Last month I saw a video of Jamilla Deville interviewed by The Pole Dancing Chronicles. Sharing pole tips is a fairly common Q&A, most pole dancers offering advice that falls into a few typical categories –
- Practice practice practice
- Eat nourishing food and stay hydrated
- Train both sides
- Condition as well as work on pole tricks
- Video your freestyles
- Etc Etc.
These are all very practical tips, some of which I have written about on this blog too! But Jamilla is not just a pole dancer. She is an artist and her entire lifestyle is focused on training, body practices, health, and performance.
So, what was her pole tip you ask? She states,
“Pole is all about being aware of what your own body is doing … the more you grow as a pole athlete or artist the more you become self aware”
Self awareness can take many forms. There is spatial related self awareness, involving the knowledge and feeling of where your limbs and body are in space. Upside-down, hanging from one leg, finding your foot with your hand behind your body, it is obvious why self awareness in this sense is important when pole dancing.
There is also body related self awareness. How do you use your body to convey an idea? Showgirls and dancers have lots of practice in using their body to engage the audience. Hand gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, the poses and shapes chosen by a dancer, all support stage presence and the overall impact of a performance.
Let me also suggest that you may cultivate self awareness of the mind, through pole dancing just like any form of performance art or body practice.
Self awareness is defined as
“conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires”
I recently shared some insight into my choreography process, explaining how I use material from my own experience as inspiration for concepts and performances. In this way pole dancing, and choreography creation, is like a reflection tool, helping you to unpack your thoughts and feelings about an event, reaching a resolution or a state of deeper understanding.
Embedding your dance with meaning and making conscious decisions about what to add or leave out, is similar to the process of any artist (painter, writer, photographer, sculptor etc) that fosters greater self awareness. You find a way to share a feeling, motive, or desire, through the medium of expression.
This process may also reveal broader ideas such as why you choose pole dance as your medium of expression. Does it stimulate a feeling or desire, or a character within yourself that you wish to express?
Asking yourself these questions can reveal some insightful ideas that may inspire a new performance piece, or a whole new direction in your training. For those seeking authentic expression and a sense of fulfillment, the act of fostering self awareness can be creatively satisfying too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on self awareness or how pole dance offers you avenues for growth. Comment here or tag me on Facebook!