A Brief History of Pole Dancing

young pole dance woman. on blue wall background.

Did you ever wonder when and where pole dancing began?

Using a pole in dancing is not actually a new idea. As much as eight hundred years ago the Chinese began using the pole in acrobatics. A man was known to jump from the top of one pole, about twenty feet in the air, to another pole, also twenty feet in the air. These tricks are performed in the Indian sport called Mallastambha. Additionally, in the 12th Century, the Maypole Dance was used a form of a pagan fertility celebration. Performers completed the Maypole Dance by dancing around a wooden pool and using colorful ribbons in their movements. Men demonstrated their agility, flexibility, and incredible balance skills in this dance.

Traveling circuses in the 1920’s during the Great Depression also introduced the use of a pole into their events, tricks, and performances. Traveling circuses ushered along the idea of pole dancing as we know it today. Performances and dances using poles were present in the 1920’s in tents, carnivals, sideshows, and other traveling events. A combination of dancing in circuses and Burlesque led to the development of modern day pole dancing. Pole dancing began to appear in clubs in the 1950’s during the burlesque movement.

More recently, in the 1980’s pole dancing began appearing in strip clubs across America. By the mid-to-late 1990’s and early 2000’s some dance studios in both the US and Canada began to offer pole dancing styles as a form of exotic dance, as an effort to remove the stigma that pole dancing was only for clubs and or other sensual purposes. The presence of pole dancing in strip clubs in western culture, however, has given pole dancing a strong stigma. That stigma is still present in the eyes of the media and the minds of many people. Although pole dancing struggles against its own stigma, pole dancers across the globe are working hard to reclaim pole dancing as a sport and for use in fitness too.

Reclaiming Pole Dancing as a Sport, as Acrobatics, as a Dance Form, and as Fitness

Within the last approximately 20 years many acrobats, dancers, and performers have begun launching a serious effort to reclaim the name of pole dancing for sport, acrobatics, dance, and fitness. Now there are efforts by various organizations and groups to even get pole dancing included in the Olympics! This movement is backed by both competition groups such as the International Pole Sorts Federation and pole dancing professionals that are members of such organizations.

Pole dancing is now for every kind of woman, and even men too! It is a common mistake that pole dancers are all thin, beautiful blondes. Pole dancers can have any type of body build if they are committed to learning the dance style. There are even pole dance classes that are now available for kids too! Pole dance body suits or leotards are the best options for children who are interested in taking a pole dance class. Pole dancing does not have to equal immodesty. If the idea of learning pole dance for fun or fitness is interesting to you, you can also learn more by learning more about the International Pole Dance Federation. Don’t forget to also check out available pole dancing classes for yourself at our website: www.dancingmeow.com!

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