A woman, a pole, an attic and a camera

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Margot is a multi-talented artist, living in a suburban Los Angeles eco-house with 6 other artists. Her newest interest is pole dancing - she bought a pole and installed it in her attic.

She pole dances for her own enjoyment - working through maneuvers with a style that resembles finely-tuned olympic athleticism more than sexually-charged dancing.

She can't help shooting glances at you as she dances, though. Her expression is usually inquisitive, as though awaiting instructions. Every so often she would make a more intense eye contact, a kind of challenging look, like a mouse dancing in front of a cat, asking 'do you have a problem with this? What are you going do about it?'.

The shoot was surprisingly asexual. She seemed alienated and alone on the pole. I wanted to run with that, so I suggested that she whiten her complexion with some facepaint, and she agreed.

The white make-up and red lipstick created a mask-like effect. There's something fitting about a pole dancer wearing a mask. An alluring facade covering a core of vulnerability. I've only ever been into two strip clubs - on both occasions I thought that the dancers looked like naive girls trapped in a woman's body.

I wanted more expression in her face, so I asked her to imagine that a man had just chopped his balls off with a pair of crimping scissors and then thrown them at her. She just laughed, but then became serious again and started breathing loudly, hyperventilating almost, to conjure an expression of shock. She was a good actress - again, presenting a mask that differed to her own feelings.

I wondered about the relationship between the pole dancer and the pole. Is the pole a comforting thing, or something cold and repulsive? I guess it depends on their reason for dancing.


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