Performing artist, San Francisco, California, USA; Kinetic Arts Center, Oakland, California, USA
Bio: James Green began studying and performing aerial dance and circus arts as alternative forms of therapy while in recovery from a traumatic brain injury. Discovering the dance pole as his apparatus of choice provided a secure platform for safely exploring vertical space as well as queer gender expression. Finding strength in this practice, scholarship, and community, James continues to write, train, teach and perform in the San Francisco Bay area.
Title: Gender Embodiment and Empowerment through Pole Dance
Abstract: With the contemporary rise of aerial dance as an entry point into the circus arts, one apparatus continues to flourish in the margins: the dance pole. While carrying with it over one hundred years of stigmatization, pole dancing has also seen a dramatic increase in popularity as a form of recreation, a fitness routine and as a competitive sport. But does it belong to, or in, the circus?
Drawing on a sparse body of emergent academic discourse as well as on independent interviews and survey data, James discusses why pole dance is definitively a circus art, as well as how the pole dance performance carries unique potential for the empowerment, embodiment and exhibition of evolving gender norms.