We are super excited to announce Jaci Tipton as a new blogger for UPA. Jaci has been a blogger in our community for several years now, and she has graciously joined our team to bring you fresh content. We want nothing more than for you to tell your stories through UPA. Want to blog for UPA? Email us: email@example.com. For now, get to know Jaci Tipton!
I’ve been pole dancing for a few years, but trying to explain the importance of pole in my life can still be an immense struggle. Yes, it’s great exercise, but pole is so much more than that. It gives a voice to the sides of me that I don’t always have the option to otherwise express. I was always the smart girl. The rule follower. The proverbial “good girl”. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being any of those things, I wanted an outlet that would let me be more than just those things. Pole gave a voice to my sassy, assertive, and dramatic sides. Pole dancing gave me a space to explore all of my emotions, while building physical strength and community with other incredible women. The confidence gained in the pole studio has carried over into my job, my friendships, and other areas of my personal life. That’s why it’s so invaluable to me; the skills don’t lose their application once you step outside the studio door. This is also what makes me eager to blog more about my pole experiences. I’m not a professional dancer. I’m not an instructor. I’m just a pole student whose life has been enriched because of what has happened in the studio.
I wasn’t always a dancer. My childhood dance training consisted of a couple years of ballet when I was around five years old. I don’t remember much about it, but apparently when it came time for the recital the other girls did a lovely routine; I did my own thing on stage. I guess I’ve always had an independent streak. I loved ballet. I still love watching ballet. But it was pretty clear from an early age that being a ballerina wasn’t meant for me.
Growing up in a small town in rural Ohio, there weren’t exactly a lot of other dance options to try. Middle and high school saw innumerable (very awkward) dance routines created with friends, but no formal dance training. I dabbled with ballroom dancing during college and law school. The dancing was great and I loved having an excuse for fun, sparkly dresses but there always seemed to be some sort of drama. Further, it was a community where I just didn’t quite seem to “fit”. I have a lot of fond memories from my years in ballroom and met some great people, but it just wasn’t for me as a long term passion.
Pole/exotic dance had always intrigued me. I think a large part of the attraction was that pole was the exact opposite of what people expected of me or even what I expected of myself. My mom was visiting me in Columbus one weekend when we walked by a local pole studio. I took mental note of the name and location, but it took months before I was able to work up the courage to actually sign up for a class. I had a laundry list of reasons not to go. I wasn’t fit enough. I wasn’t sexy enough. I didn’t have much of a dance background. From the moment I set foot in my first class all of my fears were quickly put to rest. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have six pack abs or defined biceps and shoulders. It didn’t matter that my sexy walk looked like a baby giraffe taking its first steps. What mattered was that I was there, I was open minded, and I was trying.
Over three years of consistent classes later, there are still plenty of days that I feel like a baby giraffe trying to take its first wobbly steps. Pole doesn’t come naturally to me; I’ve seen lots of people progress far faster than I have. I think that’s why pole is so meaningful though. Every new move represents a struggle, and ultimately, a triumph. I’ve become more confident in the body I have, lack of six pack abs and all. I’ve grown to love performing in front of others and even competing, which in turn has given me confidence speaking and arguing in front of others in my job as a lawyer.
I look forward to blogging for UPA so that I can bring a student perspective to the forefront. Pole has helped me find my voice and I am now excited to share it with others.
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