Okay, for clarity sake, I’m not a stripper. So you won’t find me booty-poppin’ at the club. Not to say I never fantasize about doin’ my thang at Sin City in the Boogie Down. But instead, you’ll find a slightly tamer version of myself swinging around a pole with a bunch of hockey moms, high school teachers, corporate professionals and nurses... in a pole dance studio where I teach the sensual, yet very athletic art of pole dancing.
Who do I blame for my pole addiction and new career as a pole dance instructor? My “sister-friend” aka ”Gemini twin”! Just cuz years ago while visiting me and my EX in LA I recommended that she open a pole dance studio in NYC like that Sheila Kelly chick I saw on Oprah; didn’t mean I had any interest in it. As it was, I was trying to parlay my way out of careers that relied upon my own physical well-being for a paycheck. Dancer, aerialist, massage therapist, Pilates Instructor. C’mon, now! At some point, this body’s gonna shut down. That’s why I decided to become a writer; so I can finally sit on my ass all day while nursing cups of coffee or red wine.
Well, little miss “Gemini-twin”returned to NYC, got all entrepreneurial and launched a successful pole dancing studio which subsequently morphed into 3 studios! Not only that but, inspired by her successful background as a fitness competitor, she partnered with another pole dancing powerhouse to launch a pole dance federation whose mission is to host pole dance fitness competitions in theaters (rather than strip clubs) with professional judging and scoring systems (rather than judging by way of audience applause). Yep, as ignorant as I was about the WWE’s appeal to mainstream culture, I was even more ignorant about the international, underground subculture of pole dancing as a competitive sport and art-form!
As soon as I landed in NYC my “Gemini-twin” was relentlessly trying to lure me into this worldwide sisterhood of polers by recruiting me as an instructor. A pole dance instructor?! How was I gonna do that? Uh, that would require that I actually learn how to pole dance! Did she forget that I’m a perfectionist and my husband just left me? I didn’t feel like I had the mental fortitude or stability to handle a possible slow learning curve. What if I completely sucked at pole dancing? The potentially new levels of self-loathing and depression seemed ominously frightful. Most of what was holding me together up until this point was the sense of security and confidence I felt as a seasoned and experienced performer, Pilates Instructor and Massage Therapist. My fragile ego took refuge in the much needed applause and adulation I received from audiences and clients. I didn’t know if my frazzled mind, broken heart and jam-packed schedule could endure the time, patience and discipline needed to get to the point where I could actually teach pole dancing. Opening myself up to something new meant opening myself up to more failure. And I still didn’t know how to cope with the failure of my marriage.
Well call me a sucker ‘cause, next thing I knew, not only was I teaching pole dance but; us Gemini twins merged our skills and created an organization that educates, trains and certifies pole dance instructors around the world. So, I quit my Pilates & massage gigs to dedicate my time to our entrepreneurial endeavor, teach pole dance and perform. The stars were finally aligning themselves. My passions, priorities and life direction were becoming far more clear. In fact, they were merging together to help me forge the life l had dreamed of; one of constant intellectual stimulation and challenge balanced with artistic and creative self-expression. Nothing was perfect yet. Better, but not perfect. In fact, there was still a big void in my life.