Does what it says on the tin, though not how you may expect.
December 7, 2011 4:09 PM   Subscribe

The Best Pole Dance Ever. SLYT. Banish your preconceived notions and prepare to be amazed.
posted by Devika (152 comments total) 151 users marked this as a favorite

 
wow.
posted by selenized at 4:11 PM on December 7, 2011


What's the music playing?
posted by signal at 4:13 PM on December 7, 2011


Florence and the Machine - The Dog Days are Over
posted by selenized at 4:15 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. I was expecting Felix Cane.
posted by elizardbits at 4:16 PM on December 7, 2011


Some of my friends have been getting into doing this competitively (and actually won a competition here in DC a few weeks ago) but it's nowhere near this level. Starting at around 3:20 she starts doing things I had never considered possible.

Outstanding.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:16 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am so in love with her upper body strength, oh my fucking god.
posted by elizardbits at 4:18 PM on December 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have to say, I was prepared to be unamazed, but... it's like gravity just didn't exist. So, amazed!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:19 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that is one strong woman. I can't believe some of this stuff she's doing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:20 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


yeah, that's some serious Cirque De Soleil shit, there.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:20 PM on December 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


that is some serious serious core strength there, she is an incredibly talented athlete. I've done the odd pole dance myself, but never seen (nor done!) anything close to that level.
posted by supermedusa at 4:20 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I could totally do this at my current strength so long as I only weighed thirty pounds. Maybe twenty for the walking thing (THE FUCKING WALKING THING!)
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:21 PM on December 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


Wow. And youtube comments you never fail to disappoint in your idiocy.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:22 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, 3:20 was my holy shit moment, too, but really, once she got beyond the floor opening, that was one hell of a completely awesome dance routine.

I'd love to see her do a routine with Marquese Scott, if only for the epidemic of Tourette's that would spread across the Net.
posted by maudlin at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]



An amazing display of athleticism. Previously.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:25 PM on December 7, 2011


Let's not look past that insane suicide-plunge she does right after the first walking bit. The camera didn't capture it completely (probably wasn't expecting it) but it looked like she caught herself inches above the ground there.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:26 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy damn. I bet she is one UNBELIEVABLY good rock climber too.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:30 PM on December 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


There is a great comment by aielen in the recent pole-dancing thread Pogo Fuzzybutt linked to above. (And I'm glad to see less knee-jerking here, but I guess when there's a single SLYT versus several links, people are more likely to watch before commenting.)
posted by maudlin at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, she must do a lot of Swiss ball crunches.


...


Kidding! If that woman can't deadlift 400lbs, I'll eat a 45lb olympic plate.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 4:34 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


That scary drop reminded me of the one Steven Retchless did on America's Got Talent.
posted by feckless at 4:36 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


holy shit, that hold starting at 2-minutes in pretty much blew my mind.
posted by entropone at 4:37 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So relevant, from last week's WaPo: Pole Dancing: Olympic Sport? "The Pole Fitness Association and other pole dancing advocacy groups are circulating petitions to have vertical dance, which they compare to gymnastics, added to the London 2012 lineup." I'd think this video would be the #1 pitch for it. How could you not think the people at the top level are insane athletes after seeing this?
posted by naju at 4:37 PM on December 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


When "THE FUCKING WALKING THING"™ happened, I actually started swearing at the screen. Not because I was angry, but because I was just so astonished and taken aback.
posted by starvingartist at 4:38 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Holy fuck, she is strong.
posted by Forktine at 4:39 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was frigging amazing. Was the suicide drop deliberate? I thought it looked like she slipped and made a hasty recovery. Even an error like that (if it was an error) wouldn't be enough to detract from a breathtaking routine.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 4:40 PM on December 7, 2011


About eight years ago I went to a strip club in downtown Minneapolis, and there was a dancer who came out, shimmied up the pole, and then spun in fast circles at the top, like a ceiling fan. That's when I first got the sense that something was going on with the whole pole dancing thing.

I was expecting sooner or later I would see something like this, and it would be mind blowing. And there goes my mine, right the fuck out my ears.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:40 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, glad people are liking it! I didn't want my first post to the Blue to be a SLYT, but had a pressing need to share the joy I got from watching this - a facebook post would not have cut it.

Also when she did The Walk I was like "dear god how did she manage to conceal a huge plastic semicircle so well because SHE IS WALKING ON SOMETHING"
posted by Devika at 4:41 PM on December 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah, like anyone couldn't do that if they could turn off gravity.
posted by rusty at 4:42 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was insane. The first couple minutes were top quality modern dance, she moves really well. The rest was just a bunch of mind-boggling hard feats of strength combined with dance elements.

Calling it "pole dancing" sort of cheapens what just happened there. That was just plain amazing movement.
posted by mathowie at 4:42 PM on December 7, 2011 [15 favorites]


For all we know that could have been Nightcrawler in a cunning disguise.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


US Pole Dance Federation

International Pole Dance Fitness Association
posted by cjorgensen at 4:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are the over/under odds of when pole dancing gets included in Olympic gymnastics?
posted by porpoise at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2011


Parker Lewis, I'm pretty sure it was intentional. One of my friends tells me it's a not-unheard-of move, plus it explains why she climbed so, so high up the pole before the preceding elements.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:48 PM on December 7, 2011


It will be one of my campaign promises when I run for totalitarian dictator of all I survey.
posted by elizardbits at 4:49 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just posted this to my brother's facebook wall, and his response was "That fucking walking thing?? My god!!"
posted by King Bee at 4:53 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


My band recently performed with a top level pole dancer. We were going to play an instrumental break for about a minute, but she got in a groove and we ("we" being the three members of the band other than me that play instruments, since I just sing) jammed for an additional four minutes. She was amazing and, if she didn't reach Ms. Butterfly's OMFG WALKING moment, she was one of the most remarkable athletes I've ever witnesed and I will never, ever disparage pole dancing again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:56 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like how wow fatigue can set in so fast that by the time I saw the second walking bit a part of my brain was all "yeah, sure, but her form's falling apart a little there, you can tell she's tired because she kind of bullshits the last couple footsteps this time" while the rest of my brain is still in full-on HOLY SHITBALLS mode.
posted by cortex at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pick one thing and do it well.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That fucking walking thing was like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but without the spaceship. Or gravity on Earth.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't have to click the link to know that it was Jenyne Butterfly. She is the Best Pole DancER ever.
posted by hellphish at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amazing.

