The internet is full of varying opinions on the pole dancing community. In some ways, we really have come a long way over the years. However, the art of pole is still often stigmatised by many outside of the community. Additionally, polers are often met with strong opinions from within the community who don’t quite understand the variety and multi-faceted components of what we do
So, I thought it might be a good idea to find balance and put pole dancing into context based on the many styles that are out there. Pole is a vast combination of dance, sport, acrobatics and more. While it is difficult to explain it in a single blog, I’m going to give a brief description of the wonderful elements of this art form that we love so much!
There may be some styles that I have missed, so feel free to let me know if there’s anything you think is worth mentioning!
Let’s start with where modern pole dancing began: the strip club. There is actually a rich history of stripper style pole dancing, which Carolina from Blogger On Pole explains here. And if it weren’t for the strip clubs, pole dancing wouldn’t have developed into the many different styles we can choose from today.
If you’ve looked at any studio timetable, you will usually see at least one adult class dedicated to the mature side of pole dancing. For example, Sarah Precious offers a a “filth army” class* that helps you explore your sexy side in a stripper-friendly environment. This style of pole is heavily inspired by strip clubs and can be great for helping sex workers with their creative flow. At the same time, those who don’t work in the industry can benefit in numerous ways, such as body confidence, or to be sexy for themselves, simply because they want to.
It’s also important to know that there are many varying levels of sexy choreography. You can always start with something that’s within your comfort zone and work your way up if that’s right for you.
*Filth Army classes can be found at Polefire in Salford, Pole Sisters in Bolton, Opal Dance in Wigan and Elysium Studios in Huddersfield.
Lyrical or Contemporary Pole
Lyrical and Contemporary are dance styles of their own own. But over the years, we have seen a rise in the number of performers who enjoy merging these styles with pole dancing. In this context, the pole almost acts as a prop. The dancer then uses a range of spins and transitions that complement this style of dance.
I’ll be honest, this isn’t an area of pole dancing where I have much knowledge. Street pole is basically the art of using city structures to practice and display acrobatic skills. You have likely seen those viral videos of people dancing on trains and subway lines, using the support pole as a prop to move around. They sometimes use other bars and handles, and their moves can differ from what you’d find in the studio. But nonetheless, if there’s a pole and they’re dancing around it… It’s pole dancing!
Pole Sports and Fitness
This is usually the starting point for many pole dancers. If I had a quid for each time someone said “I started doing pole for fitness but then…” I’d be a very rich woman! But there are still many people who love the sporty side of pole, myself included! Learning new flips and tricks, seeing yourself get stronger each day, perfecting each move… There are so many benefits to doing pole as a form of fitness.
Another area where my knowledge is limited, so I won’t speak too much on this topic. This style of pole has a long cultural history that is worth reading about. If you’d like to learn more about the difference between modern pole and Chinese pole, here is an article by Pole Twisters.
And Possibly Even More!
As you can see, pole dancing and pole fitness can be approached in numerous ways. It’s up to the individual how they choose to do so and none of the above is the wrong choice. Context in the community is extremely important for the sake of peace and respect. I really hope this article helps people to be more open-minded about what we do and how we choose to do it.
Special thanks to the wonderful pole community on Facebook for helping me amend and finalise this article!