This is the first full-length documentary about pole dancing I have found, and it is great to see representation in mainstream media. I have been taking pole dance classes for about 5 years, and was a part-time instructor for a few months pre-covid. This review is based primarily off how I feel the film represents my experience in the pole world. To start off, I love how this film captures the body-positivity and mutual support that is true across the pole community. Sheila encourages the women to embrace their femininity, which is great. However, she seems to have a narrow view of what sexuality and femininity encompasses, when it really should be up to each individual. For example, she encourages one woman to pull her legs together to embrace her feminine, S-shaped curves. In reality, perhaps some women feel more powerful taking up space. I feel it's also worth noting that in my experience, the pole community is also welcoming of men and non-binary people, and encourages confidence in one's self regardless of sexuality or sexual orientation. It's worth noting that typical pole dance studios do not include the intense therapy component shown at S-Factor. I wish Sheila discussed more about what her qualifications were to act as a trauma therapist. While most fitness instructors do feel part of their role includes some life coaching, trauma therapy is a different beast entirely. I previously worked full-time as a Substance Use Counsellor in a trauma-informed recovery centre, and even I would never get into trauma work with a client until I knew they had all of the tools and skills they would require for staying safe and grounded during that type of work, which would take several weeks at a bare minimum (more likely several months). I also worry this film comes dangerously close to the "# Not a Stripper" vibe without saying so directly. Several women in the film mention how they are afraid to talk about pole dancing in public for fear of being perceived as being a stripper. It is true that as a pole dancer, people who are not familiar with it as a sport or art form may associate pole dancers as being strippers, which is generally not the case. However, sometimes it is that case, and that is cool too. These days most pole dancers realize that the art form has been appropriated from strippers, and that it is insulting to the creators of pole dance to insist on a need to differentiate ourselves from them, based on some perceived moral hierarchy. For example, if you posted Instagram photos of yourself cooking in your kitchen, would you feel the need to write "Don't worry, I'm #notachef" ? Overall, I enjoyed this movie, and shed more than a few tears during emotional parts (which were often!). As the first mainstream documentary on pole dance that I have encountered, I feel that this film may make pole dancing more approachable to some people who were not familiar with the art form, or may have had misconceptions about it. This film will also appeal to experienced pole dancers who want to see better pole moves and tricks than were shown in Hustlers! Sorry JLo :P
Strip Down, Rise Up
Strip Down, Rise Up
Academy Award Nominated director Michèle Ohayon's Verite film follows women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds who heal trauma and body image shame through sensual dance and daring pole dance artistry.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 06, 2021 at 09:33 PM