The way I look at strip clubs now isn’t the same as when I used to go to clubs at 21 years old in Atlanta (shout out to Clark Atlanta University). At 21, I was hitting up Follies, Blue Flame and Magic City to see the twerking, the hustling and the baller’s spending racks on women popping p*ssy for tuition. Yes- I was judging. But now my perspective has changed. Now, I go to strip clubs for the art of it. Strippers are athletes, ballet dancers, business women, conversationalists and walking goddesses that appreciate their entire beings.
I’ve had a pole in my living room for at least three years and I’m still only doing the fireman spin. And as a newly minted burlesque performer, I find myself still feeling awkward on stage. I have the potential to go IN, but I don’t. I would have all the moves down packed, but i’m never 100% feeling what i’m doing. I want to look like everything i’m doing is effortless. I asked my favorite performer, Right Now Rouge, to teach me some tricks to embodying my sexy. I know Rouge from the Black Burlesque scene and as the premiere dancer at The Sweet Spot. Rouge recently started stripping on the side as another way to express herself as a dancer. On stage, Rouge is a beast! She commands respect, she is committed to her craft and has the thickest, strongest legs I’ve ever seen. When she’s not making people worship her under the red lights, she is a slight nerdy intellectual who loves food, fitness, anime, 5K run’s, glitter and dropping gems on the internet about women’s rights and our freedom of expression. Rouge is fully self-expressed in all ways. So I figured she was the perfect person to teach me how to be sensual like a stripper. There’s a misperception that women get into exotic dancing because of some traumatic event in their life. Rouge isn’t one of those exotic dancers, she dances because it makes her feel good and she’s pretty f*cking great at it.
Rouge comes to my house in 8 inch shoes, glasses, a short afro and a smile. Before we started dancing, I hit her with a question, “What is the most liberating thing about stripping?” She gives the wittiest answer, “ I suppose the most liberating thing about what I do is not giving any f*cks and being free. It’s like breaking the final chain of human existence.” I replied, “Ashe.”
We began by stretching then moving into floor work and wall work then eventually pole tricks. Y’all getting on that pole is hard, you need core strength, strong thighs, powerful arms and the ability to withstand bruising from rubbing against the pole This is why I respect strippers, and even more, I respect them for being so aware of there sensuality in a way that many other women don’t.
Rouge gave me 10 of her stripper rules to sensuality. See them below:
- Remember to breathe. You’re giving a lot of energy out right now, you want that shit back.
- Don’t think about what your dance moves are, just do it. Feel your body, get out of your head. They already paid for their ticket to see you. You have to see yourself first to make sure you give a good show.
- The Higher the heels, the closer to God. No really, the higher your heels are, the easier it is for you slink across the dance floor.
- Like all humans, patrons at the strip club really want an attractive woman to keep them company, but be able to hold conversation, listen to their life stories, and have the ability to be somewhat vulnerable, oddly in an erotic setting. Basically- being able to connect with someone is important in all aspects in life.
- People are always watching- the people who adore us (black women) and the ones who despise and envy us, they like to watch. They love to see what magic we’ll share- how we’re going to walk, how we’re going to speak, how we’re going to smile and laugh, and express our strong will and idyllic nature. And I love when they watch- even if all I do is stretch my arms, every movement has power to me.
- Film yourself: record yourself moving to sexy music. Film yourself in some new outfits. Create your own fashion show in your bedroom. Record yourself twerking. Be your own cam girl. You don’t even have to post it if you don’t want to. The act is for your indulgence alone.
- Dance…as much as you can wherever you can. Again, I play lots of sexy music and I play twerk music, and ride the subway dancing or moving in my zone. You got to be comfortable feeling yourself when you in public.
- Dancing alone in public is looked at one of the weirdest things to people, but the moment you’re able to break that barrier and get rid of those fucks, you’ll be able to further own every part of who you are.
- Cater to yourself, in all aspects of the term. Take yourself out on a fly ass date. Explore a new venue or activity. Buy some new skincare treats. Cater to your hair. Pamper yourself.
- Let sensual dancing be apart of your therapy, so letting yourself find some kind of release, especially sexual, is beneficial.
What I’m learning about sensuality via stripping is that you are in control. Rouge fully embraces exhibitionism and allows those strange eyes to watch- she gives them consent to watch her, even though she’s already in public, she still control how much of her sensual energy they get to receive or observe.