One thing about owning your body – when you own it with touch and breath, you also begin to listen to it.
With this listening you slowly begin to hear your body’s voice. The body’s voice speaks through a tilt of a head, a curve of a hip circle, the shedding of a layer of clothing, and the arch of a back. This voice is subtle and powerful. Imagine standing your ground, hand on your hip, fully owning what you have to say. Your body is speaking here, along with your words.
This body-voice can range from a soft sweet vulnerability to a raging typhoon that is raw with anger. This voice oscillates on a spectrum between these extremes, in any combination on a given day, and in any order. This voice has oftentimes been muted for so long many people do not know they have this extra power, this extra oomph, this extra truth stored in their limbs. When we pole dance, we choose to showcase our body’s voice for the length of a song. Different songs will bring out different things “she/he” has to say. When we are new to pole dance, we are practicing how to listen to our body.
There is an echo with somatic psychology here as well, and this body-voice comes through bodywork, breath work, sound healing, and ecstatic dance. As one begins to practice, they will move through any pain and trauma stored in their muscles as they begin to breathe and let their soul free to shout. Whispers come from head to toe and from childhood to today – and as you listen, it gets louder. The things one’s hips have to say become especially intense as we store a lot of pain, guilt, shame and memories there. Most people’s hips are living locked up and they have “thrown away the key”. There is great potential for healing in this area. If that scares you, don’t worry, it’ll come if you do this work. There’s also that same body-truth in the flick of a wrist or a long slow head circle and there is lots to explore there too.
So too can volumes be said with clothing, and the choice to put it on or take it off. Imagine watching someone putting on their clothes – this has a message too, no? Here we arrive at the communication inherent in costume, make up and headwear. We play with this attire as though trying out notes in a song we’re creating. Perhaps we discard a layer when we dance. Performing an act, we choose very specifically which layers we wear, shed, and put back on again.
Finally, as we listen to our bodies and allow them to speak, we also become cognizant of sharing that voice with the viewer. Now that we’ve listened to our own body we start to allow “her/his” truth to be heard by others. Whether it’s the sanctuary of a pole class full of supportive peers, an audience of one lucky lover, or a stadium full of cheering football fans; your body will tell you if you are willing to share. You can easily imagine the things your body would share in each setting would vary, just as your mind would have different things to say in each scenario too. Whether sharing with a group of friends, speaking to one person, or shouting out to the masses while you dance on stage at a show – your body has myriad things to say.
***A note on private dances: your body knows who to trust and if you choose to share this movement with your lover/significant other/partner – then they are very lucky and should act accordingly. You can’t control a screaming audience at a cabaret show (and your choreography wouldn’t be nearly as intimate) but if you’re dancing for your special someone and they’re busy in their phone – STOP what you’re doing and remind them what is respectful to your body, mind and spirit. This is pole dance for goddess sakes.
Want more of this middle-aged body truth? Check out our patreon and join our ATREYU tribe. We’re trying to save Mother Earth one month at a time.