing sexy outfits. If I went to the Vogue and pole danced in baggy sweat pants and big oversized ugly sweat shirt, would folks be less likely to associate my pole performances with being sexually explicit or attention whoring? Or am I simply imagining all this and you folks see my dancing as much as an art form as playing music or painting? And does the fact that I sometimes get paid to wear sexy outfits and dance (the dancing I'm paid for does not usually include performing on a pole) lend more credibility to my chosen form of expression (dancing) being real "art" or is it the time and practice you devote to your skills or the number of people who enjoy the product of your work what makes it "art"?