Do you ever do something to feel a rush? A sense of euphoria? Momentary ecstasy? I do…
If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would dance in front of 500 people, I would have laughed in their face. I’ve always been the shy girl who sits in the corner. I could go to a family reunion and only utter 20 words in 4 hours. “Hi. Hello. Good to see you. How are the kids? Long drive? This is delicious! See you next year. Bye.” I always took the far back corner seat in class so that no one was staring behind me and I could see everything happening in the room. I ate lunches by myself under the tree in the courtyard at college instead of the loud cafeteria. Introvert, I believe is the term for it now. “Shy, quiet, timid, and keeps to herself,” were the words that showed up most on my letters of recommendation or nominations for student of the month at school.
Fast forward a few years and I’m walking into a pole dance studio thinking I’m about to take a class with a bunch of girls training to be strippers at Appleton night clubs. (I took the class on a dare from my husband.) I stood at the pole in the back corner of the room. I didn’t say more than 3 words the whole hour I was there. I packed up my stuff and was walking out the door when the instructor said, “Good job today! I’m really glad you came! What did you think? Was it what you expected?” I gave her my usual, short answers but she kept me engaged. She took a genuine interest in me and my story. She cared about me. She got me to peek out of my shell. She got me to talk.
Within 4 months I was doing a routine in front of 500 people at the Christmas show. At that time, I was the newest, most inexperienced dancer that had ever participated in the show. All because a few instructors took the time to talk to me. They really cared and took an interest. They listened and got to know me and helped me overcome weaknesses and build my strengths. I came off the stage and cried with Paula and told her I felt Beautiful. I felt more beautiful than on my wedding day. Anyone can wear a big white dress, few can wear booty shorts, practice a routine til their muscles ache and then perform it in front of 500 strangers. I remember thinking, “Awesome! That was fun! Glad I don’t have to do it again!”
And then an announcement came out… We were having a Student Showcase! Much smaller audience, doubles instead of 4-6 per routine, at the studio instead of Tanners. Nope. Not gonna do it. Way too up close and personal. Too scared. After one of my classes in March, as I’m minding my own business, cleaning my back corner pole, an instructor asks if I’m going to do the showcase. “Nope.” Well, she wasn’t done with me. She kept pestering me and before I knew what happened, I’m dancing away with Veronica in front of 50+ people at the studio the day before I leaving for my Honeymoon. More tears of joy. I’m even stronger than I was for the Christmas show. I’m more confident. I feel Beautiful!
Pause Pole. Had a baby. Came back. Gearing up for Christmas Show time again. Spinning around on my back corner pole, not standing out at all, and the instructor calls me out and says I’m gonna be in her routine for the Christmas Show. Oddly enough, I have no arguments. I think I might kinda like to perform again… I like feeling confident and beautiful and strong. I like working on something with other girls and making friends in a small group. I like the hair and make-up and excitement backstage. Sure… I suppose I can try that again, since I was told I had to. More happy tears. Such a rush of joyous emotions! Feelings of courage, accomplishment, grace, strength, beauty.
The sign up sheet for the Student Showcase is posted. I meander over from my front of the class pole and look to see what day it is, how many are signed up, singles or doubles, etc. An instructor leans over my shoulder, “You should put your name down,” and hands me a pen. Didn’t take much convincing that time. I signed up before leaving that day. Met my partner. Spent weeks perfecting our choreography. Was pushed to my graceful, sexy and dancy sequence limits. Finished the show filled with elation, excitement, success, euphoria, thrill, pride, fulfillment. It hasn’t even been two weeks and I’m needing that rush again. I’m craving the buzz of having just completed my song. I believe I can be officially diagnosed as having a Pole Performance Addiction. Anyone want to start a PPA club with me? Oh wait… I could probably just join the Aerial Dance Competition Team, couldn’t I?