Everybody knows and values what ballerina feet endure. The art of classical ballet is widely respected, and the ballerina pains have been featured, talked about, even movies, TV series, and documentaries have been made about it, and ballerinas gain much respect. No doubt, I am a ballerina fan as well, I respect and admire all dancers, yet, nobody talks about the stripper’s pain and what we endure. Our feet scream too (yes, they even bleed and we too tape them), our knees are damaged prematurely, our backs ache from too many hip circles, pole tricks, contortion, or even just from rolling on the harsh stage floor, our necks sometimes only turn to one side for weeks because our dominant shoulder is worn down, and our joints feel like breaking due to too many sets on stage or too many dances in the lap dance booth. On top of that, our hearts ache, because we are often shunt by society, disrespected, asked and expected to entertain for free, degraded by men who abuse us physically, verbally, and sometimes even emotionally, and our skin burns (not just from the pole chafing and creating calluses but also from being forced to grow a thick skin in order to fake how tough we are). Don’t forget, under every dancers skin lives a human being. And in order to express skillfully, whether it is classical ballet, modern dance, hip hop, break dance … or stripping you train hard and you feel fully. Expression comes from a place of depth. Don’t judge the dancer, no matter what discipline she chooses or was thrown into.

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