"Oh, look at her well-trained body." Crap, her long legs looking amazing." "How am I supposed to keep up?" This feeling of looking right and left and comparing our bodies to others is probably familiar to everyone, and it’s very common. When we do this, our mind starts to tell stories and we lose ourselves in abstruse ideas, our own truth and ideas.
I had exactly these thoughts and fears as I was sitting in my sport top and short pants in my first pole class. Although I was quite excited, I did not feel very comfortable in the short pants, but I was told that showing skin is necessary for the grip on the pole. A few seconds into the class, many of my fears had disappeared, and the trainer lightened up the mood, and picked everyone up and swept them away to the world of pole dancing. In this hour, I forgot space and time, and one thing was clear: I do not want to miss this feeling of acceptance and the mixture of sport, fitness and sexy movements. My journey started.
A journey of self-acceptance through pole dancing
Now, five years later, I think pole dance is something very special. Something that has helped me enormously in my self-acceptance …
Pole dance offers much more than just fitness. The pole dance community is now very big, international and super diverse. Every human being, regardless of cultural origin or sexual orientation and identification as male or female, is accepted. The subject of the body is often very present, because we are together half naked in front of a big mirror with other people in a room.
In the pole dance scene, a safe space is created in which everyone can simply just BE The body is celebrated and does not have to conform to any "ideal" or social norm to perform tricks or specific movements. Among other things, pole dance is a space for personal self-expression and a way to break out of norms.
Personally, I have learned to find myself beautiful and attractive through the sport and the pole community. Our community accepts every body shape, a both the body & nudity are seen in a positive way. Now working as a pole instructor, in my classes it is very important to create a positive energy and to convey that we are all goddesses, regardless of society’s ideals of beauty. This is important because in our normal life, how often are we told what is right and wrong and how our bodies should be?
Breaking the stigma
We still face prejudices and sometimes have to breathe deeply to disregard the inaccurate assumptions and opinions shared by outsiders have about the pole scene.
Still, to outsiders, pole dance is often associated with something dark or dirty. I do not think it's correct to call pole dance stripping. But also an extreme demarcation of dancers of the pole dance scene from the stripper scene I do not see as an appropriate solution. I see stripping as an art and dance expression that goes hand in hand with mental strength.
There are many different styles and reasons we have for doing pole dance. You can do it as pole fitness or pole sport as well as doing exotic pole dance or pole contemporary and much more. We use the body to express every kind of feeling and style, and this should be seen as a positive not a negative!
The problem with Instagram and Pole Dancing
I also see a big problem of repression of pole dance on social media (particularly on Instagram), with many dancers regularly blocked, shadow banning is an important topic, as it symbolises the oppression of pole dancing and women by media and society, with many pole dance-related hashtags now banned.
There is nothing profane or pornographic about what we do as dancers. Pole dance is artistic, entertaining, fitness-based, performance-based and sexy. The ban on hashtags in connection with pole dance makes it difficult for the dance community to interact with each other and to feel the pride.
For example, female bodies are monitored on Instagram. A trend that does not apply to male bodies in any way to the same extent. The female body is punished or classified as "inappropriate". One of the relevant hashtags #sundaybumday has also been blocked, which is a body-positive celebration of our pole culture.
Pole Dance and its scene or community offers is incredibly valuable, and helps me celebrate my diversity, strength and creativity. An incredible world has opened up in which I can live my life, create new connections and feel strongly connected with others.
Text by Tatjana Brumund
Preview Image Tatjana Brumund taken by Alexander Bob