Pole dancing breaks the shackles of impending prejudices

Twirl your way into competitive sports with pole dancing

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A woman with her head back kicking her foot out on a pole with a white flowing dress.
An ultimate test of strength, flexibility, and endurance. Photo: Pixabay / Pexels

By: Vanshita Sethi, Peak Associate 

A pole dancing class is the very melting pot of diversity: participants of all occupations, ages, and genders express a full range of emotions like sensuality, anger and joy while working the pole. Pole dancing dates back to the 12ᵗʰ century, when it was performed only by men. China and India saw the emergence of the pole in various forms. While Chinese acrobats displayed acts of strength and skill on poles, standing as tall as nine metres in height, Indian wrestlers used wooden poles to train — a sport referred to as Mallakhamb

Pole dancing has seeped into dance genres worldwide including belly dancing, tango, rumba, and moulin rouge. However, the sensual hoochie coochie dance of the 1890s was the true pre-cursor of pole dancing. 

Nowadays there are three main genres of pole dancing: artistic, sport, and exotic. Looking for self-expression? Pole artistic combines music and movement to create a story. Those looking for a workout should take a shot at pole sport. Unlike its artistic counterpart, sport involves little dance and all acrobatic pole movements. Last but not least is exotic — meant for strappy heels and sensual moves. Professional dancers can compete at international competitions like “Miss Pole Dance World” or national competitions like “Miss Dance Pole.” 

Pole dancing is redefining the face of fitness wherein a few swings and lifts on the static pole can leave you catching your breath. However, the journey of pole dancing into what it is today wasn’t an easy one. Usually dismissed as a feminine erotic dance form, it has been a struggle for pole dancing to claim its much-awaited recognition as a competitive sport. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Global Association of International Sports Federation granted the International Pole Sports Federation official observer status as a legitimate sport — although it is yet to be recognized in the Olympics

But pole dancing is not just limited to tests of physical strength. AnnaKia, a professional aerialist and owner of House of Baelien told Vogue, “I was [ . . . ] struggling with the loss of my identity.”  For many, pole dancing has become a powerful symbol of pushing their bodies to the limit and embracing their sexuality while hanging upside down in the air. AnnaKia added, “Pole is for everyone and every body! As a whole we want to welcome everyone into our little piece of heaven.”

The beauty of pole dancing lies in its ability to allow participants to connect to their bodies on a much deeper level by exploring how they can move on the pole. It can give you a whole new appreciation of your body while allowing you to have fun doing so. Pole dancing can be anything you want it to be based on your comfort level: from a simple twirl to more demanding acrobatic positions. When you are on the pole, the world is your oyster.