Bold & Beautiful: Lexa Leigh
Performance & Theatre
While many of us may enjoy dancing at a club or in the privacy of our home, most of us would never consider exposing our souls on stage to a crowd of complete strangers, especially not on a nine-foot pole. For pole dancer Lexa Leigh, this experience is familiar.
Dance pumps through Leigh’s veins. Starting at three years old, Leigh competed in contemporary dance until age 18. Her only pause was in college when she took a break to study to become a teacher, and even then she would periodically take dance classes to keep herself moving.
When Leigh was finally able to slow down and start dancing again full time, she became a virtuoso with aerial silks. Her background in dance became a gateway into her latest artistic pursuit: pole dancing. “It was four years ago,” Leigh says. “I was interested in it because it was something new I hadn’t done before.” Leigh was nervous about being onstage but quickly overcame the anxiety once she realized she had a talent. “One performance that helped me realize I was capable of pole was a few years ago on Halloween,” she says. “I had posted my routine on Instagram, and people were super supportive and surprised that I had choreographed it all.” Leigh is currently part of Equinox Entertainment where she choreographs her own shows, expressing her individuality through what she knows best.
“Honestly, the biggest milestone for so many pole dancers, in my opinion, is confidence. Pole is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it has also given me the confidence I never realized I was capable of. Once you get past the mental blocks, the confidence starts to flow.”
It wasn’t all glitter and costumes in the beginning. Growing up religious in Farmington, Utah, lent hesitancy to how she presented herself to the community around her. Pole dancing in a conservative state is already nerve racking considering how Utahns might regard a somewhat risqué art, and Leigh had more cause for concern considering her day job. “I was nervous at first. In my professional life I am a teacher. I have to behave,” she says. Luckily, Leigh’s friends helped her realize that her career and passion did not have to be intertwined. “Honestly, the biggest milestone for so many pole dancers, in my opinion, is confidence. Pole is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it has also given me the confidence I never realized I was capable of. Once you get past the mental blocks, the confidence starts to flow.”
Pole dancing is not an easy feat on the body; a lot of physical work goes into it. “It takes strength and endurance and a willingness to fail,” says Leigh. Before a show, Leigh will center her routine around a specific move. “Moves where I’m hanging by a leg upside down are always a crowd pleaser,” Leigh says, adding that she tends to stick to movements that are more flowy and fluid. Dancers also need to have the right attire when it comes to pole dancing. Wear too much and you risk falling down the pole; wear too little and a wardrobe malfunction may add unwanted skin to the performance. Leigh prefers to wear typical workout shorts and tank tops. During a performance, she grabs a pair of appropriately themed pole dancing shorts and a corset or sports bra.
“and I have never had a community like that where people like me for me. I am still figuring out my queer identity, and dance helps me figure out how to present myself.”
Leigh is still discovering herself, and having the love and support of peers encourages her not to hide from the world. “To me, the pole dancing/circus community is great at lifting each other up,” she says, “and I have never had a community like that where people like me for me. I am still figuring out my queer identity, and dance helps me figure out how to present myself.”
During dance seasons, Leigh works in the studio once or twice a week to train and prepare for upcoming shows. Her favorite part of performing with Equinox Entertainment is the relationship the dancers have with each other. “At this point we are a family,” she says. “I enjoy spending time with these people, getting to know them more and performing with them. It’s fun to watch people who just started performing grow and those who have been performing forever.” Leigh watches everyone’s performance when she can, and love and support are in endless supply within her circle of artists.
“At this point we are a family,” she says. “I enjoy spending time with these people, getting to know them more and performing with them. It’s fun to watch people who just started performing grow and those who have been performing forever.”
One of the many benefits of dancing for Equinox Entertainment is that Leigh gets to create her own take on the direction they give her. “Most of the shows I do are themed. We are told what is expected from us, but we decide how we want it to be represented.” Her most recent show was a psychedelic Alice in Wonderland theme where the dancers were encouraged to represent a character they connected to the most. She says, “I didn’t have a specific character I identified with, so I was the part where [Alice] ate the cookie and shrunk down, then drank the potion and grew tall, showing the different tricks that can be done low on the pole and then high on the pole. We have a lot of freedom in how we are represented.”
Leigh just finished her last spring show with a bang and is on a short hiatus until summer, and Equinox Entertainment will be putting on a Pride-themed show in the summer for all to enjoy. In the meantime, Leigh is working on her aerial certification so she will be able to teach silks.
Lexa Leigh is on Instagram @aerial_lexa where you can keep up with her blossoming journey.
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Bold & Beautiful: Hoe Shi Minh
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