tagReviews & EssaysMother-Daughter Pole Dancing?

Mother-Daughter Pole Dancing?


Pole dancing for fitness is the "new" thing. It was bellydancing there for a while, and that alone was controversial enough for some communities. Women writhing seductively, rolling their hips, moving their pelvises like Elvis on fast-forward? *gasp* What's next!?

Apparently... pole dancing. Not just pole dancing, though. No. Pole dancing - for kids. The mother-daughter version. You, too, soccer mom, can bring your child, as young as eleven, along with you to learn how to hang upside from a silver pole and gyrate her hips like a top. Once she's learned this amazing skill, I'm sure it will come in handy. Maybe when she's out there trying to get a job. Under "hobbies" she can list: pole dancing. I'm sure that will get her foot in the door at lots of Fortune 500 companies.

All kidding aside, though, I read an interesting question on a blog posed about the topic of pole dancing as a form of exercise: "What if it was called 'fitness with a vertical bar?'"

Good question! But can you imagine? Maybe 'pole dancing' will actually morph into our next gymnastics/Olympic event? They added that one event where they dance with ribbons or something, right? Why not pole dancing? Er, I mean, "fitness with a vertical bar?"

I doubt it's going to happen, though, especially in my life time. Honestly, I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with that kind of dancing, per se. The classes aren't about taking your clothes off - they're about the dance moves. But there are probably just too many negative connotations with the type of dance it is for us to really accept it into the mainstream. Still, a part of me wishes girls were being encouraged to dance more. Any kind of dance.

When my kids started reading, my sisters had a fit that I let them read Goosebumps and Harry Potter. My contention: they're reading. That's all that mattered. I think dance is one of those things that has been taken away from the feminine in our culture, and it's sad and maddening to me. Not women dancing for men - that's clearly still alive and well - but women dancing for the expression of the core of their feminine selves.

There's an incredible book called Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance by Iris Stewart about how dance is an innate part of a woman's psyche. The "body" and its expression falls into the archetypal realm of the feminine. (And when I say feminine and masculine here, I don't necessarily mean gender, i.e. male and female. Men have a feminine side and women have a masculine side.) So when we talk about women's bodies, we are in many ways talking about a temple, a vessel.

Stewart says: "A woman's psyche resides in her body, and her wisdom grows out of an instinctual and acquired knowledge of what to do with her body... Her dance comes out of the womb of her experience when she has had to go deep within and labor to bring forth her own power. A woman gives herself over to the dance because of her need for the creative process that wants to be given form through her. Potential takes shape in the dark and becomes active in the light. Like a birthing, it comes out of her, yet has a life of its own."

Oh, that women could reclaim this body-sense!

In our culture, bodies - especially feminine ones - are seen as awkward, embarrassing, messy, and generally a problem. So many young girls abhor their moon cycles (periods) and would rather stop menstruating altogether. Anorexia and bulemia are rampant and afford girls a way to attempt to "get rid of" the problem of the body. We've lost our connection to the body as a source of our natural wisdom. I honestly believe that dance, especially withing a community of women, could help to bring that back to the feminine.

However... as much as I want that for my daughters, and their daughters... I don't know if this type of dancing is appropriate, given the cultural connotations. I might forego the mother-daughter pole dancing, at least until your daighter was old enough not to say something like, "I take pole dancing! Look what I can do!" in front of company... and then proceed to show them on the kitchen table leg.

If you do want to connect your child with that energy, though (and she's a feminine being from birth... that denial drives me mad, too!) I'd say, try bellydancing. Unfortunately, "pole dancing" in our culture has too much of a stigma... at least, until they change the name to: "Fitness with a vertical bar."




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