May 28, 2020
We sat down with Jordan Kensley, a Los Angeles based pole dancer and bodyworker (she's a certified Structural Integration Practitioner). We discuss how movement is a language, what it means to listen to your body, and how to prioritize moving for yourself. Jordan also shares her knowledge of Structural Integration, SESTA/FOSTA, and more.
Watch the full interview for more in-depth answers to the questions below and to find out what's coming up next for Jordan.
What motivates you to move?
Honestly, my students inspire me the most. And after that, my emotional state and how my body is interpreting that state. Moving allows me to expel emotions I can't clearly convey, or don't understand enough to discuss, or haven't fully realized yet myself. Movement as a language is what motivates me to move. And learning how to do "X" myself, helps me guide other humans to being able to do the same thing, for themselves.
Who has previously or is currently inspiring you in movement? And why?
Movers have inspired me since college, I used to pretend to be 'a real dancer' on my way to class all the time--totally related to the scene in BURLESQUE when XTina is practicing choreo while walking down the street.... I just never had any real choreo to practice.
Now my favorite movers are physical actors/dancers who convey a story without words...something about being able to express and convey an entire emotional conversation without saying one word is just beyond...and we used to do that all the time- before humans invented language! Movement was our language.
So anyway, current inspiration: Alberto Del Campo (@alberpole1978) and Mestre Xuxo (@movement.connection - currently deactivated on socials, but you can find him on YouTube still). And really anyone who's followed their path to create a fusion of movement, over one specific stylized form...kind of like what Yvonne Smink (@yvonnesmink) does--another inspiration.
What training principles do you live your life by?
Listen to your body. As a bodyworker, this one is the most important. Overtraining and improper training can lead to so many issues, and I think as movers because we're used to physical difficulties coming with some level of pain/struggle. We forget that our bodies need a break too, and are constantly communicating with us- we just need to listen.
Move for you. This one is big for my choreo classes especially. Bodies are not the same, and your own biomechanics will create different stylizations/variations of the same technical movement. But again, oftentimes, we're hyper-focused on what we think perfection looks like - in accordance to who we're "copying" the movement from... I believe instead that we should learn the technical movement so well that we can break the idea that we need to look/move a specific way, and instead look/move in the way our bodies naturally execute that technique/movement (within a healthy range).
Live with intention. Your time is valuable, as is mine... but that doesn't mean everything needs to be sooooo serious. It just means, that to maximize efficiency in your training, you need to set an intention. And sometimes you'll excel in that training day, and some days you won't... but if you're working through an intention vs a specific goal, it's not only easier to access, but less mentally stressful.
BONUS: Your body/mind/heart are connected, and have done everything they can to adapt with you... so it's important (for me) to remember that perfection doesn't exist, because every human, every movement, every body is perfect exactly as it is in this moment. Even in injury, your body is trying to protect you. Even in depression, your mind is trying to protect you. Even through emotions, your heart is trying to protect you. And that’s the same for everyone. At every time... so even through struggles, you as an entity are exactly where you need to be, and it's unfair of you to put expectations on yourself for where you should be instead of looking at how far you've come, and how much you've been through, and how well you've adapted to everything in your life. Even when you don't feel like it's worked out well…
We believe movement is for every body. What does diversity and inclusion in your movement practice mean to you?
SO much. In my personal life, I'm a bit of a justice warrior... I've experienced first hand how society treats minority groups (some I've been part of, some I've witnessed) and it's never acceptable to me. I use my movement practice to break down barriers - as a teacher I'm helping students who struggle with learning how their body can work for them, as a 'respected' voice, I'm using my practice to spread awareness to the unfair treatment of different classes, different peoples within the dance world, the sex worker world, and the 'real world'. I don't understand why our world is so engrained to hate, instead of just seeing people for the souls they are... We can have pity for a bully in a movie when we're shown the struggle the bully faces at home, but gods forbid we ever take the time to empathize with humans in our personal lives/experiences... and we can recognize cruelty and kindness in online videos but don't take the time to recognize those aspects in ourselves and our own relationships with others... Gah, this question... I could go on foreverrrr...
Want to take classes with Jordan?
Zoom Classes with Jordan Kensley
Tuesdays -9:30am PST: Xpression (beginner pole/connection)11:00am PST: Intertwined (all levels floor/threading)5:00pm PST: Down&Dirty/ Twerk Flow (intermediate floor/choreo)7:00pm PST: High Heels/ Low Flow (intermediate pole/choreo)
Fridays -10:00am PST: Pole Conditioning (all levels pole)12:00pm PST: Slide Slink Slay (intermediate floor/choreo)5:30pm PST: Intertwined (all levels floor/threading)7:00pm PST: Strike A Pose! (intermediate pole/basework)
Saturdays -10:00am PST: Pants+Dance (beginner floor/choreo)12:00pm PST: Cardio Choreo (intermediate pole/choreo)5:30pm PST: Xpression (beginner pole/connection)7:00pm PST: Slide Slink Slay (intermediate floor/choreo)
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