Striped or Polka Dotted, Thigh High or Anklets, Cotton or Silk; socks are one of my favorite tools of sensual exploration. And if that sounds dirty, then you’re definitely in the right state of mind.
Cold toes suck!
Back when I first started pole dancing, I learned my beginner moves barefoot, and I absolutely hated it. I missed my comfy tennis shoes, I missed my ankle support, and I really missed my oh-so-warm socks. Later, after I’d learned how to climb and float around the pole, I understood the importance of training shoeless. So, I started using foot undeez, a special pad jazz & ballet dancers use, to help protect the balls of the feet.
But I missed having warm, comfy toes. In fact, I regularly found that just the idea of dancing in a cold studio made me want to skip out on a practice session altogether. Sometimes, I’d just have to force myself to deal with freezing toes until the heat of movement finally warmed things up. I still shiver with goosebumps at the thought of that cold, icy floor.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, especially if you’re willing to explore the more slippery option of socks.
First, I LOVE the sensuality of socks
They come in all shapes, sizes, heights, colors, patterns, and materials. Whether you love cute little hearts and red bows, scary vampire kisses, crew cut stripes, or sexy black thigh highs, there is a sock for you. You can use them to dress-up as a sweet school girl, naughty librarian, or sexy referee. You can express a mood like anger with skulls and crossbones, or playfulness with tie died colors. Socks can have silk ribbons at the top or fluffy pompoms down the back or even pink cuban heels. And most importantly, socks keep your toes warm and build body heat in your leg muscles even before you start moving.
I have an entire drawer of socks just for dancing. I usually take two or three different pairs with me to class, because I never know what I’ll be in the mood for. In the summer, I love to wear a pair of striped thigh highs with my booty shorts peeping out from under a long red sweatshirt. In the winter, I usually pull out a pair of wild knee high zebra socks to wear under my yoga pants (and give my yoga instructor a little tease). During football season, I’ve even got a special pair of red and white striped anklets just to celebrate my favorite 49ers.
Second, socks are slippery
When I rediscovered socks, I found a new way of dancing. Socks give you the ability to slide and slink across the floor. They remove that sticky, annoying friction between the floor and your legs or feet. So when you crawl, you can support more of your body weight on your legs and still slide sensuously across the floor. When you spin, you can easily pivot on the balls of your feet. And when you slide down the pole, you can create a continuous transition from standing to sitting.
Yes, climbing is almost impossible with socks and I definitely don’t recommend beginners attempt any inverted moves while wearing socks. But there’s so much more to life than inverts ladies!
Socks make your floorwork seamless and sensual. They give you the ability to showcase your flexibility as you slip from one pose to the next. With socks, you can transition from laying on your belly into a sexy V plank pose just by sliding on the tops of your feet. Or slink from a kneeling pose in to the splitz by letting you legs slip along the floor. And they are absolutely essential if you’re a booty popper like me who loves to “Back dat ass up.” (a truly naughty dance move where you rest on your knees, slide and pop your booty all at once)
Third, socks work your abs
Although you may not believe me now, slip on a pair of socks, and you’ll soon realize that your core muscles are key to staying in control. Socks remove the friction between you and the floor or pole. Which means it’s absolutely critical that you use your abdominals to balance and slow down your movements. Socks require you to ground the body while you stand or walk. They help you to focus on your center of gravity while you twirl on your toes. And they give you that deliberately lazy quality inherent in sensual dancing, stripping, and powerful feminine movement.
You can explore this by simply donning a pair of your favorite socks and trying to hold a plank pose. Once you have your balance, experiment with maintaining the position of your torso while you slide your feet around. You’ll instantly notice how much harder your abs have to work while your feet are sliding and how much slower your movements become. Simply practicing with socks during your regular floorwork can help you develop power, technique, and more control in all other aspects of your movement.
Finally, socks give you freedom
If you’re ignoring improvisational dance, intuitive movement, or your sensual instincts, you’re skipping one of the most powerful training techniques ever created. And socks, by their very nature allow the body to move in unexpected ways.
While you practice with socks, you might find you accidentally slide to the left, or wobble while you spin, or have to figure out a way to quickly transition to the floor. Falling is an ever present safety issue, and taking the time to practice how to slow down your movements if your foot slips out from under you is a necessary evil. Socks give you a way to do this when you’re actually expecting it.
Exploration is the spice of life. It’s so important to keep your mind, body, and spirit open to the possibilities of doing it differently; no matter what IT might be. And sensual movement cultivates our ability to move differently, live differently, be different from what society or the rest of the world might dictate.
But if you only move your body as your teacher demonstrates and you never explore your own abilities with playfulness, openness, and the permission to make a mistake, you’ll never discover your true capabilities- the luscious, unique, and sometimes powerful emotions that only you can express through dance. Sometimes you need to add a new element, a new prop, to encourage your body and mind to find those new capabilities, to walk the path of life with a sexy stride and rainbow dream striped socks.