Also -- Pole-dance off in Brazil.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:04 PM on December 7, 2011


It looked to me like that plunge at the end was deliberate, as well as perfectly executed. She stops at just the right height to unfold out of it and just step away. Amazing skill, really.
posted by pajamazon at 5:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jenyne Butterfly? That doesn't sound Polish.
posted by mazola at 5:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [15 favorites]


between the feats of strength and the pole this is like the happiest Festivus ever.

Too bad I have no grievances to air, that was pretty much the most awesome thing I have seen in a long time. Thank you!
posted by peachfuzz at 5:13 PM on December 7, 2011 [23 favorites]


I love that the audience seems to be mostly or entirely women.
posted by pts at 5:15 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


She is a really talented lady with incredible strength and grace!

I really, REALLY wish her poledancing routine hadn't opened with the deliberately childlike hopscotch bit, because it skeeved me out so much that I had a hard time sitting through the rest of the video.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:19 PM on December 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I actually will not be surprised if pole dancing becomes an art stripped (heh) of its current connotations/contexts in the coming decades. People like the linked dancer are going to keep pushing it. Ballet used to have associations that were not wholesome to the pearl-clutching classes.
posted by everichon at 5:21 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess I forgot to say that the dancer in the vid is fucking amazing. And second the rock climbing thought--she would be a god.
posted by everichon at 5:23 PM on December 7, 2011


It looked to me like that plunge at the end was deliberate

Yeah here's a better vid of her doing it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:27 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


WOW! I wonder how many hours a day she trains, to have that much strength and muscle control?

(Also, totally love her choice of music.)
posted by MissySedai at 5:34 PM on December 7, 2011


The mime walking down the imaginary wall thing behind the pole was simply awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:45 PM on December 7, 2011


That woman does things that...well, I thought of them as impossible.

The floor stuff, though, leaves so much to be desired. Yeah, I know, it's probably alluring to most of her customers, but it was so unpleasant. Kill the opening thirty seconds and you have something otherworldly.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I figure my first comment belongs in this post. wow
posted by neversummer at 5:49 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"THE FUCKING WALKING THING"™. I remember seeing the Moon Walk for the first time. And this is the first time since then that a dance move has made go "what.the.fuck". Incredible.
posted by Ber at 5:49 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The floor stuff, though, leaves so much to be desired. Yeah, I know, it's probably alluring to most of her customers, but it was so unpleasant. Kill the opening thirty seconds and you have something otherworldly.

Yeah, I went from "oh Christ here we go with pantomiming hopscotch for the creeps in the crowd" to "SWEET MOTHER OF GOD SHE'S AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE"
posted by availablelight at 5:51 PM on December 7, 2011 [15 favorites]


That was beautiful.
posted by emeiji at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2011


About eight years ago I went to a strip club in downtown Minneapolis, and there was a dancer who came out, shimmied up the pole, and then spun in fast circles at the top, like a ceiling fan.

I think I might have seen that same woman.

My roomate was working as a waitress, and another friend was dancing (when she was on stage, I would try to make eye contact and she would try not to crack up.) We were having a goofy conversation with another dancer about shopping for marujana themed t-backs at JJ Flash - I luuuuv to get hiiiiiigh she said- when they called her to the stage.

The Bloodhound Gang boomed from the speakers, absolutely not preparing me for what she was about to do. She did the requisite stage moves, removed the legally allowed amount of clothing, mounted the pole, and was immediately at the very top, upside down flipping and spinning, gracefully, joyfully revelling in her skill and athleticism and the miraculousness of her body, for that moment transcending her tawdry surroundings and just ...flying.

She did say she loved to get high.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow. I was prepared to be all judgey, especially when she took her little dress thing off, but wow. She could totally beat me up. Good on her, I hope she is recognized for her hard work and talent!
posted by hepta at 5:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are parts of that routine where she's rotating and I can't even figure out where her motive power is coming from. Is she rotating herself with her hands? Seriously: is she doing the best, most complicated and well controlled flag I've ever seen a human being do while also ROTATING HER ENTIRE BODY WEIGHT AROUND A POLE using just the strength in her HANDS?
posted by penduluum at 5:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I actually will not be surprised if pole dancing becomes an art stripped (heh) of its current connotations/contexts in the coming decades. People like the linked dancer are going to keep pushing it. Ballet used to have associations that were not wholesome to the pearl-clutching classes.

On one hand, maybe you have a point. On the other, at the Olympics, Women's Beach Volleyball and Women's Boxing have specific uniform requirements.
posted by Chuckles at 5:56 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. That was amazing. The walking thing...holy mother of all that defies gravity.

I signed up for a pole dancing class earlier this week. The class is being taught by a gymnast, and there was no "sexy sexy" vibe about the class at all. It was sold as a female alternative to boot camp workouts.

What Ms. Butterfly did was nothing short of extraordinary. It is, I believe, beyond that which most even very well trained athletes could manage. That was magic, and she created it. It's like seeing Baryshnikov dance; anyone can learn the steps, but only he could dance them the way he did. In the same way, Jenyne Butterfly had defined a moment in a dance/sport. That was amazing.
posted by dejah420 at 5:56 PM on December 7, 2011


In Montreal, I had the best and worst strip club experience of my life. The worst I've recounted, the best was...

well it used to be a place down on the far end of St. Catherine at what was the then the end of the "gay village" (there's a big supermarket and fancy stuff there now, at the time, it was empty lots and train tracks). I can't even remember why I was there aside from it was Summer and I was On Vacation and Very Drunk. In a small room packed with mostly older men and a "stage" that barely measured six feet by five, minus pole. Loud. Bad drinks. I was not into it, but then the music changed. The house beats faded and the ear-splitting wail of the Ramones filled the tiny bar. Onto the stage came a short young man, wearing nothing but denim shorts and large workboots. He leaped onto the pole and set to the tones of "Judy Is A Punk"climbed upside down up the pole and Pogo'ed off the ceiling. before spinning back down and doing a few horizontal kicks off the pole while spitting and shouting manically.

