Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Dance For Dad

When I told my dad that I was starting pole dance classes in the fall of 2013, he turned an especially interesting shade of red. The color nicely complemented the absolutely baffled look on his face. After explaining that I wasn't pursuing a new career venture but looking to try something completely new to get myself out of a funk, his faced changed to the very familiar look of mixed amusement/disbelief that said, "That's my Stefany: leave it to her to do something totally out of the ordinary!" It took some creative explaining for my conservative father, but once he understood what I was really up to with this whole pole dance thing, he was very supportive and encouraging.

He never saw me dance live but I did force him to watch videos of all my dance solos. "Wow, its really cool that you can do all stuff!" He would say, watching each time with the same apprehension and amazement. I kinda think he was secretly afraid of witnessing me move in a way that a dad would not want to see his daughter move. I always had to laugh because up until this point, my solos have been very subdued in terms of what you might expect a pole dance routine to look like. I think he finally got the picture, that pole dance is a giant umbrella that covers a wide variety of dance styles. Regardless, he was very supportive and proud of me. I actually think he secretly enjoyed seeing those videos and pictures.

Not long after my dad passed away this most recent November, I had the most vivid dream of him. I dreamed that I was at one of  my dance shows and that he was there to watch. I remember feeling really nervous because I wanted to make him proud. After the performance, my dad came rushing onto the stage. He was absolutely gushing about how great he thought I did. "Wow! I mean WOW!! That was incredible!! Gosh, it looks like so much fun to do all that stuff!!" And that is when he took a running leap at one of the poles, grabbed on and began swinging around in huge, wide circles. He had a look of pure joy on his face. I jumped in and we proceeded to have an absolute blast doing some doubles moves together. It was the most amazingly joyful and comforting dreams I've ever had.

The solo I did for this most recent show was inspired by that dream. I wanted to capture the feeling of being carefree and alive. The song I chose is Heavenly Day by Patti Griffin. Its about spending the most perfect day with someone and not having a care in the world. Its a beautiful song and felt it worked perfectly. Doing this routine: putting it together, reworking it, choosing spins and tricks as well as the emotion behind it and then finally performing it, was incredibly healing. For some reason, I cried a lot during the day before the show. It worried me because I wanted to dance with joyfulness and I was afraid I would just look sad. But when it came time to do it, I just thought about my dad and let the rest happen. I'm very happy with the way it went. Technically, I remembered all my moves and executed everything fairly well. I did have a minor equipment issue where I did a spin that got a bit too much pull for the particular pole I was using. It caused the bottom to move, but don't worry - I was aware of it and pretty proud of myself for not letting it get me flustered.

Maybe it is still a weird thing to do; choreographing a solo pole routine in memory of my dad. I guess I don't really care because I know he would understand it. I danced my heart out for my dad and believe I made him proud. And at the end of the day, that's all that truly matters.

Here is the final performance of the piece I created in memory of my dad: