How Pole Dancing is like Gardening
I have been working in my garden the past few days (10 cubic yards of mulch is a LOT of mulch, in case you’re interested), and as I spread mulch and planted things and weeded and checked over my beloved plants big and little, it occured to me that my pole life very closely echoes my gardening life.
- I am responsible for a living thing. In my garden, it’s plants. In pole, it’s other human beings. My students! Me! It’s incumbent on me to know — and teach, and insist upon — safe, correct conditioning, technique, and form. If I can’t do those things, how will they become confident and strong pole dancers?
- In all things, patience. A seed will germinate when, and only when, it’s time to do so. A seedling will grow as quickly as it’s supposed to, and if it grows too quickly it becomes spindly and weak. If I overuse fertilizer in an attempt to force a plant to flourish, the opposite often occurs. A pole dancer will progress as quickly as she/he is supposed to. Some people are naturally athletic and body aware. Some dancers (*cough cough* yours truly) take a bit to get up to speed. Rushing into anything can result in frustration or even injury — needlessly.
- Preparation = greater success. If I plant something without first preparing the soil, that something is less likely to thrive. If I plant a shade plant in full sun, it almost certainly won’t thrive. If I attempt a move without first understanding the grip points, mechanics, and strength necessary for that move, my chance of success is seriously diminshed. If I am not properly conditioned, not only am I hurting my chances of being successful . . . I may end up hurting myself, period.
- There’s a place for perennials, and a place for annuals, and a place for everything in between. Annuals provide splashes of drama. Perennials come back year after year — the offer reliability and the ability to have a full garden without having to redo every single season. Then there are biennials. They live for two years and then die off, ready to be replanted or replaced. It’s the same in pole. I think of big tricks as annuals, splashy and colorful. But without perennials (good basics like spins, transitional work, floor work), it can be really tough to fill up my pole garden! And then there are biennials–moves that I learn and use, and may only use for a brief time because I phase out of them, or they don’t suit my style of dance. But still, they’re so very helpful for the time they’re around.
- Pruning can be the best thing for a plant. Many plants come back twice as strong after they’re pruned, no matter if the work is light or severe. From time to time I need to prune my pole work–to stop working on a frustrating trick, or take a few steps back and dance, dance, dance. Pruning helps me rediscover the reasons I began pole dancing in the first place, and I come back refreshed and strong and ready to go.
- No matter how well established, a garden requires maintenance. Even with everything properly prepared, my garden still requires work. Weeds love that lush, beautiful soil just as plants do, and will quickly choke out existing plants. A drought may hit, requiring a bit of extra watering. In pole, I can’t neglect core work and other strength building and expect my skill level to increase. I can’t avoid freestyling at all costs . . . and then wonder why I find it so difficult to freestyle when the urge hits.
So. Grow your pole garden. Tend to it. Be in love with it so it can bring you joy. <3