Publication: Interview with a pole-dancer

So I figured out what to ask a Russian pole dancer after all… It’s nothing racy, all very national-paper-appropriate. Read it here or on China Daily: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/metro/2010-04/07/content_9695402.htm

Hang time with a nightclub pole dancer

Chocolate club is a staple nightspot among Beijing’s Russian expatriates, as well as those who enjoy being around scantily clad Slavic dancers and singers. Julia Petrova, a 23-year-old pole dancer and recent arrival in Beijing, tells METRO the secrets backstage.

METRO: How does one train to become a pole dancer?

A: Dancing, not just pole dancing, is an important part of my life. I took my first choreography class when I was 9 years old. I practiced with the Ensemble of Modern Dance and later entered the Altai State Academy of Culture and Fine Arts. Before coming to Beijing three months ago I worked as a dancer in Russia for five years.

METRO: What is the best part of your job?

A: I love dancing so much that it’s like a hobby that pays me. To be the happiest person in the world you should have a job that you like and a hobby that you love. I have both.

METRO: What is your secret to making hanging upside down look easy and graceful?

A: It’s not that hard to look effortlessly beautiful. I try to sleep and eat on time. Burning hundreds of calories by hitting the floor is also a way to stay in shape. My other secret is to be in a good mood and smile all the time. The more you smile the more beautiful you look. Remember that!

METRO: Is it hard to overcome shyness when it comes to soliciting tips from customers?

A: I do feel shy sometimes, or more like nervous, but I know that it is a part of my job. I don’t think we’re asking for money. People are just rewarding our beauty and effort. A waiter would take tips and not feel shy about it. Why should we? It’s a part of our work and there is nothing shameful in it.

METRO: How do you handle the inevitable drunken and inappropriate customer?

A: The problem is that some people think it’s OK to make unreasonable requests to a dancer in a nightclub. In situations like that I usually go away or try to politely tell the guest that my job is only to dance. I try my best to avoid conflicts with the guests.

METRO: What are your plans for the future?

A: I am going to be a dancer until I completely get sick of it. In the future, I would love to start my own dance school and teach younger dancers. Chocolate also has a new project. They are going to open a school to teach all kinds of dance, like jazz, modern dance, Latin, ballet and others.

METRO: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you since living in Beijing?

A: The funniest thing happened to me a couple of months ago. We were creating a new show and my boss suggested that I hang from the ceiling. Someone backstage would pull chains attached to me to make me “fly” up. The screen would show a sky scene so it would look like I’m like an angel. I’m afraid of heights but I obviously had to hide it and smile all the time. The hilarious thing is that they forgot to put me down. When the show was about to finish the Chinese workers thought leaving me up there was a part of the show. I stayed up there for more than an hour. I still have some bruises from that time, but it was fun after all.

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