It was one of the most athletic things I'd ever seen in person and way more interesting then a bored dude stripping.
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


That 2001 sphere walk she does at the end is just sickening.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:00 PM on December 7, 2011


Also I know a lot of people who do silks/gymnastics and this looks a lot like that, all balance and control and self-supporting, it's really amazing stuff to see in person.
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 PM on December 7, 2011


Jesus!
posted by OmieWise at 6:09 PM on December 7, 2011


Incredible stuff. I think I should start doing some yoga. Or something.
posted by orange swan at 6:13 PM on December 7, 2011


I was actually wondering who Catwoman was. Better call up Two Face.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:16 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


No way, had to be done in Maya.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was prepared to be all judgey, especially when she took her little dress thing off, but wow.

You do realize that pole dancing can't be done wearing a little dress thing. You need bare skin to grip the pole. So what you're saying is that you reserve your judgement for those that aren't as good as this women? Why?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:18 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


This post from last year about Indian pole gymnastics may be worth looking at again.
posted by dilettante at 6:27 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


When she got to the Walking Thing I called my boyfriend in, just so I could show it to someone else.
Just unbelievable. I'll support Pole Dancing for the Olympics, full way.
posted by stoneegg21 at 6:40 PM on December 7, 2011


Hey Whelk, was that Café Cleopatra by any chance?
posted by Devika at 6:43 PM on December 7, 2011


That's out of 'stripper pole dancing' territory and into serious circus arts territory.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you have any doubts that what she is doing is difficult, try this: step away from the keyboard, and lay down on your bed. Seriously. Lay down on your comfy pillow-top bed and just try and extend your legs straight out. Ok, now raise them straight up and try and lower them down step by step just like that carefully controlled airwalk.

...

Are you back? How did that go for you? Did you kinda do it? Or did you kinda curl up and start shaking and making "nnnngggh-nnngh" sounds as you did it? And did you actually take like 1.5 steps to go down instead of several, and it looked the exact opposite of how it looked when she did it?

Because that is what it was like for me. Now try and do it half-naked from a pole in front of people about 20 feet in the air more than halfway through your routine....twice.

I'm fat.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [20 favorites]


I just can't get over how strong she must be.
posted by maxwelton at 6:47 PM on December 7, 2011


Oh also - people should check out this interview with the upthread-mentioned Felix Cane. She demonstrates some of her moves to a very in-shape and shapely Soleil compatriot who attempts them (wearing, deliciously, very little ... and what he does wear leaves little to the imagination) to hilarious effect.
posted by Devika at 6:52 PM on December 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


She makes my rotator cuffs hurt just watching that.

Muscles? Huh! More like steel cables.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:00 PM on December 7, 2011


An amazing athlete, outstanding grace and strength and balance.

A spectacular human being; imagine the will she has to have to get and stay in that kind of shape. And then of course the gifts she was given to shape with her will, and to her will.

An amazing athlete.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:07 PM on December 7, 2011


The Fucking Walking Thing is definitely the highlight, yes, of a routine that's all highlights. But just because I want to draw attention to something else:

Watch the sequence starting at 1:50 again (to about 2:20). Watch carefully what she does here. First she disengages her leg, moving into a gymnastics move called a flag. Then she actually presses herself further off the bar, making it clear that her head isn't supporting her weight at all. It's all just in the geometry and unbelievable power of her shoulders and arms.

Okay now watch this. She not only holds her lower body steady, she waves it around like an ACTUAL flag, fluidly and with control, which is basically impossible. Then, again just with those arms and shoulders, she lifts her lower body again and shifts, now pointing her hips upward to transition into another segment where she holds herself with her legs.

But wait. The entire time she was doing that, she was rotating around the pole. Not just rotating, either — rotating so slowly that her rotational force wasn't actually building any momentum. Meaning she was constantly having to pour energy into that move. At the same time, she's only supporting herself at two points, her two hands, and again she's moving so slowly that in order to apply enough force to the bar to hold herself aloft friction should be stopping her constantly.

But she's not stopping. She's not even slowing down. She's supporting her full body weight on one extended arm, at a 90 degree angle, and turning herself around a pole with just her WRIST. Probably only one wrist, at that, since the other one is engaged in just not allowing herself to drop.

Except but wait again. If it's only one wrist, then it can't be the bottom one. She's going to have to be using that to keep herself not just up but out, pushed out stiffly from the pole. Let's rewind one more time and watch her uppermost arm.

It's fucking twisted the wrong way! She's not pushing herself, she's pulling herself! Like, you know this move? With your wrists flexed like that? Do it, right now; that's the direction she's applying force! Like the opposite of rolling a bowling ball.

And sure fucking enough, at exactly 1:59 you can see her do it. She transitions away from the rotational momentum her earlier moves gave her, flexes her arm just slightly (you can see her elbow bend a couple degrees and her bicep flex), and starts pulling herself around the bar. It is jaw-dropping.

This is the single most impressive feat of strength and body control I've seen in a long, long time. Or ever.
posted by penduluum at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2011 [58 favorites]


My amazement and admiration is slightly corrupted by a twinge of jealousy at the knowledge that I will never in my life be as good at anything as she is at that.
posted by jcreigh at 7:27 PM on December 7, 2011


It's the splits thing she does at 3:40 to 3:50 that blew me away even after everything else I saw. She did that at the end of her routine, never mind doing it at the beginning. How is she that strong?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:37 PM on December 7, 2011


You do realize that pole dancing can't be done wearing a little dress thing. You need bare skin to grip the pole. So what you're saying is that you reserve your judgement for those that aren't as good as this women? Why?

I think the sort of skeevy-feeling thing about taking off the dress isn't the fact of her being in athletic shorts and bra afterward—like you say, that's exactly the appropriate outfit for the specific impressive stuff she's doing—it's that the prelude to really impressive gymnastics is pantomiming little-girl-on-the-hopscotch-court stuff and then a just-let-me-slip-out-of-this-dress move.

