Finding A Tribe

A little less than a year ago, I made a spontaneous Groupon purchase that would change my life physically…and pretty much in every other way imaginable.  I bought a 10 class pass to a pole dancing studio and dragged my early-30s, already greying, haven’t worked out more than walking the dog in more years than I could count self into Brass Ovaries.

Best. Decision.  Ever.

Pole dancing and aerial arts are fun, an absolutely fantastic workout, and the best confidence builder.  There is nothing that quite builds bonds and breaks down boundaries like literally having someone you’ve just met grab your derriere and hoist it in the air so you don’t land on said derriere.  I started level 1 with a group of fantastic ladies (and gents!) and, by the time I left Austin, I had found my tribe.

Trading tips on grip aids.  Wardrobe malfunctions.  Going for a pedicure and having the nail tech sand off your well-earned (and much needed!) callouses.  Comparing pole bruises.  Spontaneous grunts, squeals, and shouts of “yes!”  Staying up all night watching footage of international competitions and pole idols.  Finding your own groove and letting the music lead you. 

A few days after this video was taken, I dislocated one of my ribs and made the decision to take a break from pole and focus exclusively on aerial hoop and dance.  And my tribe grew.  Learning from a classically trained ballerina and a former circus performer.  Bundling up and driving across town to an unheated gym (yep, SmartWool socks AND leg warmers) to hang upside-down by knees, ankles, hips, and blistered hands for two hours.  Gratefully downing a ginger ale from a fellow student to calm the “ugh spin hoop, I’m gonna vomit” stomach.

After 6 weeks in KC, I finally started taking classes at a new studio.  I still find myself wanting to call or text my old instructors and fellow pole monkeys when I hit a good move, or bend myself into a new contortion trick.  But the other night, hanging from a trapeze, struggling to get myself back up onto the bar, a fellow student reached instinctively over, grabbed my derriere, hoisted me back up onto the trapeze, and then cheered “yes!” as if I had nailed the move entirely on my own.  So yeah, my tribe is now growing again.



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