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The Missouri Ballet Pole Dancer

By on January 7, 2015

The story of Alice in Wonderland has inspired more than one ballet choreographer. But Karen Mareck Grundy, the artistic director of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet Company added a special twist when she cast the role of the Cheshire Cat in her ballet, Alice in Wonderland. She cast the role as a duet with one half of the duet played by pole dance champion Jordan Mazur. I met Jordan at the 2013 North American/Midwest Pole Dance Championships. When we met I did not know that in addition to owning a pole dance studio, Jordan is an accomplished ballet dancer and member of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet Company.

I looked up the MCB web page, and started learning more about the artistic director, the dancers, and the style of dance they put on stage. As I was paging through the pictures I was stunned to find Jordan and a fellow ballet dancer dancing on an X-Stage.
Jordan_Mazur_MCB

I found the full MCB ballet on YouTube and couldn’t wait to talk to Jordan about it.

Not long ago a high school classmate made this somewhat derisive statement: “When they start teaching pole dance at Julliard it will be legit.” Jordan graduated with a B.S. in Dance through the Indiana University School of Kinesiology, and has been dancing with MCB since 2011. I wondered what it was like to bring pole dancing into the realm of contemporary ballet. Would the typical pole stigmas voiced by my classmate make their way into the rehearsals for Alice in Wonderland?

It turns out that director Karen Mareck Grundy grew up in Las Vegas and performed as a feature and lead dancer for 11 years in Vegas shows. In fact, Karen has pole danced and was cast in duet. So she knew that duets could be done on pole and integrated into larger stage productions. There was an ongoing joke about Karen putting a pole in a ballet ever since Jordan joined the company. When Karen made the decision to cast the Cheshire Cat using two dancers and a stage pole, the joke turned into reality. All of the choreography used in the 2013 ballet was new and Jordan described the process as very collaborative. Jordan said, “Karen would have the ideas that she would like to be executed–various shapes, transitions, tempos, body orientations, and then I would fill in pole possibilities that could fit that criteria.”

Alice in Wonderland opened on June 1, 2013 and there was an overwhelming percentage of comments about the show that mentioned the Cheshire Cat pole piece. Alice in Wonderland was also MCB’s first story ballet.

New and exciting things are happening in the pole world all the time. The same can be said for contemporary ballet. The story of the Alice in Wonderland ballet is proof that dance poles can happily coexist on stage with ballerinas and pointe shoes.

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Bob Zamora

Bob Zamora

Bob works full time as a research meteorologist.During his thirty-seven year career he has published his work in several scientific research journals, and participated in weather research experiments all over the United States.He started pole dancing in 2009. Bob has performed in a number of Denver area pole shows and the 2013 Great Midwest Pole Dance Championship. He was a Masters Division finalist in 2013 Colorado Pole Championship.Bob is a student of USPDF 2010 Silver Medalist Estee Zakar. Bob’s pole style is inspired by sexy, artistic pole dancers, and contemporary ballet dancers. In addition to pole dance, Bob also takes ballet classes, and plays ice hockey with his beer league friends.He lives in Westminster, Colorado with his wife Carol.
Bob Zamora

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