I may be a bit late to this bandwagon, but none the less I have jumped on and ridden it over the bumpy, pothole ridden road. Our main protagonist is Sheila Kelly, a former actress who fell in love with pole dancing while preparing for a movie role. She also has a history of anorexia and self-harm.
I’m going to chuck in a trigger warning here for those among us who have suffered from sexual abuse and rape, because a lot of the women we see in this film have and it’s openly discussed.
Sheila runs a pole studio called S Factor, which operates very differently to any pole dance studio I’ve even been to or heard of. They run 6 month programs for women only which consists of learning the more sensual side of pole dancing with some basic level beginner moves. The class sizes are large, there’s two or three people per pole and the spectators act as the cheer squad for those participating. There are no mirrors, this is not about the technical side of pole dancing at all, this is dancing to reconnect with your body and feel empowered by embracing your own sensuality. There is a huge focus on body image shame and the low self-esteem that accompanies that. The women attending the classes are all struggling with self-love, this is what has brought them there. They’re seeking a way to find themselves again and to be able to look at their bodies differently. We meet a lady struggling with the recent loss of her husband, a woman how has danced her way through cancer, and a whole barrage of women who have experienced sexual assault or rape, including a former gymnast who was sexually abused by Larry Nassar at the age of 15. If you don’t know who Larry Nassar is check out Athlete A, it’s a powerful and damming documentary exposing those in high level sport who are willing to sacrifice young girl’s bodies and mental health for pieces of melted down metal.
Travel they said, it’ll be fun they said. Travel is good for the soul, it shows you new and amazing things, educates you about other cultures and often times reminds you just how lucky you are to have the life you do back home. But it can also come with challenges and set backs which make you question the very nature of our universe and why the hell you thought it was a good idea to travel in the first place. My recent holiday has been one of extremes. Extreme awe and wonder, extreme weather, and extreme disappointment and stress. The plan was simple, fly out of Sydney to China on the 1st of August, enjoy some sightseeing and dumplings, fly back home on the 12th of August a more cultured and worldly soul. What unfolded was not so simple.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are one of those rare individuals who don’t use social media, you’d be aware that Instagram has taken to Shadow Banning a lot of content related to pole dancing in recent times. So what's a Shadow Ban, what does it man for our Insta accounts and why does any of it matter?
If you’re anything like the perfectionist that I am, you have great intentions of posting all your new moves and combos on Instagram BUT, you just can’t get the picture or video that you want. You’re not in the middle of the screen, you’re too high, too low, there’s people in the background, people walking in front of your camera when you finally have the perfect angle. It’s a minefield of obstacles to amazing self-photography and videography. Once again I've come to your aid, and my own, by seeking out the best gizmos and gadgets to help us amateurs nail out Insta tiles. Behold!
I have a recurring nightmare leading up to pole dance competitions. It’s the terrible, I’m running late and no matter what I do things just get worse and I become later and later and it’s just a big negative feedback loop of stress. I can’t find my clothes, my car keys are missing, traffic is terrible. The stress is so tangible during the dream that I wake up still feeling it, fumbling in the dark for my phone so I can check the time and date and make sure everything is OK and I haven’t slept through my alarm. Then there’s the nightmare of, I’ve forgotten my entire routine. I’m standing side of stage, sweating it up, frantically trying to pull anything out of my memory bank that resembles the routine I’ve been working on for the past two months, but nothing is forthcoming. That dream always ends before I make it to the stage, so for all I know it could end with me nailing a freestyle performance for the first time in my life.
These things are pretty unlikely to occur in real life, but there are other, not quite so dramatic things that can and probably will go wrong at some point in your performing life. The good news is, you can prepare and recover from most of these things and still put on a great show.