POV

Dangerous Curves

Twerk it, work it. They’re not fat, they’re fierce. These big assed beauties rule a pole like nobody’s business

Story by Lora Wiley - lora@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by PDW Photography
Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

When I first heard about this plus size pole dancing contest, I thought it must be a joke or parody and I couldn’t buy my ticket fast enough. I couldn’t have been more judgey judgey wrong. This evening was filled with all out fierceness, a dead serious competition and it introduced me to a whole new category of athlete/artists whose moves command and demand respect. Size be damned, these ladies could work a pole like nobody’s business.

Backstage before the event started, surprisingly, the mood was joyous and family-like. Mostly this stemmed from the contest’s creator and producer, Roz Mays AKA “The Diva”, a stunning effervescent woman with a huge personality and a heart to match. A formidable performer herself, Roz also teaches pole dancing classes with names like SWAG (Scandalous Wild Ass Gyrations with Roz) and The Diva’s Signature Pole Jam.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

I peeked into dressing rooms where the competitors were warming up and making up (insert lots of body glitter here) and munching on homemade treats provided by Roz’s mom who surely knows a thing or two about craft service for the ladies. Pink cupcakes featured prominently on the menu.

As the curtain parted. Erica, our lovely and funny hostess for the evening greeted us sporting a corset and stockings encasing a pair of gorgeous legs with no end. She expertly kept things moving in between pole performers while flipping her cute red feather boa tail to accentuate her verbal barbs.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

When the contest began it was hard not to buy into the stereotype when the first plus sized lovely, a competitor channeling Britney Spears, broke a chair during her performance by standing on it. However she ended her routine with dignity, elegance and grace.

Other routines varied from Backstreet boys to Prince. Two contestants were popping their pole dancing competition cherries for the first time. Both were excellent. Two ladies dressed as Lucy and Amy Winehouse expertly cleaned the poles in character between each performance.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

The lone male competitor Twinkle ” mother funking” Toes gave it his all with a full on jackie brown inspired performance. Cranking a fabulous fro and enough body glitter to blind every queen in the east village, he turned out a dazzling performance slaying the audience in the process.

One of the best parts of the the evening was not planned. An impromptu audience member twerking contest (along with spontaneously volunteered prizes) was so off the hook, you had to see it to believe it. Miley Cyrus, just go the fuck home. Turned out there were some formidable and intimidating booty shakers in the audience. When they all let loose at once, it felt like the entire theater was trembling with awe and envy. They worked it and tweaked it, no joke.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

Although all three finalists were top performers it was beautiful Rain that won the audience’s hearts with her emotional and elegant slow routine.The audience got to select the winner by applause and Rain’s fans brought the house down.

Since I live down the block from the theater I was almost disappointed not to hop a subway home. I imagined myself impressing fellow passengers by test driving a subway car pole, showing off some dangerous curves inspired moves. Now where can I sign up for classes? And more importantly, where did I put that jar of body glitter ?

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK Interview with Roz Mays, Creator of Dangerous Curves

Citizen Brooklyn:What is the biggest stigma a plus size pole dancer has to overcome?

Too many people assume that larger dancers are incapable of graceful movement. In fact, too many dancers think this of themselves, plus size or not. This mindset won’t get you very far.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: What are the benefits of learning to pole dance?

Pole dancing is excellent strength training.  Cardio alone doesn’t produce a healthy body; stronger muscles not only work more effectively, but they also look gorgeous adorned rhinestoned booty shorts.  The emotional gains are equally great. Contrary to my outward energy, I spent most of my life deeply ashamed. That hatred was second nature and will take a very, very long time to reverse. Pole eases the healing process because it gives my body new purpose. I have been able to gain control of my health by losing excess body fat and building stronger back and arm muscles.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: Are there any natural talents that help one learn to master the pole?

Strength, flexibility and balance are essential pole skills, but I don’t believe that any of these just come naturally.  You’ve got to build each of these through patience and deliberate practice.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are pole champions.

CBK: How do you think the perception of pole dancers helps or hinders more people trying it out?

Both. People love to demonize the sport for its sexual expression, yet it is that same freedom of expression that women gravitate towards.  It is such a shame that the ugliest critics are those who have no idea what they’re talking about.  The funny thing is, after people actually try a class, they quickly appreciate sport for its sophistication, not because they can be amateur strippers.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: Describe the feeling when you finally are able to master some of the more difficult moves.

Joy, exhilaration, pride, euphoria, gratification, satisfaction, jubilation, excitement, happiness and very, very accomplished!

CBK: How long does it take to become proficient?

Pole dancing is the hardest physical activity I have ever done.  I’ve been at this for six solid years and still get my ass kicked on a regular basis.  There are some moves that I learned in a single class, and others that took three years to master.  Progression is slow and steady but the success is priceless!

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: What inspired you to create Dangerous Curves, the contest/showcase?

I’ve always been an underdog in sports, so there is a big place in my heart for nontraditional dancers doing awesome things. There are hundreds of pole showcases around the world annually, but never had I come across an event that specifically celebrated larger dancers.  My competitors don’t have to worry about being ridiculed for their size and can focus on showing off their well earned talents.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: Your father and grandmother were both sitting in the audience behind me. They seemed to be your biggest fans. Was this always the case?

My family is incredible.  My parents never missed a softball game, school play, art show or anything else my sister Lindsay and I did.  Nobody, including me, every thought pole dancing would become a staple of my fitness career, but they ever hesitated to support it.  Lindsay has been to virtually all of my shows, video camera in hand.  The fact that my traditional grandmother

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: What do you think of Twerking and what do you think Miley Cyrus has done to the concept of twerking?

I need America to keep it real — black women have been twerking doing this since the beginning of time.  In fact, I was recently anointed Senior Ambassador of Guttural Gifts.  I am excited to share my rear talents with the masses, but don’t believe this is a newly discovered dance craze. Miley’s sad butt cheeks need to learn what the hell quality twerking is.

Photo  © PDW Photography

Photo © PDW Photography

CBK: There was a spontaneous twerking contest in the audience the night I was there. Does this happen often and why?

The twerkoff was completely off the cuff, but it will most definitely be happening again!  Twerking and pole go together like booty shorts and summer — one isn’t complete without the other.

One Response to “Dangerous Curves”

  1. Lori says:

    I can’t wait to enter Dangerous Curves myself!! Thanks for the great interview!