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History Of Pole Dancing

Posted by laura on June 23 2014.

history of Pole Dancing


To explore pole dancing we should explore the history of pole dancing

Should we separate the image of pole dancing with the strip club just for a minute? Or at least try to whilst I explore the history of pole dancing. Pole dancing has become popular as a ‘new fitness craze’ but interestingly there is nothing new about using the pole for fitness or sport. The pole has only become an exotic representative in more modern times.

Pole dancing is glamorised in films with beautiful fit women demonstrating their skills and powerful sexuality. I know when I watch pole dancers in films I think to myself ‘damn I wish I could do that!’ Pole dancing seems really powerful, as if you have your audience in a trance.

History of Pole Dancing has very different origins

maypoleSo the origins? Not so glam, apparently the history of pole dancing can be traced back to the 12th century dance called the ‘Maypole’ This is where women dance around a pole centred in their community with various rope and string in order to encourage fertility, a spiritual ritual. This dance didn’t require any particular energy from its performers but I suppose it looks pretty and served some purpose to spiritual women. The link here really is that their ‘dancing’ around a pole, although I doubt these ladies would get flung any dollar or pound bills…

More interestingly it’s not only women who are linked to the pole! The very impressive Indian sport of Mallakhamb requires a crazy amount of gravity defying strength from its male sportsmen, just look at that photo! The skill and strength required for this sport is incredibly similar to that of gymnastics. In fact pole dancing requires a lot of gymnastic influence. Think about the effort it takes to climb a pole, balance on a pole and if you’re feeling up for it swinging around up there! Carrying your own body weight is a challenge, hitting the ground in heels? A feat worthy to boast about!


Reading around the history of pole dancing has completely dispelled all seedy images for me, not that I had any to begin with but it firmly places me on the side of the argument that there is nothing to be ashamed of, at all!

The pole strip tease rode on the back of burlesques fame in the 50’s and then picked up huge momentum in  1980’s America with the openings of many strip clubs and gentleman’s clubs in the U.K. Adding stripping and  a sensual dancing element to the pole is where the sexualisation of the sport ( yes I’m calling it sport now) came into play. Does this take away from the skills of pole gymnastics?

Yes? Don’t be fooled, many professional pole dance strippers according to forums claim men are not fussed about the tricks a woman can perform on a pole and came to see a naked woman gyrate for the evening.

No? There is much more than being naked and swaying hips, a dancer has to keep the audience entertained and put on a good show, many people are impressed by the moves of a talented pole dancer and many organisations and societies over the world hold respected professional competitions. Such as Miss Pole Dance World.

There was some lobbying to include pole dancing in the 2012 Olympics, using the history of pole dancing to justify the sport,  but there was too much confusion about a scoring system as this a sport that doesn’t have a universal standard. So work does need to be done in terms of developing a professional rule book so this can be considered an official sport. Anyone who has done a pole dance fitness class can fully appreciate the efforts required for an hour or 2 on the pole. If I had the accessibility it’s definitely something I would try more often, adding the sensual dancing and really any kind of music and it just becomes insane fun. Every woman wants that perfect mixture of strong and sexy, pole dancing offers just that… In fact I’m starting to see the fertility link now!

For more information on Polestars pole dancing parties click here

history of pole fitness

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