Which, that's at the core of the cultural baggage that separates gymnastic pole dancing at this moment in time from e.g. balance beam routines: the general association between pole dancing as an athletic form and pole dancing as stripping for money is pretty significant for the average bystander. That's a complicated thing. And dissociating the two is definitely possible, but you take something like this where you have on the one hand a just stunningly athletic performance that's not remotely porny in presentation and then you front load it with what seems like pretty clear nods to porny tropes and it makes for a complicated viewing experience.
posted by cortex at 7:39 PM on December 7, 2011 [29 favorites]


"...and again she's moving so slowly that in order to apply enough force to the bar to hold herself aloft friction should be stopping her constantly"

From the Cirque interview with Felix Cane linked above, you can see that the pole they're using there, at least, rotates freely. I didn't realize that this was the case and that has to be normal because for Cane to do what she does, it would be an entirely different technique with a non-rotating pole. So I'm pretty sure that the poles always rotate freely. Don't they?

Not that this takes anything away from the athletic feats we're seeing here.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:42 PM on December 7, 2011


If the pole rotates freely, it must just be that one. Which I guess makes sense, inasmuch as it explains why there are multiple poles: the stuff she's doing on the other one would be impossible on a rotating pole. I guess I wasn't thinking that one could be fixed and the other free-spinning.
posted by penduluum at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2011


Hey Whelk, was that Café Cleopatra by any chance?

Maybe? It's still a strip club but it's called the Devil or something last time I was there and it totally sucked.
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2011


I want to comment on this but my brain is now liquid. HOLY CRAP.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:48 PM on December 7, 2011


Some things make you proud to be a primate.
posted by benzenedream at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I loved this.
posted by sandraregina at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2011


My friend's immediate reaction: "Either the International Space Station has a classy strip club, or we need to burn us a motherfuckin' witch!"
posted by Navelgazer at 7:55 PM on December 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


Oh, and I can say that at least not all poles are freely rotating. My friend who has started competing dedicated one room in her and her husband's modest apartment to this, and everyone has gotten to play around with the pole a few times now. It is static.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:57 PM on December 7, 2011


"Which, that's at the core of the cultural baggage that separates gymnastic pole dancing at this moment in time from e.g. balance beam routines: the general association between pole dancing as an athletic form and pole dancing as stripping for money is pretty significant for the average bystander. That's a complicated thing. And dissociating the two is definitely possible, but you take something like this where you have on the one hand a just stunningly athletic performance that's not remotely porny in presentation and then you front load it with what seems like pretty clear nods to porny tropes and it makes for a complicated viewing experience."

Yeah. The Cirque/Felix Cane video is interesting because she's not a stripper and has never been a stripper, she pole danced with Cirque and on tour with Michael Jackson (or was going to), and yet look at the boots she's wearing. Those are stripper, high-heel boots.

Personally, as a feminist and as someone who is also sex-positive and porn-friendly in the Susie Bright mode, my feelings about this are very complicated and ambivalent. What actually bothers me is not that the sex workers who pole dance as part of their work are taking what they do and showing that it's athletic and artistic independent of the sexual context. That would be, or is, very cool.

Rather, what bothers me is that this is a thing, something that non-sex-worker women are doing, a cultural phenomenon. And there's a definite message in that. It's problematic in the same way that beauty contests are problematic. And, really, there's a relationship here to various arts/sports where there absolutely is an implicit male gaze involved and so even when it's nominally not sexually objectifying, it still really is.

Maybe the distinction between those two paragraphs is difficult for many people to see—I recognize that it's a weird distinction. But I think that sex work should be a legitimate choice for women (and men), not just because I am sex-positive and I think that sex is not inherently a bad thing and even that sexual objectification is not inherently a bad thing, but also because my version of feminism very strongly advocates the empowerment to make any sort of choice and sex work is perhaps the right choice for some people.

But that's not what's going on when something that is sexually objectifying is promulgated as something appropriate and good for women in general to participate in. Or, put another way, when it's ostensibly not sexually objectifying but really it has that element in it, it's basically a covert way in which women in general are encouraged and understood to be sexual objects. Just like has so often been the case.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that something that is sexist (and, let's be clear, in practice almost all sex-work by women occurs in sexist context) could be reclaimed by women in general and made to be, as this is, an athletic art.

But it's just so tiresome how so many things which are straight-ahead sexist and misogynist and objectifying in all the worst ways are sugar-coated, the rough edges smoothed off, and sold to all women as some sort of supposedly-not-actually-objectifying healthy activity that they should enjoy. Cheerleading is an example. There's a bazillion examples. This is not really a sign of progress.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


Those are stripper, high-heel boots.

Only if a stripper is wearing them. Otherwise, they're just boots.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:14 PM on December 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


Ivan, the women I know who do this don't really fit your concerns at all. For what it's worth. They love doing it and generally show off for one another or other spectators, who are almost always women themselves. Not that your concerns or critique are invalid - they aren't - but one need only read some of the youtube comments associated with this video to see why this is a fairly underground safe-place sport right now - the women are doing it for themselves, not for the male attention.

Also, I've watched the video many times now, and I think I'm getting a different context for the opening bit of it. It looks to me like she's simply using the first 30 seconds or so to warm up and introduce the modern dance element of the routine - which is apparently fairly novel in and of itself - which will then be incorporated throughout. Watch her face in this - it's purely joyful, and there is no element of seduction or what have you at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:17 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]



Oh also - people should check out this interview yt with the upthread-mentioned Felix Cane. She demonstrates some of her moves to a very in-shape and shapely Soleil compatriot who attempts them (wearing, deliciously, very little ... and what he does wear leaves little to the imagination) to hilarious effect.


Ok, my first reaction is that she is both jaw-droppingly scrumptious and strong enough to tear me apart like an overcooked chicken. If she's representative of who is taking up the sport, I expect we will be seeing a lot more of it.

My second reaction, watching the guy try out the moves, is that a lot of pole dancing requires you to not have nuts. External genitalia and pole dancing looks like a seriously bad combination, and a couple times he came within a few inches of some serious pain.

