Merry Christmas, Baby

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During the winter of 7th grade I was waiting at the bus stop with a girl named Jamie, and two other boys. Freezing our butts off Jaime asked me if I wanted to learn to pole dance. Not knowing what to expect I said sure and had my first lesson on a bus stop pole. Oddly enough I fell in love with pole dancing at that exact moment, and for the next 25 years I tried many different times to take an actual class, but it didn’t happen due to scheduling conflicts and sketchy studios. 

On February 11th, 2017 I was invited to a Burlesque Booty Camp class at Crystal Arts Dance Studio hosted by a guest instructor. Walking into the studio I had no idea what to expect, but I was greeted by a kind and vivacious woman named Christina. It turned out that I was the only one who had signed up for the class and so her and I spent the next hour dancing across the floor, in chairs, and doing floor work. Not only was the class fun, but the environment that she created allowed for my Goddess to open the door a crack and take a peek outside. It was during that class that Christina mentioned to me that she teaches pole dancing as well, so I knew I needed to go and take one of her pole classes. 

March 2nd was my first ever professional pole class and let me tell you, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I knew back in 7th grade that pole dancing was something that I wanted needed to do in my life. It wasn’t because it was sexy, or drew the attention of men, but rather it was what my body, in all it’s curvaceous glory, was BORN. TO. DO. I say that with so much passion because there has never been anything else that has made me feel so alive. I’ve skied, ran 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, completed 9 Spartan races, and salsa danced, among many other things. But nothing, nothing, has ever made me feel like this first class, and every day after, has made me feel. 

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That first night in class there was Tiffany and myself who were the newbies. Our big sisters were Marisha, Audra, Seraphina and Amanda, with Christina as our instructor. Each of the girls were inviting, warm, helpful, and super kind. They took their time to answer our questions if Christina was busy teaching someone else and they cheered us on when we did a trick. My favorite part of the night happened after we were done learning tricks. The Pole Dance Movement classes end with a mini dance session. Depending on the week each girl gets the opportunity to dance to a song in a solo. For the new girls a small routine is provided as we grow into our Goddesses, but for the more experienced girls freestyles are encouraged. That night’s theme was textiles, something that makes you feel good, sexy, feminine, comfortable, etc. I loved dancing the small routine, but it was in watching our big sisters dance that I fell in love. I fell in love with the studio. I fell in love with the girls. I found my Goddess in pole dancing.

Obviously when your Goddess comes out of hiding you have to keep doing it, so naturally I dove in. I would leave Flying Curves feeling empowered, relaxed, and on nights when words couldn’t describe what I was feeling my tears spoke for me because I had finally found my home. Finding this home led me to the Goddesses Empowered The Show, which is something that Christina puts on once or twice a year. All of us Flying Curves ladies have the opportunity to get on stage and perform in solo or group pieces. When I heard about this opportunity I knew I wanted to do both a solo and a group piece, so I asked Christina if I could take one of the solo spots and she said absolutely! From the moment she saw me dance in the Burlesque Booty Camp she knew that I would be an excellent soloist. Hearing those words from her only boosted my confidence and told me that I was on the right path. 

If you know me, you know the confidence I exude on a daily basis. I’m human, so of course I have my off days, but for the most part I know who I am and I share it with the world. I wanted this to be brought across to each and every single audience member. I wanted them to leave that show feeling more confident in themselves and having a desire to go out into the world and fill their lives with passion for something. To get there though I needed to train, work hard, find my song, learn the tricks, and put together a piece that portrayed my Goddess.

We had 6 months to train and put together our routines. Knowing that it was a holiday show I started listening to Christmas music in June. I knew I wanted something slow, but with hits. My Goddess loves to shake her ass and move her hips, so I needed something that would showcase that. Finding a song was probably the most difficult part of this process. Your Goddess changes so much throughout your pole dancing journey that what works one month might not work the next. One night during a Goddess Flow class I danced to Hot for Teacher by Van Halen. At that point in time it had probably been my best dance yet and I thought I found my show song. I had planned it all out in my head on how it could be a holiday song. I would be a teacher that taught elves in Santa’s workshop. It was going to be super HOT. Alas, when I danced to it a couple of weeks later it didn’t have the same fire. See what I mean by your Goddess changing all of the time?

In all of our soloist workshops I would dance to many holiday songs and previously I had danced to Merry Christmas, Baby by Christina Aguilera. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It was slow, but didn’t have the big hits. I wanted the big hits! One night I played a holiday playlist and came across the Merry Christmas, Baby version sung by the Nashville cast. That was it! I found my song! It was slow, sensual, and it had high moments where I could shine my va va voom! Next I found my story. My boyfriend just proposed to me and I was going to show him a good night. Not having a guy to dance for on stage I decided to make the audience my boyfriend. That meant I would need audience interaction. Could I do it? Could I tease, make eye contact, and play with the audience? Of course I could! I love breaking the 4th wall!

Everything that happened after finding my song and story was a whirl wind. I had long days at work and late nights at the studio. My weekends were spent on the group pieces. I had moments of clarity, moments of emotional break down. I had visions of what I wanted to do followed by blockages. I received feedback after feedback from Christina. I spent my daily commutes listening to my song over and over again. I lived and breathed that routine. There were days where I was overworked and tired that I wanted to change my song altogether, but taking a day to step away from dance brought my perspective back. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that dance is easy. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that putting together routines is easy. It takes a lot of work, discipline, and patience. It’s totally worth it in the end, but the grind to get there is filled with it’s highs and lows, so take each moment as it comes. 

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PC: Kate Chianese

On the day of the show I was ready. I hadn’t performed on a stage in over 11 years, but all of those same feelings came back to me. Butterflies in my stomach, excitement, and happiness. I was finally back to where I belong, and it felt great! I was born to be a dancer. I was born to be a performer. I am by no means a professional on any level, but I am an entertainer nonetheless. For those of you who have ever had the opportunity to watch me perform, you know this. I belong up on a stage. Most importantly though, I belong up on a stage pole dancing. I still have a long ways to go in my pole journey, but I’ll be damned if I’m not back on that stage in the next show. My Goddess has found her home and I won’t take that away from her. She’s ecstatic, I’m ecstatic and together we will continue pursuing this dream we have been chasing for 25 years and we will succeed! 

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Love Always,

Jess


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