Written By: Bexiita Ackland

We love pole. Fact. We are United Pole Artists, so it kinda goes with the territory. But there is so much more to “Pole Dancing” than just – well – dancing with a pole. The pole is just the 45mm bit in the middle. But look at all that space around it! All that room to move, and flow, to express a million different emotions in a million different ways. Pole tricks are awesome, but do you know what else is awesome? Floorwork. Floorwork is awesome. It’s…. (drumroll please…) FLOORSOME. Here’s why:

You can do it in clothes

For people who are used to working out in booty shorts and crop tops, it can be a real treat not to have to undress to work out. Not because we don’t love being semi naked (haha. We so totally do) but because sometimes it’s bloody freezing, or we just aren’t feeling it. It makes a nice change to be able to wear clothes.

And not only clothes, but super cool clothes. You can pretend you are in Fame, or that bit in Black Swan where they are all cool and edgy in leg warmers and big slouchy tops and infinity scarves.

And then, when you get a bit hot from all the floorf**kery, you can abandon the homeless look and wear seriously hot sexy gear made from little more than straps of elastic and knee pads and electrical tape, rocking what my friend Sarah likes to call the Combat Slut look.

Ms Blackmilk rocks the Combat Slut (TM) look

You don’t have to worry about grip 

The atmosphere at competitions such as Dance Filthy is fantastically relaxed – and I’m sure part of this is the absence of fear about pole grip. You aren’t constantly worrying about sweaty hands, slippy leg grips or covering your body in your own unique cocktail which mixes the exact correct proportions of chalk, dry hands, mighty grip and dew point for your skin. Floorwork requires no handgrip, and you can sweat away like the sparkly unicorn you are.

You can also cover yourself in body glitter or paint on stage (or at home, you be you) and not worry about compromising your pole grip.

And of course, you can use moisturiser, which all polers know is basically like Christmas.

You get to do hairography 

As a pole dancer I have come to terms with the fact that I am never going to look well groomed. No matter how much time I spend making my hair all smooth and glossy I’m pretty soon going to be ruining it by hanging upside down and sweating. But floorwork demands messy hair! Hair flicks, flips, swishes, swinging ponytails galore (I used to have a short bob, and my hair flicks made me look like Sonic the Hedgehog).

Also there’s less danger involved in hairography on the floor than there is on the pole. Your hair won’t get in the way of your grip, and you won’t look like the girl in The Ring when you are upside down – though you may when you are cat crawling your way towards your victim, but this you can style out in a sultry manner. Let’s face it, all the best things in life mess up your hair. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

 
All the best things mess up your hair

It’s an all-round workout

Incorporating cardio, flexibility, stamina, plus of course a mental workout (which direction do I need to face to land in a machine gun split?) and a creative, expressive workout (how do I convey the story of my epic search for a parking space today to the music of Massive Attack?), floorwork covers all aspects of fitness.

Get your heart rate up, get sweaty, get super fit, get strong, and work on your all round flexibility and muscular endurance, all without actually having to stand up. This is my kind of exercise.

There’s less chance of dying 

Let’s not pretend romancing the floor is without risks – bashed up knees, friction burns, that bit on the top of your shoulders getting all bruised and knarly, kicked in the face with your own heels, catching your body piercings in your hair flips, potential whiplash… and you might still be overcome with fear when learning fish flops, heel kips or any number of crazy insane heel bangin’ hip poppin’ combos. Still, despite all these lovely attributes, there’s still less risk of dying (just).

It’s less likely you will employ the old “just stand there so I don’t die” line when learning floor work. You won’t plummet to the floor from an aerial Marion Amber when you’re a floor dweller, or risk relocating your collar bone with a fonji. It’s only bruising your spine, bashing into the pole head first,  and burning the tops of your feet ( and everywhere else) you have to worry about now. Great!

Me when someone demos a new pole move

Flow, flow flow…

Freestyling on the pole often demands certain movement – you need to get here, to do this move, and you need this hand here and this contact point here. Floor freestyling allows movement to flow, and let’s face it one thing we all want is more flow. Let the music take you where you want to be.

You can pretend you are in a rock video 

You can romance the floor to any music – from blues to trance to hardcore dubstep. But everyone (by which I mean, me) knows rock music is the best – the devil has all the best tunes after all. And rock music and floorwork go hand in hand. Put on the greatest tunes the devil has to offer, get down on the floor, and get turned up to 11 (this advice is also good when having a shower).

Get to embrace your inner (or outer) stripper 

Enough with the “actually, pole came from mallakham/chinese/Indian culture, and actually it was originally done by men”

No, it didn’t. It came from strip clubs and strippers and that’s a fact. You don’t have try to make it socially acceptable by attributing it to men or whatever Asian/eastern/ancient culture you can think of this week.  Respect where pole came from, embrace it and don’t try to hide it. I’m not going to labour this point as there are people out there who have already said it all, a lot better than I can, but just once more for the people at the back: Pole has it roots in the strip clubs, and rather than move the goalposts of pole (goalpoles?) to make society accept it, hold the goalpoles firm and make society change its attitudes instead. Get down on the floor and embrace your hair flickin’, heel bangin’, hip thrustin’, body wavin’ vagina monsterin’ bad self that you are, shamelessly, with love, and with pride.

 

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