How do we respond in times like this? We dance. It's what we do. It is, to quote a West Wing episode, "how we enter the world." It is, to quote a video of an Australian poler going around right now, "it's how I locate myself in my body." It's therapy when we're tired of arguing. It's political, enjoying being in our own bodies when the world condemns them. It's wordless connection with our community. And it's work, strengthening our muscles and our minds to keep keep resisting.
How do we respond in times like this, as people of privilege? A POC student of mine posted a quote about how white liberals have been talking about "punching Nazis" - but really, how many people do you know who have punched a Nazi? Not as many as have racist relatives that they don't confront. One of her concrete suggestions for actions people of privilege can take, instead of talking about punching Nazis, is to support artists of color.
Which spurred me to finish this post I'd been working on for too long. As we travel across the country photographing pole, we see thousands, if not tens of thousands, of performances. The number of POC dancers has been slowly growing through the years, but in some areas it's still rare to see a dancer of color at a competition. And on the average, they're also far more likely to put a political piece onstage. This is how they enter the world. And how many of their videos get shared in the community, if they don't win a huge title? How many get shared even if they do place or win? Not enough. So here's a signal boost for some really remarkable POC we've seen dance throughout the past few years - a mix of regional champions, POC who have placed but not won, who have competed at lower levels, and dancers who are known within their local pole community but should be more well known across our pole world.
Here's how I'm responding right now. Listen, appreciate, signal boost.
Click the play button on each one to watch them be amazing.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many incredible POC dancers competing at higher levels who deserve every word of praise - Phoenix Kazree, Ashley Fox, Crystal Belcher, Sasja Lee, Dalijah Franklin, Candace Cane, Kimmy, Jazzy Alix... This is not even a authoritative list (it was written by a white woman) - but Black Girls Pole has you covered on that. However, these are dancers whose performances have stood out to me over the past couple years, that maybe you haven't heard of. And maybe now you can go support their art.
And to conclude, I have to share (again) the single most stunning piece of #blackgirlmagic I've ever seen. Still one of the most incredible pieces of art I think any pole dancer has put on any stage. Thank you for your movement, Crystal - and all of the amazing POC dancers in our community, including those mentioned above.
So you've been doing pole for a while and you think you're pretty good. You love to show your classmates what you've been working on, maybe give them some tips in class, and you feel like teaching might be the thing for you. Great! But before you dive into the deep end, here are some critical skills you're going to need.Read More
"What I found was that all of the things that make me different from other polers – like my limited and selective flexibility – actually help me be a better instructor, because I have had to ask more questions and think more about unlocking things for my body."
Danielle Christine is one of those clients who started out as purely a business connection and over the years, has become a friend. We asked Danielle to talk a little about her dance journey, her joys and frustrations, and what her future in pole and aerial looks like.
If you've competed at, volunteered for or even attended one of the Pole Sport Organization competitions in the past year, you probably already know her face, even if you don't know her name. We occasionally, affectionately, refer to her as Mama Shay.
Flash Shoot: Aerial Edition happened this weekend!
This shoot was a little bit like leaping into the unknown. I've mentioned before that flash shoots are one of our favorite setups, since it means everyone gets to see the images right away - including me! - and we don't leave with any editing work to add to our queue. But we didn't know if the 15-minute time slot would work as well for aerialists as it does for pole dancers. With pole, you can mix it up with floorwork, tricks, spins, and simple poses. Would the aerialists have the stamina to bust out their tricks for 15 minutes with no rest time? Would we be able to capture as much movement? Would the lighting we wanted to use even work?
Tiffany Jane is one of those polers that everyone marvels at - how is she so darn good? Every move is polished and camera-ready. Every angle is just right. And how is she still so darn good, after basically tearing half the cartilage in her entire dominant shoulder, and taking six months off pole to recover?Read More
In October of last year, we embarked upon our very first photoshoot tour. Ever. Up to this point, we'd been shooting almost exclusively in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, building our business and creating a shoot method that we could easily take on the road. Our first stop was at Bittersweet Studios in Florida.Read More
In November, we organized a little shoot for three polers who were in town for the reportedly super epic pole community retreat, Pole Unbound, an event organized by Aerial Amy. We designed a shoot for the three of them that would use simple, flattering lighting to create photos that they could all use for flyers, posters, promos, etc. But on top of that, we also really wanted to make some showstopping banner photos for all three.Read More
Last night, we were so excited to hear that our friend and regular shoot client, the stupendously talented and sexy Jordan Kensley, was accepted as a competitor to the Dance Filthy Australia competition - and it was the perfect opportunity to launch our Alloy Loves blog post series. Here's to the first of the series: Alloy Loves Jordan Kensley.Read More