Part of becoming a pole dancer is learning a whole new language.
You learn the names for all your grips, like bracket, half bracket, strong, baseball, handshake, forearm, elbow, true, twisted, cup…
And the spins! Chair, attitude, back hook, front hook, rock star, fireman…
And some of these spins have more than one name! For example, the attitude spin, stag spin, and sunwheel spin are all the same damned spin.
The first time I referred to the back of my knee as a “knee pit” in front of a non-pole dancer and got a weird look, that’s when I realized that pole dance involves so many terms of art— words and phrases that have precise meanings within the practice of pole dance. We get what we mean, but normies don’t. One term of art that fascinates me is nemesis.
A nemesis is “a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent.” The word nemesis comes from the Greek, and it really just means fortune or luck, neither good nor bad. However, the goddess Nemesis usually appears in myths to punish mortals for their hubris (aka high falutin’ thinkin’) and take people down a peg when they get too big for their britches.
In pole dance, we use the word nemesis to describe something in pole that we just can’t seem to do no matter how hard we try. And trying over and over again, only to continually be knocked back by this nemesis, can actually start to feel like a Greek myth.
Picture Sisyphus pushing a builder uphill for all of eternity. Or poor Prometheus chained to a rock to have his liver pecked out only to grow back each day for all time.
Or don’t, that’s absurd.
But you can see that this is a word loaded with meaning! If you fix it in your mind that a particular trick is your nemesis, let’s look at some of your possible automatic assumptions.
You might assume that this nemesis is likely going to be victorious over you.
You might assume that working on this trick is like an eternal punishment.
You might assume you are unworthy of this trick, and it’s just high falutin' thinkin' to believe you can achieve it.
None of which is true, of course. But if those automatic assumptions are tagging along with this term of art, you might be setting yourself up for defeat.
In artwork, Nemesis is often shown holding a few weapons. Sometimes a sword, sometimes a fistful of lightning. Always an hourglass. So what? Well, sometimes in pole our automatic assumptions center around mastering a trick or a skill in a certain amount of time. I often hear folks in the studio saying, “I’m so frustrated! I should be able to invert by now!” or ask, “How long does it take for someone to learn to climb?” It’s no wonder Nemesis is holding an hourglass. She has found a way to weaponize time against mortals.
Important note: I’m not the word police. I’m not telling you to stop using the word nemesis. You can use any term you want! I prefer to use the term pole goal myself, but if you want to refer to something as your nemesis, I’d encourage you to think of a nemesis as a worthy opponent who, in doing battle, sharpens your skills and makes you better. Think the Lex Luthor to your Superman, the Moriarty to your Sherlock Holmes, or the Monarch to your Doc Venture.
So, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!), what’s the difference between a pole nemesis and a pole goal? Only how you feel about it.
Whether you want conquer a pole nemesis or achieve a pole goal, ask yourself some key questions, including whether or not you are unwittingly weaponizing time against yourself, and make sure you are as clear as possible about what you want to achieve. And that, my friends, is where The TRACK Method comes in.
The TRACK Method is my pole goal setting strategy, and it’s designed to encourage anti-perfectionism, foster a growth mindset, and deemphasize time.
TRACK stands for:
Timing: Decide a realistic frequency to work toward your goal without setting a deadline.
Resources: Identify the people who can help you, and assess amounts of the time, money, and space, you’ll need to work toward your goal.
Advantages: Access prior experience, knowledge, or skills that are adjacent to your goal so you aren’t starting from zero.
Challenges: Acknowledge the difficulties you’ll need to work with or work around as you pursue your goal.
Keenness: Be clear about why YOU want to pursue this goal, which is for you and no one else.
The TRACK Method will make you a more successful pole dancer because it trains the sexiest and most important part of a pole dancer’s body: the mind. The TRACK Method is the brainchild of yours truly, and you can find it in the second edition of The Ultimate Pole Goal Notebook.