In 2016, accomplished aerialist Jason Lam had an accident while training which resulted in him being told he’d never walk again. His positive attitude and dedication to defying doctors has inspired two Sydney pole dance instructors, Chilli Rox and Dallas Dee from Showpony Pole & Burlesque, to create Dance For a Difference, a charity pole dancing event with all proceeds raised going to SpinalCure Australia.
The event features some of Australia’s best pole dancers, including Allegra King, Adam Lin, Amy Hazel, Andrea Ryff, Bethany Finlay, Suzie Q and Toby J.
“Chilli first contacted Jason and told him we’d like to do Dance For a Difference in his honour, and his response was, 'I’m doing okay, I’d rather you send the money to spinal research, so that if and when this happens to someone else, it can go towards helping them,'” Dallas says.
“Jason has really inspired us,” Chilli says. “He hasn’t given up. He’s literally defied everyone. Doctors told him he’d never walk again and he said, 'Watch me.' He’s meant to be a quadriplegic, but now he’s doing 20 unassisted pushups.”
“I always joke about having a shit day because the peanut M&M’s ran out. Then this one day I was on Facebook and I saw a post from Jason saying he’d spilt coffee on himself and he’d managed to get out of his chair, get changed and get himself back in the chair and how being able to do that himself made it a great day. It just really put things in perspective for me. It made me realise that the world is bigger than me so let’s do something to help.”
Image: Dallas Dee | The Black Light.
Your line up is really impressive. How did you select the performers for the show?
Chilli: The people who we’ve chosen are not only champions, but worldwide champions. Australia’s got the best pole dancers 100 per cent. We’ve been doing it the longest. We’ve won world championships several times. Our champions are the champions. So the fact that these champions are up there for this cause is huge.
Dallas: I feel like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot with this event because you’ll be seeing the best. Everything you see after Dance For a Difference will be shit in comparison. It’s that good.
Who are you hoping comes to the show?
Chilli: We’d love people who’ve never seen pole dancing before to come and open their minds. I think there’s still a little bit of a stereotype, where people think they’re just going to see a bunch of strippers. But you are going to see ballet and gymnastics. It’s a show.”
Dallas: There’s something in the show for everyone. It’s got men, women, heels, no heels. It’s contemporary. It’s got lyrical ballet. It’s going to be sexy… but it’ll be so much more than that.
Chilli Rox| The Black Light
Do you think the show challenges the stereotypes of pole dancing?
Dallas: I don’t really care what people think when they go in, but I’d like to ask them what they thought when they walk out the door.
There’s been a bit of talk lately about the idea of making pole dancing an Olympic sport. What do you think about?
Dallas: Nah. To us, pole dancing is an artform. It would take the beauty out of it. For it to become an Olympic sport, I think you’d have to differentiate between pole dance and pole sport, and I don’t think there is a differentiation. You have to honour your roots. We all know where pole dancing came from. In order to sanitise it, you take away part of it. It’s not worth it. It’s sexy and it’s kind of dirty and underground and fun. A lot of people would disagree with us and that’s fine. Champion it, send it there but I’ll still be in heels in a bikini.
Dance for a Difference
Date: Sun 11 Feb, 2:00pm
Venue: Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Bookings: 02 9550 3666
BUY TICKETS HERE