This week’s San Francisco S Factor Newsletter had a great article by Sheila Kelley (the Founder) called Meanderings. I will link it here, but they “go away” every week, so I will also cut and paste the bit I’m talking about right here:
I’m at this global think tank. I have no idea why they call it a think tank, it’s really just a big old lecture series. I just went to a panel on the changing face of the Muslim world. I’m obsessed with women who wear veils whether of their own volition or because of laws that make them or the culture they ascribe to or the religion they belong to. One of the panelists was this beautiful scarved woman named Dahlia. The revelation about Islamic nations was stunning and humbling and exhilarating. The details are too numerous to go into right here in the middle of the convention hall but suffice to say I sure would like to go to Saudi Arabia someday.After the panel I was standing in the room, full with about 90% men in business suits, when this vibrant woman walked up to me and told me that she was an S Factor student. Another young woman standing nearby heard “S Factor”, turned quickly and said, “I want to do that, how can I do that?” The S Factor student said, “Oh it’s incredible. It will change your life!” The young woman whispered, “I’ve heard, I cannot wait, I’m so excited to take it.” Now you have to get the image in your mind’s eye, there was almost nothing but a sea of men, just men, milling about everywhere. There was a total of maybe six women in the entire room, three of them talking about the secret world of S Factor when Dahlia, the Islamic panelist who had been talking to some guys next to us turned around and asked, “What are you talking about?” En masse the three of us turned slowly toward her and said almost in unison something to the effect of, “Oh my god…”. Then the S Factor student continued on with, “It’s the most amazing thing you could ever do for yourself as a woman…”. Seeing my chance, I dove in to explain S Factor as an “organic feminine movement class”. I didn’t bring up the words “striptease” or “poledancing” as I’ve seen them scare certain women off completely.As I move further down the road into my own “S”-ness I find that the striptease/poledancing definition just doesn’t do the “S” justice. It has all of those elements but it is so much more. When people query me now I speak of the “tease” and the “pole” in the same breathe as “natural and organic feminine movement” and “floor work”, “mat work”, and “standing and wall work”…all are elements of what comes wholesomely from a woman’s body moving into her own “S” shape.
Dahlia perked up as she listened intently and intelligently, nodding her head up and down. She was intrigued. She asked how she could take “such a class”. I invited her to visit one of our studios across the country and asked her where she lived…DC, here I come!
The italics above are mine. I’ve been doing “The S” for a little over 2 years and yes – I even have a pole in my own home. It’s been very interesting to see how “Talk about The S” has become more empowerment, and less tease/strip, over these 2 years.
I love it, because I actually came to S Factor after one of my fEmpowerment teachers (Susan Bremer/Sensual Dance For Real Women) was un-chosen for the Oprah show in favor of Sheila Kelley, years and years ago. Susan was pretty bitter about it, and “refused” to watch any of the S Factor DVDs, etc. I, of course, wanted to see what the difference might be, and bought the DVDs (back then, there was no S Factor in San Francisco, it was mainly one L.A. studio).
“The S” is sooooooooo different than your usual “striptease thang.” It was even very different than Susan’s “Sensual Dance for Real Women” – though they both come at it from the same “mindset” … That you’re doing this for yourself and your “inner erotic creature” (or Inner Bond Grrl) not for anyone else.
The biggest difference between the S and other DVDs, books, and classes I have now attended or connected as a kinda pole dance/strip tease training collector? The S is a HARD workout! Holy cow! The first hour is just warmup, including abs, pushups, legs, stretches, arms, you name it. Then you learn some Pole Moves (which get harder as you progress – I’m a multiple Level 6 now). Last, you just let it go, and let your “inner erotic creature” take over to a song of your choice (at higher levels – at lower levels, you are taught a “routine” that you slowly, ever so slowly, let your Erotic Creature morph her way out of).
I just love that Sheila used the words “Natural and Organic Feminine Movement.” I would also say “fEmpowered Movement.”
It’s still fun at cocktail parties or business networking functions to find a way to drop in the fact that I have a pole in my house. It’s even funnier though to realize that a lot of the things that I do, workout-wise, with my life are to get me a smidge closer to being able to actually do a “Spinning Helicopter” or a “Climb and Flip” or a “Pole Cat.”
Pole dancing is part yoga, part Pilates, part balance, part strength, and all beauty. Check out the S Factor DVDs and if you live close enough – go to an Intro at one of their studios! If you write me a Comment, I can see if I can get you a comp’d Intro class ($40 value) – no promises, but I can try! You can click to go to their website to see locations.