An up-and-coming sport known as pole dancing is gaining popularity amongst many Americans. People are noticing the tremendous amount of strength it takes to be able to hold their body weight on a vertical pole and an increasing number of people are picking it up as a form of exercise.
Pole dancing has a highly negative stigma in the United States. In most other countries, it is a recognized sport. Americans will take any idea they can get a hold of and exploit it as a way to make money. Pole dancing originated as a way to train wrestlers and was a unique form of acrobatics in China. Once it came to the U.S., it turned to an apparatus to be used in a strip club, which is where its negative, raunchy image stemmed from.
In countries such as Russia, Ukraine, China, Australia, Italy, etc., pole is popular in schools. Some schools even incorporate it in their gym classes. When a headliner story hit the U.S. about parents being outraged for a Canadian school incorporating pole during a p.e. class, it caused an uproar. This would not even be considered news in other countries because many parents encourage their kids to start pole at an early age.
One of the best pole dancers in the world (as many consider her) is a twelve-year-old girl from Russia. As you can see from her video below, she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve at such a young age. She’s incredible. She demonstrates a lot of gymnastic talent and is also trained in various styles of dance.
Another amazing pole dancer is Brandon Grimm. Male pole dancers are absolutely AMAZING at this sport. As a male, he is built with a greater deal of upper body strength than a lot of women. That is not to discredit any of the amazingly strong and beautiful female pole dancers, but male pole dancers are naturally inclined to do well in this sport if they put in their time and dedication. Their natural build and upper body development help them excel at this sport more quickly than females.
Another good example of a male pole dancer is Dimitry Politov… an amazing Russian pole artist.
Pole also varies in style across different cultures. An Indian style of pole, called Mallakhamb, requires a thicker pole made of wood.
Chinese pole is also very unique and fast-paced, requiring a high skill of aerial and acrobatic skills.
Despite the many variants of pole dancing, one conclusive remark can be made: it is an extremely difficult sport that requires a lot of upper body strength, flexibility, and training in dance, acrobatics, and calisthenics movements. The performers and athletes that compete in competitions train for years to acquire the skill level they possess. Just like any other sport, it takes a love of the sport, a tremendous amount of time, eating right, and training hard to be good enough to compete.
The heat and backlash pole dancing receives comes from those who have never tried it, never seen a national competition, or are stuck on the notion that it is only for strippers to take hold of. It is a form of acrobatics, gymnastics, plyometrics, calisthenics, contortions, and dance.
One of my favorite arguments about pole comes from an Anderson Cooper segment where the following is mentioned: Why is it okay for gymnasts to flip around a pole that is horizontal, but it is NOT okay for someone to flip around a vertical one?
For those who have never tried pole dancing, you should. It is an excellent work out, boosts your confidence, and makes you feel connected in an extremely accepting and welcoming community. Once you start to see these results, and believe me, you will, it becomes an addiction. It is a shame for a woman to live her whole life without ever taking advantage and utilizing the strength, beauty, and grace her body is capable of. Same goes for men.
Pole is a beautiful, gymnastic sport that is not just something to be seen in a strip club for people to drool over. All pole dancers train like athletes and perform as artists. If you have never seen a pole dance routine (that doesn’t involve raunchy movements or stripping), educate yourself on the incredible amount of strength and talent it takes to be able to compete in national and international competitions. It’s incredible… and you’re in for a new insightful experience. Get ready to have your mind BLOWN.
On a side note: There are performances with a more sensual undertone that still require an incredible amount of talent. Not everyone can dance in ten-inch heels and still make it look strong and sexy. (Take a look after the break for the BEST example of this.)
(The people mentioned in this article are by no means the only famous and amazingly talented pole dancers. If you want to check out more of my favorites, look up Pink Puma, Anastasia Skukhtorova, Jenyne Butterfly, Alessandra Marchetti, Bendy Kate, Evgeny Grehilov, Alex Shchukin, Vladimir Karachunov, Carlos Franca, Steven Retchless.)