And thirdly, surely someone makes a male undergarment supportive enough for inverted moves? I think I spent more time noticing what direction his penis was now facing than I did his actual athletic endeavors.
posted by Forktine at 8:17 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to comment that she is using a spinner pole, which is a pole that spins on its base. It makes a lot of the tricks considerably easier, which is not to discount her insane musculature / sense of balance, but a lot of "pros" would say she is cheating.
posted by sourbrew at 8:23 PM on December 7, 2011


So after finishing the rest of the video my above comment stands for the spinny bits, but "THE FUCKING WALKING THING" had me agreeing with the rest of you.
posted by sourbrew at 8:26 PM on December 7, 2011


I did not know when I woke up today that I'd really, really respect pole dancing before going to sleep. I could have maybe guessed I'd respect it a little bit, but this was a surprise. I would like to see the backward semicircle walk done moonwalk style, but still an excellent routine.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:49 PM on December 7, 2011


Re males attempting this: having a scrotum must be a definite impediment, and perhaps moreso is the lack of hips. There are several holds in these videos which require the pole to be braced between the hip and same-side shoulder (it surely has a name), which I'm guessing would be outright impossible for a man.

And since these women seem to be pushing the size-strength ratio pretty close to the optimal extreme, I can't offhand conceive of any techniques that would only be possible with a male's greater upper body strength (cue male pole dancing vids to prove me wrong).
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:53 PM on December 7, 2011


a lot of "pros" would say she is cheating.

But this is a competition, which I have to assume offers this as standard equipment and is for pros. In fact browsing hte competition sites (there are many) it looks like if you compete in the "All Pole" category you are required to use both spinning and fixed poles.
posted by Miko at 9:02 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



"THE FUCKING WALKING THING"™. I remember seeing the Moon Walk for the first time. And this is the first time since then that a dance move has made go "what.the.fuck". Incredible.


Same here. That was totally amazing.
posted by odinsdream at 9:05 PM on December 7, 2011


Rather, what bothers me is that this is a thing, something that non-sex-worker women are doing, a cultural phenomenon. And there's a definite message in that. It's problematic in the same way that beauty contests are problematic.

Wait, what? Beauty contests are problematic on a whole 'nother level. The activity where you have women parading around in swimsuits and princess dresses with smiles glued to their faces is disturbing because the contestants are being judged on very shallow criteria, and there's a minimal lack of skill involved. Ms. Butterfly's glorious motion is an obvious display of athletic prowess and artistic sensibility. I don't think it's at all fair to diminish it to the level of a beauty contest.
posted by Devika at 9:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Amazing, and it put a smile on my face after a fairly rough day. As for how it begins, it's harps then Florence belting out 'The Dog Days are Over' which has a lovely sense of play about it. She's infectious in her enthusiasm, watch her light spinorama right before she gets on the pole. My favourite performers can all do that, share their joy in the sheer wonder of the physical movement they have spent years working hard at. Gene Kelly anyone?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course there are many art images out there, the best two I found possibly NSFW.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:26 PM on December 7, 2011


What's the music playing?

Here's the video: Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on December 7, 2011


I support elizardbits for totalitarian dictator of all she surveys.
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know about techniques that would only be possible with greater male strength, but there are some pretty impressive strength moves in this video of the winner of the World Pole Dance Championships' men's competition -- though the quality of the movement is rather different to that in the OP and Felix Cane videos.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:39 PM on December 7, 2011


Jenyne Butterfly? That doesn't sound Polish.

I'm embarrassed at how long it took me to get this joke.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:06 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over

= ?
posted by grog at 10:22 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


"The activity where you have women parading around in swimsuits and princess dresses with smiles glued to their faces is disturbing because the contestants are being judged on very shallow criteria, and there's a minimal lack of skill involved. Ms. Butterfly's glorious motion is an obvious display of athletic prowess and artistic sensibility. I don't think it's at all fair to diminish it to the level of a beauty contest."

Beauty contests have ostensibly become something that is more than a judgment of a woman's sex appeal to men. That they're barely more than that is beside the point. The point is that both activities are derived from activities that were pure sexual objectification and then have been supposedly made something more acceptable.

Do you think that the pole dancing that actual strippers do is somehow not athletic nor artistic? Or is that only true for those who are bad at it? Where is the line drawn? Is it because one has certain body parts covered and the other doesn't?

I can come up with the most sexist, objectifying activity imaginable and then extrapolate a level of artistic and/or athletic skill of people competing at it that is equal or greater than what we see here. Does that somehow automatically make it not sexist and objectifying? It's the social context in which the activity exists that makes the difference.

Saying that women are part of, or the majority of, the audience for pole dancing competitions and such does not, by itself, sanitize it. There's a long history of examples of things where women become consumers of things that primarily exist to satisfy the male gaze. It's not as if men are the exclusive audience for beauty pageants, after all, to pick one example.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:23 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


If she isn't getting her strength from deadlifts, squats & bench presses, I'm afraid this is just fuckarounditis.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:05 PM on December 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can come up with the most sexist, objectifying activity imaginable and then extrapolate a level of artistic and/or athletic skill of people competing at it that is equal or greater than what we see here. Does that somehow automatically make it not sexist and objectifying? It's the social context in which the activity exists that makes the difference.

I've got to disagree with you there. The new pole dancing phenomenon is pretty specifically not sexist and not objectifying, because the women taking part are choosing to have it be something else. They are not dumb as to the origins of the activity nor are they put off by them (truth be told, that seems to be part of the initial thrill of doing it) but that's not what it is in the end at all. In the end, this is dancing - an incredibly difficult and demanding form of dancing.

To put it another way, if the first women to play tennis were doing so in bikinis for a massively male audience, that wouldn't taint the modern form for me, provided that the focus had been brought back to the athleticism and skill involved.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:08 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, apparently they didn't x-ray her, so the terminatrix thing slipped past. And the Teflon skin was pretty convincing. What I wonder is where she hid the gravitational distortion unit and/or control unit.

