How Pole Dancing Has Progressed

How Pole Dancing Has Progressed

How Pole Dancing Has Progressed

Pole dancing is gradually gaining popularity as a kind of sport and fitness routine. With just a pole and some acrobatic skills, one can tone and exercise almost every part of their muscle. Now, many dance studios offer pole dancing lessons to those who are willing to learn this art, but what really are the origins of this artful dance? 


Early History Of Pole Dancing

In the 12th century, pole dancing was not known by its name derived from the tool used, which is, obviously, the pole. It was more known as a pagan dance called the "Maypole dance" in Europe, which is actually a pagan feast for women and fertility. The Maypole dance had two versions: the circle dance and the ribbon dance. In the circle dance, dancers perform in a circle around a tall pole decorated with garlands, flags, flowers, and other emblems. On the other hand, dancers in the ribbon dance also gather in a circle, but each of them holds a ribbon attached to a smaller pole, and these ribbons get intertwined as the dance continues.
On the other side of the earth, also as early as 800 years ago, the pole dance was not known as a dance per se but as an exercise or sport in India called the "mallakhamb," in which players use endurance and strength to climb and leap from pole to pole and to show gravity-defying stunts, at about 20 feet in the air. Beginning in the 1920s, when circuses were on hype, performers would use the pole in the middle of the circus tent to do pole maneuvers. Later, poles could be found in bars, where performers would perform burlesque dances using the pole. In the 1980s, pole dancing became widely known and has been associated with striptease and lap dancing in Canada and in the United States.

From Exotic Dance to Pole Dancing Competitions 

Pole dancing became popular despite its reputation as a bar or lap dance to entertain customers in bars. From the 1990s, pole dancing began to be taught as a form of exercise for fitness. In 1994, the first exotic dance school was opened by Fawnia Dietrich in Canada. It was followed by Sheila Kelley, opening studios of exotic dance in the United States. These studios began the teaching of exotic dances, which included pole dancing. Now, pole dancing is making its way to the mainstream through studios offering pole dancing lessons and through pole dancing competitions. These competitions, of course, focus on pole dancing as an athletic and artistic dance and not as an erotic or pagan fertility dance. In November 2005, the first Miss Pole Dance World competition was held in Amsterdam. 

Lights, camera, pole dance!

Moreover, advocates even began campaigning for the inclusion of pole dance as a test event for the 2012 London Olympics. On May 19, 2009, the first US Pole Dance Federation Championship was held. Because of these developments, pole dancing also made it to some television shows and films such as Desperate Housewives, The View, Ghost Whisperer to Hustlers, Date Night and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Indeed, pole dancing has come a long way, from being considered as a striptease dance to becoming a world-renowned sports and fitness routines with more and more pole dancing competitions popping up all over the world! We can't wait to see what pole dancing has in store for us in the future! 

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