By 20:56

I stayed home last night with my mom and sister to watch the latest episode of Dance India Dance. I loved the first season and then the L’il Masters was simply adorable and now there’s Doubles which admittedly didn’t really keep me as entertained. My mother, though, was simply glued to the screen. She loves watching all forms of dance – especially if it is to music that she enjoys so Dance India Dance is perfect for her to watch while relaxing after a hard day’s work.

Music and dance is celebrated in Indian households and my mother comes from a very musically oriented family with her father and brothers able to make and play all sorts of Indian instruments. And whenever there's a family function, my uncles bring out the instruments to play and merrily sing along while my cousins and I start a bhangra to dance. I have no doubt that if money wasn’t tight while growing up, my mom would have sent her two daughters to classical Indian dance and music classes.

Over the past year, I too have appreciated the talent on these shows – the fluidity with which dancers easily transition from one dance movement into another, the technical difficulty that accompanies daring moves as well the entertainment they provide. I appreciate this now because I confess that I began dancing a year ago. It’s been kept a secret though – not something I easily divulge and kept well hidden from my family. My dancing isn’t classical Indian or ballroom or even hip-hop. My dancing involves an air of grace, sex appeal, extreme strength and flexibility – all this on and around a shiny silver pole.

Pole dancing understandably comes with its unique set of prejudices and even though I don’t dance at strip clubs or take off my clothes, it’s a difficult dance form to explain to people of my age, let alone my mother. I’ve already participated in Miss Pole Dance South Africa and I’m loving it more everyday so this certainly isn’t just a passing phase. I wonder whether my mother even knows what pole dancing is and what she would think of my sexy hips circling and the tossing and flicking of my hair that is extensively incorporated into my routines. Would she be as glued to my performance as she is to Dance India Dance?

The responses to the confessions of my hobby are varied. Guys generally seem to be appreciative of the sport – probably because they envision scenes of me scantily clad in a raunchy routine taking the little that I have on off. Some jokingly try to get me to perform a little dance for them.

Older women seem pretty wary of pole dancing because of its origins – and when I try to convince them to come with me to see what it’s about, the answer is a resounding no. Is it society’s view that girls should be prim and proper in the public eye?

I guess the proof is in the pudding. Younger women see how beautifully I’ve lost weight and toned my body; and this is a new craze worldwide to get fit. They also think that it provides amazing techniques to seduce their boyfriends with. A comment that I usually get is that I will someday have a very grateful husband…

And still some look down on it and on the girls who do it. These are the same girls who say they wouldn’t even dance for their own husbands. Perhaps it’s the social norms that place any forms and displays of sexiness as taboo. We love watching singers move sexily in their music videos yet we find it so hard to be able to move like that.

Generally though, when I coerce people into trying certain moves or I point out seemingly impossible moves like hanging on to the pole, upside-down, with only a knee, they do understand the strength required and that’s when some take it seriously.

After a year of trying to keep this secret, I’ve slowly become more at ease when talking to people about something I’m so passionate about. It's not always easy to tell people what I do but I love showing off my dance routines and proving that it isn’t sleazy. They’ll always be people set in their ways that wouldn’t understand and for them I shall keep my lips zipped – like my mother. Confessions, that only time will tell...

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