100 Creatives 2013: Crystal Belcher, Pole Dancer
What She Does: When Crystal Belcher was living in Washington DC in 2009 she heard about a pole dancing fitness course but never had the time to try it out. Yet the idea just wouldn't leave her mind, and when she returned home to Houston the opportunity to finally look into the unique world of pole dancing presented itself. After dropping $10 on a first class she became hooked and never looked back, falling in love with both the sheer physicality of the style as well as it's artistic communicative abilities.
Now she teaches and performs pole dancing all over the country. Houstonians will find her in her East Downtown space The Playground. She spends her time hosting and promoting pole dance competitions in order to get more exposure for her chosen dance form, as well as show off her own considerable moves as you can see in the video above. She gained quite a reputation, and will be competing in the National Pole Championships in Las Vegas in August. We could certainly do worse as a representative of the city, as Belcher's dances are beyond hypnotic and examples of incredible athleticism. Can we lose the rhythmic gymnastics and have this instead in the Olympics?
Why She Likes It: "It's a liberating sport. It challenges you physically, mentally and sometimes spiritually. It doesn't discriminate gender, size, ethnicity, class and so forth. When we walk into a class or on a stage to perform we are consumed by the lights, the space, the music and the ability to express ourselves artistically and while in flight. It's a magical experience that's ever evolving but never with one sole definition."
What Inspires Her: "I have a competitive sports background in gymnastics, cheer and flag football, as well as participating in various forms of dance. When I decide on a song to dance to I pull from a variety of things. The way the song moves in ebbs and flows, the lyricism or the emotion or mood of the song, all dictate the way in which I move.
Sometimes seeing other performances or life in motion can spawn an idea. I'm very much a character, a showgirl even. I aim to present a story line on stage that entertains, penetrates and evoke emotions from my audience. I want them to be moved and leave with a lasting impression. I leave my heart on a stage and I give every last morsel of myself for the sake of presenting a memorable and tasteful piece."
If Not This, Then What: As if being beautiful, flexible, and creative in a demanding discipline wasn't enough Blecher is also a talented singer. Her last live performance was during the 2012 Motown and More Revue at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. She's making plans to do more singing, but only as her pole dancing obligations allow.
If Not Here, Then Where: "That's tough to say because I really love my city. Even after going away to college in DC, after nine years I was ready to come back. But if I had to choose it would be New York, DC or Atlanta. These are three markets where I'm always welcomed and challenged to be a greater me. They all have a sentimental and pivotal place in my pole journey and they all have created growth and maturation. And they are excellent hubs for other jobs that I could pursue in entertainment."
What's Next: More of the same, for Belcher. She wants to expand her performances internationally, host more events in town, win more titles, and just all around continue dancing and serving as an ambassador for the form.
More Creatives for 2013
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Daniel Kramer, photographer
Blue 130, pin-up explosion art
Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker
David Wilhem, light painter
Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster
Browncoat, pin-up pop artist
Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist
Vincent Fink, science fashion
Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder
Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer
Sameera Faridi, fashion designer
Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet
Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company
Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre
Outspoken Bean, performance poet
Barry Moore, architect
Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist
Ty Doran, young actor
Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate
Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet
Justin Garcia, artist
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center
Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric
Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician
Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse
Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company
Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography
Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions
Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover
Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist
Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer
Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker
Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer
David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer
Danielle Burns, art curator
Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder
Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator
Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker
Amanda Stevens, scary book author
Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger
Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach
Billy D. Washington, comedian
Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer
Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer
Kelly Sears, animator and film maker
Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director
jhon r. stronks,dance-maker
Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer
Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer