Hand’-ling the Pole

** This is the first of what I hope will be many guest posts.  This first guest post is brought to you by writer, teacher, actress, and friend: Tarah Cantrell Brown.  Enjoy! **

Have you ever considered the sensuality of your hands?  Really touched them so that you could feel their softness?  Run your dominant hand over your other hand and feel them.  Feel the movement of your dominant hand as it strokes the other hand sensuously… roll a few fingers over the crevices between each knuckle.  Feel every curve.  Feel free to imagine someone else touching you, but remember that you’re always in control.  Now, use your hands to touch your body.  Anywhere on your body will suffice, but make sure you touch a place that makes you feel good.  This is where my story begins.
A month ago, I was asked to audition for a burlesque show and, after an hour and a half of dancing in one inch heals and sweating from head to toe, I was offered a position as a solo dancer as well as a chorus girl for a few other routines.  I was very excited because, well, I’m an overweight non-dancer who’s never done burlesque.  It became apparent very quickly, however, that I was the only non-dancer in the show.

Thus, I found myself walking into Brick House Fitness last Thursday to attend V Fitness, a class that focuses on sensual movement and hoisting yourself three feet in the air and supporting yourself primarily with your arms, wrists, and hands while performing elaborate feats of gravity.  Can you guess the activity?  Yes, I am referring to pole dancing, that oh-so-tantalizing and scandalous of arts.  And I gotta tell ya, my hands have never felt sexier.

If you’ve ever seen Gravity Plays Favorites, a well known pole dancing duo, then you understand just how incredibly athletic pole dancing is.  Not only is it an artistic outlet where, if you can get around that pole without snapping in two, you will typically become your own choreographer since very few professional choreographers ever cross the barrier, but pole dancing also requires very strong wrists–the sort that body builders envy.  Because I did my research before hand (and I’ve been trying desperately to lose some weight and gain some muscle for the burlesque) I pumped two pound weights every day leading up to the first class.

When I got there, I was happily surprised to see that a couple of the women were my size or larger and three of them were actually first-timers as well.  I am not a nervous person, but two of the women taking the class with us clearly were pretty frightened to be there.  “Is it hard?,” asked one of the ladies.  The other’s hands were shaking a bit as she began to turn pale.

“Don’t worry girls,”  said the instructor, Desda Moana, a leggy brunette with long, voluptuous eyelashes to match her figure.  “We’re going to warm up with some yoga, jazz, and other fun stuff.”

Let me first denote that this ain’t your mom’s yoga.  Desda put the music on and immediately began moving sensuously to the music, emphasizing her hips, touching her stomach with her hands.  We started with a belly dancing roll of the hips that lasted almost the entire song, followed by leg stretches and the cat pose.  Any time our hands weren’t supporting us, Desda encouraged us to “use your hands, ladies!,” at which point, we would touch various spots on our bodies, moving them across our sweat-soaking skin as though we were rubbing in the most lavish and luscious cocoa butter we’d ever used.  By the end of the warm up, every one had the urge to decrease their own personal spaces, even those that had been nervous initially.

That is, until it came time to spin on the poles, but we’ll get there in a moment.  First, we took a walk to the surrounding walls and picked spots.  For those of you at home, TRY THIS.  Desda put some Lady Gaga on and instructed us to lean against the wall on our hands, which would become our supports in the process of practicing.  We then bumped and ground, twisted around, and moved up and down without removing our hands from the wall.  It doesn’t look nearly as silly as it sounds; in fact, each lady had their own spin on the dance, and this made the process wonderfully unique for everyone there.

We then turned around, facing one another, imagining our own nakedness.  Or perhaps I should say nudity, because no one felt ashamed or vulnerable.  We were women, and we were in control.  Our backs against the wall, we thrust and bobbed against the wall some more this time working our hands, not as support mechanisms, but as vehicles of sensuality, touching ourselves as we explored.

Then came time for the polls.  Sources said I was a natural, but in my opinion we all looked amazing despite feeling tremendously silly.  The nervous ladies, however, decided to have one go and then call it quits.  They did just as well as the rest of us… I guess they just weren’t ready to admit to themselves how beautiful they were.  The rest of us, however, understood our fire.  I think I’ve found my new passion, and it all started with my sensuous, beautiful hands.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Tim on August 10, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Tarah’s wonderful story prompted me to look up “sensual hands” on Flickr. Turns out there’s a whole group of photos with that title, and I like quite a few of them, especially some of the ones with both hands and feet. I then extended my search to include any kind of hand pictures. Here are links to some of my favorites.

    http://bighugelabs.com/onblack.php?id=41942696&size=large (If it’s too big for your screen, click “large/small” at the top)
    Give Hope.  Give A Hand.
    touch hips
    Hands Open
    Hommage to Escher's Drawing Hands (1989)
    Your life in my hands

    Maybe you could explore artistic views of hands in a future post.


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