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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pole dancer Rafaela Montanaro performing
Chinese pole.

Pole dancing is a form of performing art, a combination of dancing and gymnastics. It involves dancing sensually with a vertical pole and is often used in strip clubs and gentlemen's clubs. A similar pole (Chinese poles) is used in cabaret/circus and stage performance in a non-erotic environment, in which context the style and moves are very different.

Advanced pole dancing requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance. In a strip club setting, pole dancing is often performed less gymnastically and combined with striptease, Go-Go, and/or lap dancing between performers. The dancer(s) may simply hold the pole, or use it to perform more athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions. Upper body and core strength are important to proficiency, which takes time to develop.

Pole dancing is now regarded as a recognized form of exercise and can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. Recognized schools and qualifications are being developed as pole dancing increases in popularity, with the overall sex appeal toned down. A group of advocates are even pushing for pole dancing to be represented as a test event in the 2012 London Olympics.[1]

Contents

History

It is probable pole dancing started in America in the 1920s depression, with dancers in traveling shows using a tent pole as a prop. The relationship to Chinese poles is unclear, Chinese troupes performed in Barnum and Bailey's circus from 1914 but they did not perform on poles.[2]

Pole dancing gradually began evolving from tents to bars as burlesque became more acceptable in the 1950's. Nothing much was heard until the 1980's when pole dancing and striptease became popular in Canada and then in the USA.[3]

The pole

Standard pole

A home version stage pole.

The standard dance pole typically consists of a hollow steel or brass pole with circular cross section, running from floor to ceiling. Affixing at the ceiling gives more stability, but is not always realized, especially at night clubs with higher ceilings or at transportable devices. In the United States, the diameter is usually around 5 cm (2 inches), allowing it to be gripped comfortably with one hand. In Asia, the diameter is usually slightly smaller at 45 mm or less. In Bobbi's studio [4], which operates in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, the poles are even thinner at 38mm, and unlike the X-poles [5], they are made of brass.

Another common pole is the spinning pole; as its name suggests, it is similar to a standard dance pole but spins using ball bearings. The purpose of this pole is to create better momentum and higher rates of speed, in order to have a greater dramatic effect.

Pole dancer using a street pole.

Home versions are available which may be used for practice or aerobic exercise. Materials of which poles are made include polished stainless steel, chromed steel, brass, powder coating, and Titanium coating. Poles can also be made of acrylic glass which allows use of "glow poles" with LED lighting effects. Each material surface has different gripping properties. Polished steel is one of the slickest materials, which provides for a faster, more fluid dance; brass poles provide more friction, allowing for an easier hold with hands or thighs and creating a slow, sensual dance style.

Poles can be held in place by using threading to brace them against a ceiling joist. There are also poles that do not require construction and can be set up using tension. Stationary, rotating, and switchable versions are available.

Show pole

There are now poles available for use in clubs that provide visual effects. These poles are made with clear plastics and contain water, glitter, and special reflective materials which stand out when used in conjunction with strobe lighting, as well as lighting hidden in their base joists. Although these poles are not favorable to a dancer wanting to achieve better pole tricks, as they bend slightly and have a tendency to create a friction burn when you slide down them with any sort of speed.

Pole dance as exercise

Cross knee release on a portable pole.

Recently, pole dancing has caught on as a new and increasingly popular form of exercise, in which women use the pole as a workout prop.[6] This form of exercise increases upper body strength (by using the body itself as resistance) while toning the body as a whole[7]. Pole dancing as an exercise is very similar to Mallakhamb, an Indian men's sport with no erotic component, but there is no evidence of a link.

A growing number of men are incorporating pole dancing into their fitness programmes [8]. In Australia, the UK and the US, dance studios are beginning to offer classes just for men. And in China, 2007's National Pole Dancing competition was won by a man. Dance instructor Zhang Peng, 23, beat a host of women dancers to the top prize[9].

Pole dance competitions

Although the most common pole dance competitions are still amateur nights at strip clubs, there is a growing world wide community who are trying to get pole dancing taken seriously as a sport and art form.

Pole dance competitions have attempted to shy away from amateur nights at strip clubs. These events are strictly non-nude and non-stripping with the focus placed on the athleticism and artistry of the performer rather than on pure sex appeal.

In Australia, "Miss Pole Dance Australia" was started in 2006. Amber Ray took home the first prize in the latest 2010 competition.[10] Miss Pole Dance World 2009, which was held in Jamaica and opened to all nationalities, was won by Australian Felix Cane.[11] The 2010 event will take place in Zurich, Switzerland. [12] Malaysia's Pole Idol 2009 saw Japanese participant Naoko Enomoto taking home the grand prize.[13]

See also

References

External links








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