When you think of pole dancing, the first image that probably comes to mind is that of an exotic dancer in a G-string stuffed with crumpled dollar bills. No one can blame you; pole dancing had graced the stages of many a smoky and sticky strip club across the nation for years. What you may not know, however, is that pole dancing has also become popular as a form of exercise and strength training.
That hasn’t done much to dispel the popular stigmas about pole dancing: it’s skanky, it’s only for strippers, etc. The most recent example of these ideas in action is the story of Ashley Wright and the videos she posts of her dancing with her daughter in tow. Some call her irresponsible for putting her child in danger, exposing her to something too risqué.
Others say that she’ll be raising a stripper or prostitute if she keeps it up, etc. It is my humble opinion that these people don’t know much about pole or pole dancing. In an attempt to spread the word and love of this art/sport, below are just a few reasons why the men and women on the pole deserve more respect than they get.
1. Pole dancers are some of the fittest people you will ever meet.
Regular pole dancers find that their body fat just disintegrates when you spend all that time climbing and inverting and squeezing your muscles into the pole so you don’t fall in your tricks.
2. Pole dancers are confident.
Getting on a pole in very little clothing isn’t for the faint of the heart. The first time I tried pole dancing, I was terrified to take my shirt off. The class was compiled mostly of females and men I knew had no interest in seeing me without my shirt on, but I was reticent nonetheless. Once I did it, I realized there was little to be afraid of. The other students in the room were more interested in learning tricks and spins then in evaluating my appearance, just as I was more interested in learning than staring at them. There were some students who even danced in their bras and underwear.
3. Pole dancers are warriors.
The proof is in the bruises and burns across their bodies. Metal poles are unforgiving on bare skin, particularly along the thighs, shins, feet and arms. Bare skin is actually an assist when performing inversions since it prevents you from sliding and falling and even the most practiced of pole dancers find themselves with “pole kisses” from time to time. It’s enough to turn away those with a fairweather interest, but for those who have fallen in love with pole, those kisses are worn with pride.
4. Pole dancers are incredibly hard working.
Pole dancing isn’t as easy as your average pole virgin might think. Certain moves and tricks are easier than others, but more advanced tricks like a human flag require lots of patience and practice. It’s work that your dedicated pole practitioner doesn’t mind putting in, because they’ve learned that the high you get from mastering a move is unlike any other.
5. Pole dancers are graceful.
It takes some serious skill to get on a pole and make it look easy. Each time I watch one an instructor at the studio, a professional on Youtube or even others students, I am amazed at the control and strength they display; the best pole dancers even appear to defy gravity.
6. Pole dancers are sexy beasts.
Pole dancers, by default, are very in touch with the natural rhythm and movement of the body. They know how to move to make shapes against and around the pole, and they’re not afraid to show their skin.
7. Pole dancers are passionate.
People who pole dance do it because they love it – or at the very least, really enjoy it. You have to have a deep love for it to put up with the pain you put yourself through. When you meet someone that is that impassioned by something, it can inspire you to find something that you love.
8. Pole dancers are creative.
Since there is not a set series of poses, most of the moves and tricks have come about through trial and error. There can be five different names for the same movement, and there can be just as many or more different ways to get into a pose. Pole dancers learn these moves and tweak them, incorporating their own style into them and creating choreography from them.
9. Pole dancers are tenacious.
Certain pole moves require a lot of practice to get right and dedicated pole practitioners will not give up until they get it right, even if it means wearing themselves out from it. I’ve heard stories from pole practitioners about practicing the same move over and over for weeks before they get it right.
10. Pole dancers are friendly.
Most of the students I’ve met, even the professional ones, are ready and willing to offer assistance or advice to other pole aficionados. Of course you come across those who aren’t so welcoming. They are the ones that look at you with disdain while they show off their skills, or try to ask them a technical question but they are few and far between. Most pole dancers want to share their love of the sport/art with whomever wants to learn or listen.