Pole Dancing: For or Against?

August 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

While Olympic fever is in the air, there is much talk as to whether pole dancing will or perhaps should ever become an Olympic sport. Obviously as a pole dancer I am very much pro this idea. I read a few tweets to give me an idea of what people thought about this… Sadly most linked pole dancing to stripping and people seemed outraged about this Olympic proposal. The pole community however, know how much strength and skill is actually involved in the sport. Some even call it polenastics as it is much closer to gymnastics than people realise.

Gemini PlankI am lucky that the gym I use has its own pole studio and the members are free to use it as they please. They also offer courses once a week. I use the studio most days of the week and have done since the beginning of the year. 8 months on and I’ve found out that at least one member, possibly more, has complained saying that having a pole studio in the gym is inappropriate – it is in a studio with the spinning class, away from the main gym. I can only imagine that these complainers have never seen any one pole dance and simply liken it to stripping – yet pole dancers do not take their clothes off. Now I wish to make it clear that while I am not a stripper, and never will be, I believe each to their own and think people can do as they wish.

Every day at the gym I get people watching me pole dance. I usually get women talking to me about how they’re not strong enough or fit enough to pole dance – to which I tell them that everyone starts somewhere. These ladies generally say how strong I must be and how much dedication I must have and wish that they could do the same thing. The surprising reaction is from the men. Every week I have men telling me that they saw me pole dance and then tried to lift themselves up or try a move they thought to be easy and found they could not do it. They always ask me the best way to train and get stronger and admire my body weight to strength ratio. The funniest part with regards to the men is that they want to be able to do the flag straight away with no training and wonder why they can’t do it!

I have yet to meet anyone who has seen me dance and still thinks it’s tasteless – usually the opposite! When I’m out in a club (which is rare) and there is a pole there I’ll usually have a go – as long as im covered up! I get a lot of female attention – often telling me to show them another moves or teach them how to do it, saying how beautiful I make it look. Most of the men are intimidated and don’t say anything. Occasionally I’ll get one sleazy comment which makes me stop straight away. I do this for fun and for myself – not for anyone else’s approval.

Reiko SplitsI now pole dance twice a day with one day off a week. My body has never been fitter or stronger. I find myself improving daily.  I go through phases of trying different types of fitness from dance classes to cardio work outs in the gym to weights to squats and lunges but nothing has toned me as well as pole dancing has. This may be due to the fact that I love it and so will always be happy to have another work out. I usually run as well, just to keep my fitness levels up but poling is really why I feel toned.

When I work out I wear shorts and a vest top as I would if I was going for a run in the street. There is no flesh to flash – unless of course you count my feet! When I work out I always keep it fitness based – of course you can be more wiggly as if putting on a show but polers don’t really do this when working out. I was in the gym yesterday and there was a man cycling in the studio but the seat of his trousers had worn away and he wasn’t wearing any pants! I could see everything. I have never and would never expose myself in this way!

I tell a lot of people about my upcoming pole competition. Most do not realise that pole dancing is considered to be a sport that has its own competitions. The pole dancing community is larger than most people think, with more and more people trying out pole dancing daily. If I only count the hen party classes that I have taught in 2012, I have taught pole dancing to a few hundred people this year alone – and I am one of many instructors. I can imagine that people think pole competitions are tasteless but these competitions are fitness based, just like any sport. There are strict rules against moving or wiggling or gyrating during your performance – any of these will get you disqualified mid-performance. There are strict costume rules – any wardrobe malfunctions or rogue nipples and it’s instant disqualication. You get marked on presentation, skill, technique, tricks and overall performance as you would hope from any professional competition.

My main wonder is how many people who are against pole dancing have actually seen people do it in a fitness setting? I imagine the number is very, very small. I would like to know why these people find it to be an offensive sport so that we can finally get rid of the bad reputation that our sport has.

I welcome any comments on this subject whether you like pole dancing or not – I am merely interested. And it is more than likely that someone who you know – a friend or relative has seen it, tried it and possibly liked it! While im not saying that it has to be everybodys favourite sport, I am asking people to give it a chance and not to judge it until you’ve seen it.