Seriously, that was jaw dropping. And I like the Olympic pole dancing idea as a branch of gymnastics. Sounds awesome!
posted by Samizdata at 12:29 AM on December 8, 2011


And I, too, dug the song, but that music video strikes me as chock full of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...
posted by Samizdata at 12:31 AM on December 8, 2011


Watch her face in this - it's purely joyful, and there is no element of seduction or what have you at all.

I'm going to have respectfully but completely disagree with you there - I mean, at one point she bites her finger while looking like the cartoon version of wide-eyed and innocent. The whole thing, before she takes off her dress (which was far "sexier" than then completely utilitarian sports bra and shorts worn underneath) was like some kind of horrible modern-dance-lite paean to sexy children and it completely skeeved me out. I would have much, much, much rather have seen actual adult seduction and sexiness as part of her routine. This was just straight-up gross.

And without taking away from the obvious athletic skill and strength this woman possesses, the whole routine was more of a series of impressive tricks, rather than any kind dance piece that flowed together into something greater than the sum of its parts. She's an amazing athlete, but not so much an artist. At least not from that I can see from that single performance.
posted by cilantro at 12:33 AM on December 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


but you take something like this where you have on the one hand a just stunningly athletic performance that's not remotely porny in presentation and then you front load it with what seems like pretty clear nods to porny tropes and it makes for a complicated viewing experience.

I think the audience is actually bringing that as baggage. The exact same frontloaded hopscotch thing could be done as the lead-in to a rhythmic gymnastics routine, and no-one would see it a clear nod to porny tropes. Because it really isn't porny at all. I might be wrong, and I'd entertain artist intention as evidence here, but I think it's entirely our expectations and pole-dance's cultural baggage that are making a connection where there isn't one.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:34 AM on December 8, 2011


Actually, the length of the dress gives me pause. Yeah, maybe it's unnecessarily porny. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:36 AM on December 8, 2011


And I have XVST grinding through it right now, so I have a nice portable easy to share copy on hand...
posted by Samizdata at 12:38 AM on December 8, 2011


Rather, what bothers me is that this is a thing, something that non-sex-worker women are doing, a cultural phenomenon. And there's a definite message in that. It's problematic in the same way that beauty contests are problematic.

If sex workers develop something that is powerful, good for them! If you think their outstanding creation is thoroughly tainted because of the women who developed it, well, you're going to have to discard an awful lot of things in this world that you take for granted. I think it's easier to accept that old things can be used as parts to make new things, and origins of old things don't need to always restrict and define the destinies of new things.

Swords and ploughshares, etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:52 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, if I understand the concern correctly, focusing on the dance may be addressing a symptom, and less the cause. The cause would be, as someone I know said:

"Every girl dreams of being The Stripper"

She didn't mean that all woman want to get jobs in strip joints, but that the idea of exuding such beauty and such sexuality as to hold every man the room entranced with you - the centre of desire - is a compelling and extremely normal desire. If there is a fascination with knowing the skills of the sex worker, and if that is a bad thing, or if it's attractive for bad reasons, then that's an issue, and pole-dancing going mainstream would be a manifestation of that larger thing, rather than being itself inherently corrupt.

But maybe this isn't a discussion I should be part of. I'm a dancer, I love dancing, my friends love dancing, we see it as a good thing, and maybe I'm just going to rationalise that already-held belief.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:13 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


You should see her on the monkey bars.
posted by pracowity at 2:14 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I would love if this kind of thing did become an Olympic sport and was separated from ever from skeezy strip clubs. So leave out the boots and striptease and we're pretty much there.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 2:21 AM on December 8, 2011


Wadsworth Constant applies
posted by acousticnewton at 2:24 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


The walking thing also featured in a vaseline commercial. Not that it diminishes the amazingness of this performance any.
posted by juv3nal at 2:45 AM on December 8, 2011


juv3nal: In light of the whole conversation upthread, that manly-man/consumerist recontextualization of the "pole dance" is downright bizarro.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:08 AM on December 8, 2011


This is the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd never read Laura Mulvey.
posted by sonascope at 5:25 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]



And without taking away from the obvious athletic skill and strength this woman possesses, the whole routine was more of a series of impressive tricks, rather than any kind dance piece that flowed together into something greater than the sum of its parts.


People keep calling it "pole dance," which makes sense given its origins in strip dancing, but it looks to me to be modernizing into a form of acrobatics, more related to the kinds of vertical movement you see in acts at Cirque du Soleil or in the bar routines at the Olympics, rather than at a dance performance.
posted by Forktine at 6:05 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


the only trouble with making this an olympic sport is then they'd have to do mandatory testing for helium skeletal infusions and then she'd be hooped.
posted by ecourbanist at 6:29 AM on December 8, 2011


There's been some comment on fixed vs free poles -- what are we seeing in the linked video and how do the two types differ? A pole that can spin sounds more dangerous to me, but I'm not sure why-- it seems like it would be unpredictable.

Any equipment experts care to weigh in?
posted by artlung at 8:15 AM on December 8, 2011


I think the audience is actually bringing that as baggage. The exact same frontloaded hopscotch thing could be done as the lead-in to a rhythmic gymnastics routine, and no-one would see it a clear nod to porny tropes. Because it really isn't porny at all. I might be wrong, and I'd entertain artist intention as evidence here, but I think it's entirely our expectations and pole-dance's cultural baggage that are making a connection where there isn't one.

I partly agree and partly don't. I totally agree that there's a big audience baggage thing here—that's part of why I think it's such a complicated dynamic—and I think as far as that goes you can (1) have a gymnastic pole dance routine with zero sexualized content or performer's intent to reference pole-dancing-as-stripping and (2) have some people still respond to it with HURF DURF STRIPPER DANCER in a way that makes zero sense outside of someone bringing their own cultural baggage and lack of familiarity with the athletic context into a situation where it doesn't pertain.

And I think all but the first thirty seconds of Jenyne Butterfly's performance here would be a perfect example of that. The actual pole work is athletic with just about zero Hey We're In A Strip Club vibe.

