Pole Танець і професійне життя

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To come “out” as a pole dancer in your place of employment, or to keep it a secret? This is the question that seems to plague many of today’s pole dancers who also work in a “professional” environment (a.k.a. an office).

When pole dancers explain what they do to non-polers, they often brace for responses such as, “How do you navigate being a pole dancer and a [lawyer / nurse / insert-your-profession]?”

Almost every person who works in an office also has a hobby of some kind, and people whose hobbies are something other than pole are rarely faced with the same question. What makes pole different is that people still perceive it as sexual or risque ― and so the subtext of the question is, “How do you navigate doing something that seems overtly sexual and expect people to take you seriously in your work?” Society says you can’t do both.

But to most pole dancers, it is very odd that pole is somehow construed as antithetical to professionalism. We know that the two actually complement one another very nicely.

The mental discipline and physical stamina required to achieve new pole tricks directly trains our brains to push through challenges in the office. When we spend time in the studio working on choreography and dance flow, we are training how to think creatively and problem solve. (“How the heck do I get out of this new move I just invented safely and gracefully?”)

If you’re an exotic pole dancer, the focus on your uniquely feminine power might help with affirming your value in a workplace dominated by male energy.

Connecting with other dancers in class, who often come from very different backgrounds, helps to build community and social aptitude which can translate to increased collaboration and teamwork competencies. Teaching a pole class or leading an open studio practice session demonstrates leadership abilities.

And simply getting yourself in the studio in the first place demonstrates an awareness of the importance of self-care; these are employees much less likely to burnout in the workplace.

The difficulty with explaining to co-workers and employers how and why pole is a valid and supportive practice for professionals starts with the stigma against female sexual expression, because that is where the real heart of the question lies. And beyond sexuality, women are still frequently confronted with the fact that their behavior, appearance, way of speaking, and taking up space is controlled and policed ― both in the workplace and their personal lives. It is not universally understood or accepted that women are simultaneously sensual, intellectual, emotional, logical, passionate, caring, sexual, intelligent, complex beings, and can very competently occupy multiple spaces such as “pole dancer” and “professional” simultaneously. (And indeed, women with all of these dynamic qualities arguably make better “professionals”).

But until we can start having honest conversations about how and why female-identified persons are not able to express sensuality without compromising their professionalism, we are dancing around the real problem. Responding to the question by saying “pole dance is actually not sexual” is avoiding the real question and trying to fit pole within the patriarchal mold (i.e. it’s safe / not threatening / not actually sexual) without challenging the underlying stigma.

Whether you pole or not, anything that fuels you, excites you, and drives you to move in the world, should not be divorced from your public-facing life out of fear of judgment from others. Staying silent in the workplace about pole as a hobby won’t help to de-stigmatize it.

That said, it also comes from a place of privilege to say that professionals who pole dance should “out” themselves. The choice to come out about pole in your workplace is a very personal one, which you should only undertake if you feel it is the right choice for you. There is a fine balance to be struck between having open and honest conversations with employers to try and increase awareness, and keeping oneself safe from negative consequences.

The decision is so context-specific for each individual. But we suggest staying alert for opportunities to converse with potentially “woke” co-workers or employers, and in those moments, start having the conversations about how pole dance makes us better professionals.

Леді Джейн

Jane is a pole performer, producer, instructor, and competition judge based in BC, Canada. In 2018 she co-founded Electra Pole Art Productions, a professional performance company that focuses on curating pole art shows. Jane has competed in the Canadian Pole Fitness Championships (2014-2016) and Pole Theatre Canada (2018), and volunteers as a judge with PSO in Canada and Europe.

Цей запис має 8 коментар(-ів)

  1. Lady Jane

    I would love to hear folks’ comments too – please feel free to leave a one or send me a message if you have further thoughts and experiences you’d like to share! xo

    1. Justin Harvey

      Great article @jane ???

  2. Aida Reva

    I loved this, as a studio owner I more often than not am asked if we share photos on our social media from our classes because we have students that are worried about being fired. Of course we never share photos or even take photos of anyone that doesn’t want to but seeing that my students really want to share their progress but can’t because of a whiny workplace makes me angry. I shared this on our studio Facebook Poledance Sweden <3

  3. Bridget Bush

    My battle strategy has been to host pole parties at local studios and invite ladies I work with. They get an introduction to the art, see me in that space and some of them get hooked like I did. Now I have a handful of people who Pole too. Solidarity in numbers. It has started feeling like a club people want to be a part of, which increases its acceptance and brings more strong feminine energy to my work as more ladies feel empowered in their bodies.

  4. Pole and Performing Art

    I agree that we need to have more conversations about pole dance, and that brings up other conversations such as women empowerment, and owning our sexuality. I work hard to try and reach more people by organizing festivals, shows, workshops, and more to try and show the public what it is really about. The art and beauty!

  5. AdventureJes

    Sometimes it’s not so much having the conversation with immediate co-workers and supervisors… but when the “neat hobby” has potential to morph into raunchy gossip farther up the personnel decision chain, or to a client, etc: and then a person finds herself working harder to make sure that her position remains funded and that she is the most qualified candidate for it. It isn’t right, but it’s definitely a big consideration especially in government funded fields.

  6. Vardz

    Great ans neccessary article!

  7. Man Lau

    Great article !
    I am a marketer for 8 years already and I did worry at first if people will take me less seriously because of that and I was completely wrong!
    Right now I work for a relatively big company in the eCommerce field selling products to the US market and I actually was very hesitant at first but they were very supportive and thought it’s so cool and hard of course hahaha. I can’t even begin to talk about how much pole dancing as a sport and hobby has contributed to my life in terms of dealing with obstacles and challenges in life!

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