What sort of dancer are you? Do you have a recognizable style? I do—and it’s not what most people expect from me. In my life off the studio floor, I am (mostly) upbeat and energetic. Some have referred to me as “perky.” You might expect me to dance to up-tempo music, something quick, and to move accordingly. Instead, I take it slow. I can dance to faster music. I just prefer not to. As a dancer, I am unhurried. I love to slide, to slink, to roll, to savor each move, each spin, each trick. That’s me out there, maybe the real me. The me that doesn’t get out much in a world of commutes and responsibilities and go go go.
Did I start out like this? Oh no. I didn’t dance like me. I didn’t dance like anything. There was no personal style to what I did or how I moved. As I watched hundreds (literally) of videos of dancers, pole and otherwise, I quickly figured out that I had a strong preference for a certain way of dance… and I began to emulate it. That was the starting point for the development of my style. I began by emulating, and I refined from there. I’m still refining, because as I work on anything new, from a simple transition to something more difficult, I adjust it. I play with the lines of my arms and legs, the angle of my shoulders, how my hip curves if I do this, or if I shift my weight like that. Then I absorb the move into myself and change it so it’s mine, and only mine. Part of that is playing to my strengths—physical and other. But, really, it comes from a deeper place. As someone who loves (no, needs) to dance, I want to feel like me every time I saunter out onto the floor. I want it, and I need it, if I hope to keep loving dance the way I do. And, oh, how I do love it.