Political commentary and pole dancing may sound like a preposterous pairing, but new troupe Polaris Dance Theatre wants to prove that the form can be topical as well as titillating. Its first production, Poleitico: A Pole Show on Politics, addresses pressing issues from climate change to Black Lives Matter, and deliberately debuts on the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s election.
After training herself in pole dancing over the last two years, Kelly Smith created Polaris to explore the creative opportunities posed by an apparatus that elevates dancers and allows them to contort their bodies in novel ways. “It’s kind of scary sometimes,” she says. “You can create different shapes upside down, in the air. And then when you hold those shapes, when you spin around or do a certain combo, it’s basically like vertical gymnastics. It adds this entirely different element of strength and grace. It’s almost like you’re flying half the time.”
Maybe strange times call for strange measures. Poleitico was shaped by what mattered most to the troupe, which combines pole dancers with those classically trained.
“Being in Chicago, you’re in this big diverse hub and you see these issues every day,” says Smith. “It came out during our [first] meeting that this is what we care about, this is what we need to talk about.” If nothing else, pole dancing gives politics a new spin.
Poleitico: A Pole Show on Politics Wed 11/8, 7:30 PM, Den Theatre, 1329-1333 N. Milwaukee, 773-609-2336, $25-$30.