But either she's totally unfamiliar with both the fact that pole dancing is associated with stripping and with the pervasive porny little-girl-innocent-and-sexy cultural trope—both premises I think it's fair to say being deeply unlikely—or she's playing with the trope while very much aware of the complicated cultural baggage it brings into her routine. As you say, we'd need to know the artist's intent to be sure, but I think it's hard to argue the likelihood that this stuff would never have occurred to her.

And to the extent that she knows her physical audience at competition and it's a likely far savvier, in-group crowd of pole dance performers and enthusiasts and athletes than the larger general youtubing public, referencing that stuff may carry a very different weight and tone where it counts than out here where it doesn't particularly. So in that sense it comes back around to audience cultural baggage, absolutely.

I don't have any argument that this is a good or bad thing or the right or wrong choice for her routine, in any case. I think it's really interesting that there is this whole potential spectrum of aesthetics that come into the cultural and performative space between "look, strippers" and "look, pole dance gymnasts". It's really complicated, interesting stuff, and I imagine there's a pretty wide variety of feelings about it among the folks who actually do this dancing work for one reason or another, and when you get down to it I'm more interested in those folks' intent and self-perception and goals than I am in John Q. Public's opinion of it, sure.

But when we talk about the idea of Olympic pole dance routines, one of the primary things a general audience carrying around this cultural baggage about strip club pole dancing is going to key into is things that read as sexualization of the sort associated with sex work rather than with the sterile idea of competitive athletic performance. In that strict sense, the difference between Jenyne's routine here with vs. without the first thirty seconds is a huge one, whatever her intent with that stuff was.
posted by cortex at 8:17 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are parts of that routine where she's rotating and I can't even figure out where her motive power is coming from.

and

A pole that can spin sounds more dangerous to me, but I'm not sure why-- it seems like it would be unpredictable.

The first pole routine is on a spinning pole and the second is on a static one. I've only practised on static poles, but my understanding is that you have to be a lot gentler going into manuevers on a spinning pole. Most spinning poles can switch into static mode using a pin mechanism at the bottom which will prevent the spnning. According to a pole dance classmate who has a spinning pole at home: "I tried out a fireman spin and nearly puked."

I loved watching this routine and having taken classes I can appreciate the athleticism even more (i.e. I know at least of few of the slides she's doing would cause some serious pole-burn, and she's smiling through that!). Pole dance is mostly not dance, in my estimation, it has more in common with gymnastics. I want to see more routines taking it out of the stripper/burlesque "box" (not that I have a problem with strippers or burlesque, but I think it's kind of limiting as a theme) and really getting creative with it.
posted by Kurichina at 8:28 AM on December 8, 2011


What's the name of that Indian pole sport? I learned about it here
posted by Meatbomb at 8:55 AM on December 8, 2011


For what it's worth, she'll have a training dvd and documentary coming out, as well as a new website with something more than this on it.
posted by Listener at 9:17 AM on December 8, 2011


The exact same frontloaded hopscotch thing could be done as the lead-in to a rhythmic gymnastics routine, and no-one would see it a clear nod to porny tropes.

I disagree; I'd hate that anywhere, the eye-rolling and three-year-old euphoria face. IT's a trope of female juvenility that I hate to see, but would especially hate in sports. Olympic gymnastics already has plenty of creepy elements like this in it, so I don't think the context matters here at all. The response is still "why is this trope in this performance, athletic or otherwise." The only place that trope would not set my teeth on edge would be in an actual modern dance in which it fit into the narrative, or in club dancing, where regardless of whether I like it or not I would expect some of that kind of thing.
posted by Miko at 9:25 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know, maybe I'm just the most naïve person on the internet, but I really didn't see the opening bit as anything more than an expression of joy. It felt like she was embodying spring, and it went well with the harp - the hopscotch, pantomiming washing her face w/ water as if from a brook, teetering on the edge of something ... seemed more like a faun or dryad or fairy than a sexualized child to me. Especially the windmilling on the edge bit clued me in that she had excellent control of her body, and that this was going to be something worth watching.

Watching it for the nth time, the finger-bite was perhaps unnecessary. It could be read as child - I read fey mischief instead, but I do see how it could rub some people the wrong way. Take out that bit, and I like the intro.
posted by Devika at 10:25 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The floor stuff, though, leaves so much to be desired. Yeah, I know, it's probably alluring to most of her customers, but it was so unpleasant. Kill the opening thirty seconds and you have something otherworldly.

1) She is not a stripper, there's no one trying to jam a fiver into her asscrack. There are no CUSTOMERS. She is performing an athletic routine.

2) A large majority of the audience for these expos are women. Of the men who are there, most of them are there with their ladyfriends, or specifically to see their ladyfriends perform.

3) The routines are primarily put together with this largely female audience in mind - while there is a large amount of sexual awareness to the endeavor, the overall feeling is of women performing for women. There's a reason the soundtrack was Florence and the Machine, and not Rob Zombie or some random gogo track or something. While I'll agree the opening floor segment was a bit forced in its over-awkwardness, thinking that it was all about some weird sexual infantilization is completely misplacing the context of the entire performance.

4) Rotating poles are bog-standard in this form of dance. Thinking that it constitutes as cheating is like thinking ice skates are a form of cheating when moving over a frozen surface.

5) That walking semi-circle thing blew my shit away, that was NUTS.

(disclosure: my ladyfriend and a large number of my other friends are in the various pole-dance studios that are all over the place - DivaFit, etc etc. I've been to a large number of these expos.)
posted by FatherDagon at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


If she isn't getting her strength from deadlifts, squats & bench presses, I'm afraid this is just fuckarounditis.

UbuRoivas, WTF?

That reads like some sort of Crossfit(tm) fanboy diatribe, but then, you might just have a meaningful point that I have absolutely no context at all to understand.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2011


Ubu's riffing on this recent and contentious post about gym routines.
posted by cortex at 12:00 PM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also - That totally decontextualizes women as a stereotype rape target! If you haven't read Margaret Sutmiller's 1957 master's thesis, "Why All Things Suck", you have no business posting in this thread. Warning: may contain triggers for those who are triggered by things described in the description.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:03 PM on December 8, 2011


1) She is not a stripper, there's no one trying to jam a fiver into her asscrack.

