Cage dancing, a pretty unheard of concept in everyday life, but I am here to guide you through the nu-metal erotic underworld world that I have been hanging out in for the last few months, and to pass on some magical life wisdom I have gained by pretending to be a Goth Britney spears. Cage dancing is an olive branch off the ‘erotic’ dancing tree, but is most similar to go-go dancing, or podium dancing.
Simply put, you are there to dance your butt off to entertain ya local club crowds, and I do this with a pack of ladies, in a cage, and sometimes with an eye patch on (we do themed nights.) Hopefully this explains my totally legitimate job and now, like the shitty life coach I am, here is some wisdom that will guide you in channelling that inner vixen:
Join your local Zumba class – Glamorous right? Zumba is a way of life, and you get to know your fellow class members really well over time, so extra points for friendship! Zumba is great for building confidence, as you literally stop giving a sh*t about how you look, or if you’re getting the moves right when you’re just having fun. Honestly, Dancing has forced me to embrace myself fully, and to not underestimate myself constantly. When you drag yourself out of your comfort zone, really magical things can happen, and sure some things may scare you shitless, but as cliché as this may sound, taking risks can be so rewarding for your confidence and general sanity.
It’s perfectly fine to laugh at yourself (and healthy!) -The most important thing about my job, apart from latex hot pants is just being able to enjoy yourself and to laugh when you make a mistake, because when you have 6 inch platforms on, and the floor is slippery it can become a tricky situation, especially if you’ve had one too many jagerbombs. Try looking sensual while dancing to “Tainted Love” when you can’t see past your hands and you’re pretty sure you’ve just spotted your ex in the crowd, – rough times, even rougher when you flash them halfway through the song – NOT in a flattering way either. So there is a high chance of mild embarrassment occurring, so sometimes you gotta just laugh it off, like when you trip on the bus stairs, or call your boss, ‘mum’. (that’s a painful one)
Practice (boring) Self Care – You must love yourself to be the feistiest girl in town. – FYI: Self-care isn’t just a nice bath bomb or a bottle of rosé, although they do help. Sometimes you gotta do the painful, awkward, boring things, such as paying your bills on time, or opening a savings account, as these things will help you buy way more bath bombs and hell, you can even fill your bath with rosé too, but being your own personal assistant is a big part of self care.
Support your fellow Femme friends – Simple compliments can do wonders for uplifting people – and yourself. – If you think something nice about someone in your brain, then say it, you will make their day, maybe even their week. Plus you’re putting some happy energy in to the world, making you a more positive, loving, human bean. I have the privilege of being a part of such a strong, female, support network, which is a really special feeling, and we support and respect each other on and off the stage.
Don’t let other peoples views or opinions ruin what you love doing – This is a classic piece of advice, but as someone who could be considered as a ‘exotic’ dancer, you face a lot of general sexism, from both sides, because people think you are purely there to entertain the ‘male gaze’. People seem to forget that we live in a progressive, sex positive society, where it is normal for couples, or hen parties to visit strip clubs, why? Because it’s exciting! And as a performer, you do your job because bottom line, it makes you happy, and I think that is something everyone should strive to do- things that you enjoy.
Use positive affirmations on yourself– If you believe that you are pretty fabulous, then no one can tell you sh*t. – Make a list of things you dislike about yourself (yes, even the really cringey things you wouldn’t want to say out loud ever) and then transfer these things into kind affirmations about yourself. This is a very old school tip to having more self-love, but it actually works.
Speak your feelings– Because of the nature of my job, sometimes I have to give people a gentle reminder that it is not ok to try and make contact with me when I am performing. Ridiculous right? But alcohol can make certain people turn in to total assholes. Although saying that, the alternative scene that our night caters for are generally lovely people. But being the giant marshmallow that I am, learning to stand up for myself took a lot of being pushed around by others until I finally snapped, and I am talking about my life outside the club here, and it wasn’t pretty. I would suggest that you try and stay mindful of passive aggressive statements you make to others, and then try and change it in to an assertive statement, so instead of hinting that Sarah should wash up her plates via snarky comments when she’s around, Just tell her to do the damn dishes. Easy right?
These are just some of the things I have learnt in my (short) time as a dancer, I now take the experiences that I have had ‘in the cage’ and apply them to other parts of my life. Little things like wearing a pair of heels giving you an instant sassy boost in public (and alone), remembering to focus on yourself, and not assume that you are constantly under scrutiny by your peers. Because most of the time, people are staring at you because they think you are a actual goddess and want to be your best friend, or they are trying to figure out how you got your hair so big (it’s full of secrets). Even if they aren’t thinking either of those things, who really cares, you know you’re working it.