One of the reasons I fell in love with sensual movement and pole dancing is the stunning beauty I witness in women of all shapes and sizes as they share their sensuality and authentic emotions, heart and soul.
I love that sensual movement and pole can empower women and help them fall in love with their bodies. The more I think about the recent “What I See in the Mirror” post I read recently by Natasha Wang, the more disheartened I feel to hear that pole may also have the opposite effect. Natahsa writes: “I’ve noticed a startling amount of self-criticism and body dysmorphia amongst polers, a result no doubt, of spending hours on end in front of a full-length mirror, half-naked.”
Natasha then shares a punishment list (consisting of push-ups or plank pose) for pole ‘misdeeds’ like flexed feet and negative body statements that she discovered written on a mirror in a New Zealand studio. Natasha and commenters seem to like the idea, both to get in better shape and to train themselves to stop the negativity.
I’m shocked that no one else has commented on the list of punishments. It seems to violate it’s own rule.
To me, the fifth rule —“Monkey Feet. sheesh, ugly, ugly, ugly especially when climbing or spinning”— violates the seventh—“the biggie: an anti or negative body statement 100 press ups or a 5 minute plank. (double if aimed at someone else!)”
I’m not even sure what monkey feet are. I assume it’s climbing the pole flat-footed. Isn’t “sheesh, ugly, ugly, ugly” aiming a negative body statement at anyone who climbs or spins this way?
I’ve watched two men climb coconut trees. One in Hawaii as a demonstration at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Another in Bali to retrieve young coconuts to share a drink after a morning hike. Both were gorgeous feats of masculine strength and agility. Here’s a close-up view. Kinda sexy, no?
I’ve come to appreciate that there are many different flavors and styles of sexy. Sexy is light and dark. It can range from graceful & elegant, to playful and silly, to naughty, dirty and raunchy. And that’s just what I can think of to describe the range of sexy I see between pointed toes and flexed feet.
I think pointed toes exhibit the graceful elegant end of sexy. While flexed feet can express naughty and raunchy. The in-between, or back and forth, might express playful and silly. And sometimes flexing just feels really good. If you show that bliss it can look yummy too.
Here’s ten ‘good’ reasons, beyond safety, to flex your feet when pole dancing:
- Feeling naughty, dirty or even a little raunchy and need to express it. A flexed foot leg splay or prance can convey that message nicely.
- Or during floor work on belly, a flexed foot can add a naughty or nasty accent.
- Slow ankle circle from point to flex strengthens and stretches ankles and sometimes just feels luscious.
- Need to stretch Achilles, calf and/or hamstring during an open leg stretch, leg raises or prancing.
- Need to stretch hip flexor during a bridge pose with body wave or circles.
- Happy baby hip stretch.
- Send energy out from heels instead of toes during a spin, as an accent or to make a point.
- To pull energy in rather than send it out.
- To feel more grounded and stable.
- To climb. The stronger the foot flex, the easier and stronger the climb.
I’m lucky, most of the time I dance in a studio without mirrors. My style is more therapeutic than competitive. More modern dance than ballet and gymnastics. I understand and respect that toe pointing might be more necessary in the latter styles.
Still. I’m curious, what are your ‘good’ reasons for flexing your foot? How many of my ten wouldn’t cut it at your studio? How many push-ups or minutes of plank would I owe you if my dance included all the flexes from my list?