Man, I'd pity anyone who tried that. She'd probably snap his fingers with a powerful flex of her ass cheeks, but do it so gracefully that it looks like part of the routine.
posted by pracowity at 12:16 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


riffing on this recent and contentious post about gym routines

Yeah, she's totally flopping around that pole like a monkey.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:34 PM on December 8, 2011



While I'll agree the opening floor segment was a bit forced in its over-awkwardness, thinking that it was all about some weird sexual infantilization is completely misplacing the context of the entire performance.

I don't think that's what it was "all about," but I do think it was meant to be "sexy," which is not in and of itself a bad thing.

It was a pretty tone-deaf choice, for a female audience in particular . I am not sure if she was counting on the audience not being aware of the disturbing pervasiveness of the "little girl" trope in pornography, or if it's so absolutely ubiquitous that she didn't think anyone would find it strange. But the fact that she does "strip" shows that she is aware of the sexual connotations of what she is doing, and the fact that she seems to be acting quite purposefully like a young child is unsettling in a way I am quite sure she did not intend.


For contrast, take a look at this routine from 2010 Here she nods to the sexualized nature of the sport, but in a much more demure and sophisticated way. You could take a still from this routine and make it into a perfume ad. This seems like a much better choice. Her performance here isn't as athletically impressive, but it's mezmerizing.

And notice that she does not take any clothing off. It isn't really a necessary component of the performance. Certainly bare skin is required, but if you strip before you pole dance as part of your routine, people are going to think "stripper" and that is the lens through which they will view the rest of your actions onstage.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:13 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was a pretty tone-deaf choice, for a female audience in particular . I am not sure if she was counting on the audience not being aware of the disturbing pervasiveness of the "little girl" trope in pornography, or if it's so absolutely ubiquitous that she didn't think anyone would find it strange.

louche mustachio, the other possibility is that you're overestimating the number of female in the audience that would respond the same way you do. Some of them might - might! - not even consider themselves feminists. I know - crazy, right?

My bet is that most women attending a pole-dancing competition are not thinking to themselves, "I'll love this, and the ticket is so totally worth the cost, so long as not one single contestant makes this look like a sexualized strip routine, using stereotypical porn tropes!"
posted by IAmBroom at 6:52 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I don't know, maybe I'm just the most naïve person on the internet"

I'm in your club. Rewatched today - the pre-pole dance/mime is about as innocent as it can be considering she takes off an article of clothing. Would not be out of place in a kid/tween/teen dance competitions I went to when my daughter was younger and participating in same. Mind you, I'm not saying those of you reading it as oversexualized are wrong; but I think reasonable people can disagree about what the mime is meant to signify.

It might be nice to hear or read what Jenyne Butterfly herself has to say about her intentions with the performance. Are there artist statements at these events?

Also, Kurichina, thanks for info re: spin vs. fixed poles. Rewatching it I can see her using her weight and momentum to control the pole motion. Impressive and significant physical skill!
posted by artlung at 7:33 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would not be out of place in a kid/tween/teen dance competitions I went to when my daughter was younger and participating in same.

It might not be out of place there but this is a grown, adult woman.

It might be nice to hear or read what Jenyne Butterfly herself has to say about her intentions with the performance. Are there artist statements at these events?

I would like to hear her describe what she was thinking when she choreographed this.
posted by Miko at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just watched the beginning again. I didn't get any creepy vibe -- though I can see how going from hopscotch to a full-on, hardcore nude strip dance would raise all kinds of flags. But her actual pole dance routine is less sexual than the background dancing in most any modern music video; it's no more sexual than an Olympics gymnastics routine.
posted by Forktine at 10:08 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't find it at all sexual. I just hate seeing grown women mimicking little girls and that does kind of endorse the juvenilization of women in pop culture. She didn't need it and it was hard to connect it with the rest of the routine.

The music was terrific and she made the most of its features.
posted by Miko at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is an example of really beautiful presentation.

It's an old video, and this probably wouldn't be practical for competition, but... it's just really cool. The projections on her body make her look otherworldly.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:24 AM on December 9, 2011


Another!
posted by louche mustachio at 10:27 AM on December 9, 2011


(ahhh, that's the same video with different music. Crumbs.)
posted by louche mustachio at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2011


As a consolation, here's a higher quality video with a different dancer which is still amazing
posted by louche mustachio at 10:32 AM on December 9, 2011


Wow interesting and compelling perspectives on the porny-little-girl stuff. To me, that performance comes across as not just about athleticism and beauty and strength, but also sharp intelligence and power. I saw a considered choice to set up the frilly-dress, hopscotching, finger-licking, this-is-what-girls-are-good-at trope and tear it the fuck down, repeatedly. She's picked pole-dancing, and she's gonna own that shit.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:40 AM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You do realize that pole dancing can't be done wearing a little dress thing. You need bare skin to grip the pole. So what you're saying is that you reserve your judgment for those that aren't as good as this women? Why?

I was trying to be complimentary, sorry if I offended you. I actually really enjoyed her performance.
posted by hepta at 2:33 PM on December 11, 2011


Yes! The one and only time I was at a strip club, most of it was eye-glazingly numbing (though I admit I was doing my best to be some kind of internal anthropologist-on-Mars taking mental field notes, so maybe I wasn't into it in the right way anyway) BUT the one amazing thing of the night was this one worker there whose pole dance was similar to this (there wasn't the crazy "walking" thing but most of the other stuff she did) and who had incredible arms/back/shoulders--she wasn't the standard "looks barely 18 and surviving on a diet of cigarettes and diet Coke" the other workers all appeared as (forgive me if that sounds like too broad a paintbrush or overly negative; I wouldn't have minded so much if not that EVERY other woman working there looked that one way). I remember being like "oh my god, this is some Olympic level crap right here" and being amazed at how strength and talent and humans doing beautiful and incredible things just because they can, that sort of thing is everywhere, even places you aren't expecting to find it. It was weirdly touching to me.

And right now I've just been going on with friends for the millionth time about how the whole women being physically strong deal doesn't necessarily mean you have to look like a bodybuilder. This is an excellent example I should tuck away for future reference.
posted by ifjuly at 4:57 AM on December 12, 2011


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