Origins of Pole Dancing
The origins of pole dancing are difficult to trace, as it has evolved over time in different cultures and contexts. Here are some of the most commonly cited origins of pole dancing:
- Circus and variety acts: Pole dancing has roots in circus and variety acts, where performers would use a vertical pole to perform acrobatics, dance, and other feats of strength and agility.
- Chinese pole: The Chinese pole is a type of vertical pole that has been used in traditional Chinese acrobatics for hundreds of years. It is believed to have inspired some of the earliest forms of pole dance.
- Strip clubs: In the 20th century, pole dancing became associated with strip clubs and adult entertainment. Performers would use a pole as a prop to perform sensual and suggestive dances.
- Fitness and performance art: In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, pole dancing began to be seen as a form of fitness and performance art. Studios and schools opened, offering classes and workshops to teach people of all ages and genders how to pole dance.
Regardless of its origins, pole dancing has evolved into a dynamic and diverse form of performance art, practiced by people all over the world for fitness, self-expression, and competition. Today, pole dance is recognized as a sport by the International Pole Sports Federation and is included in the Asia Indoor Games, World Pole Sport Championship, and World Pole Dance Championship.
Evolution of Pole Dancing in the Early 20th Century
In the early 20th century, pole dancing was primarily performed in circuses and vaudeville shows as a form of entertainment. It was typically performed by men, who would use the pole to showcase their strength, agility, and acrobatic skills.
However, with the advent of strip clubs and adult entertainment, pole dancing became associated with sexuality and sensuality, performed mostly by women. This perception of pole dance as a sexually suggestive and explicit form of entertainment persisted for much of the 20th century.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, pole dancing began to evolve as a form of fitness and performance art. Studios and schools opened, offering classes and workshops to teach people of all ages and genders how to pole dance. This new focus on pole dance as a form of exercise and self-expression helped to dispel the stigma associated with its origins in strip clubs.
As pole dance gained popularity as a fitness activity, competitions and events were established, and the sport began to be recognized by international organizations. Today, pole dance continues to evolve and diversify, with many different styles and techniques being developed and practiced around the world.
Rise of Pole Dancing’s Popularity in the 1980s and 1990s
Pole dancing experienced a rise in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, primarily as a result of its association with strip clubs and adult entertainment. The dance form gained greater visibility and recognition, as it was featured in music videos, movies, and popular culture.
During this time, pole dancing also began to be seen as a form of empowerment for women. Women in the adult entertainment industry, as well as those practicing pole dance in strip clubs, sought to reclaim the dance form and assert their agency and independence.
Additionally, the 1980s and 1990s saw the development of new pole dance equipment and accessories, including specialized poles made of different materials and designed for different types of dance. This new equipment allowed for a greater range of movement and more intricate and daring moves, further contributing to the rise of pole dancing’s popularity.
Overall, the 1980s and 1990s marked a turning point for pole dancing, as it began to be seen as a legitimate form of entertainment and self-expression, rather than simply a feature of adult entertainment.