The hobby of pole dancing is one that is shrouded in misinformation based on the sexuality that was once, and in certain places still is, associated with it. It is actually impossible to not start by discussing the origins of pole dancing in burlesque houses and gentlemen’s clubs in the early 1920’s, but the hobby has grown significantly from those early days. Sure, pole dancing is still a huge part of adult entertainment, but a new movement has begun to surface that shows the positive health benefits to the art of pole dancing. Despite its early beginnings, the hobby can be viewed as a combination of gymnastics and dance performed on a vertical pole. Not so much of a stretch should you think of the vertical poles used in the Chinese circus, which features a non-erotic environment, or the hugely popular sport of Mallakamb in India, which is essentially an Olympic style sport performed on a vertical pole. Before you are able to take serious the hobby of pole dancing, you must first shed the erotic nature of the phrase “pole dancing”, which has deterred many from practicing the hobby.
History of Pole Dancing
Just as it was mentioned in the introductions, Pole dancing is suspected to have been started in the United States of America during the 1920s depression. At this time, the general technique that the dancers in traveling shows used in this time period is by using a tent pole as a prop. There is a close relationship to Chinese poles, but at times the relationship is unclear because Chinese troupes, who performed in Barnum and Bailey`s Circus from 1914, did not perform on poles and performed in a non-erotic environment.
As a relatively new movement throughout North America, Pole dancing is now regarded as a recognized form of exercise and can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. It is a form of exercise that is beginning to be offered in various health clubs and exercise gyms for both men and women. Recognized schools and qualifications are being developed as pole dancing increases in popularity, with the overall sex appeal toned down.
Pole Dance as Exercise
Pole dancing has gained popularity as a form of exercise, with increased awareness of the benefits to general strength and fitness. This form of exercise increases core and general body strength by using the body itself as resistance, while toning the body as a whole. Pole dancing as an exercise is very similar to Mallakhamb, an Indian men`s sport with no erotic component, but there is no evidence of a link.
Benefits to Pole Dancing
When one removes the erotic nature from pole dancing and opens their minds to the numerous benefits to pole dancing, one quickly realizes that there are many reasons to start pole dancing today. The first thing people do when trying to lose weight is to burn off as many calories as possible, and because of the fast pace dance aspects of pole dancing, burning calories is one of the easiest goals to reach and maintain. The closest relationship pole dancing has with other work outs is aerobics, but in addition to the aerobic and anaerobic workout, the pole is added to achieve better muscle toning.
Due to the up and down movements on the vertical pole, the body’s muscles receive a tremendous workout that tones your abs, arms, shoulders, and legs. By focusing on specific routines, the instructor of the class is able to focus on specific muscle groups to give you a full body work out. Like most dance related activities, flexibility is one of the earliest achievements that are acquired while having the time of your life. Once the basics are learned, more advanced movies can be learned, which in turn builds confidence and self esteem not to mention you will be the envy of all your friends.
Purchasing a Pole
With the growing popularity of pole dancing as a form of exercise, many women and men want are seeking the convenience and privacy of a home dance pole. Whether you are a beginner pole dancer, or perhaps one of many fitness instructors thinking of getting into the business of teaching pole dancing classes or doing home pole dancing parties, there is a sudden need solid of relevant information on specific features of the different pole dancing kits including safety and durability.
Due mainly to the sudden boom in interest for the new hobby of pole dancing, dance poles now come in a variety of materials that feature an array of different features for both home and studio use. No matter what your situation is in life, there is more than likely going to be a pole that is best suited to your specific needs.
Of the many popular poles that are now available for private purchase, the more popular are permanent poles, removable poles, friction fit poles, portable poles, platform poles, and rotating poles. Essentially, the main two options that one has to consider prior to the purchase of a pole is whether or not the pole is going to be permanently fixed into place, or if you will want to change its position or location at some point in the present or future. Just like any other product on the market, there are different brands of poles with slightly different features within each basic type of pole that ranges in price from inexpensive to expensive.
The one pole that is highly recommended by most in the hobby is the permanent pole because it is exactly what it is name, permanent. Unlike the other poles that can be easily moved should the need be required, the permanent pole is firmly set in place, usually being attached at both the top and bottom of the pole, so that it can never move. This feature make this the safest pole available on the market because there are no safety concerns about it coming free from its position midswing due to its permanent position. This feature is also its only con because of its inconvenience should their come time to actually move it. This is the most common pole found in clubs and exercise facilities. Next to permanent poles, removable poles featuring movable fixtures are the next safest type of pole that allows for easy movement should it be required. Because of its extra parts, there is an added risk of failure in the mounting hardware, but compared to the friction fit pole, which mounts like the name suggests by friction between the floor and ceiling, it is considerably safer.
How to Learn Pole Dancing
The easiest method to learning this hobby is to join an aerobics class at your local gym. Most cities in North America now have gyms that offer pole dancing classes as an alternative form of exercise to the more traditional forms of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. You may still have to do a bit of searching when it comes time to find an instructor, but the search is usually less painless than one would think. The benefits to learning from an instructor is that you have a one on one relationship that guarantees a better work out through specific levels of motivation. This method also offers the ability to meet other individuals who love the same type of exercise, which could lead to a more fun filled experience.
The other option that is continuously growing in popularity is instructional videos and books that allow individuals the ability to learn in the private of their own homes. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who just simply are not comfortable with the thought of swinging around a metal pole where strangers can watch them, especially where the thoughts of erotic dancing is still present. But the immediate downside to training at home is that you are forced to purchase your own dancing pole, where prices could start around the $250 range. If that isn’t a problem, then you essentially have an all in one home gym that takes up nearly no room at all. Videos and books may not match the level of teaching and motivation an instructor could give you, but the videos and books will give you a solid walkthrough of the various moves and routines.
General Safety Tips
In addition to the various safety issues related to the various types of poles available on the market, the following is a list of tips that will help you stay safe while you are learning your new hobby. One important thing to mention is that there is no safety equipment associated with the hobby, so before your are spinning upside down on a dancing pole, it is a good idea to master the beginner moves associated with the exercise.
Wash your hands before you dance in order to remove lotions, creams or any natural oils on your handsthat may make the pole unnecessarily slippery when dancing. Always ensure your hands are clean and dry before attempting an type of exercise of a dancing pole. If you`re sharing your pole in a class setting, frequent hand washing will also help prevent the spread of colds and flu as these poles, like door handles, can harbor numerous microscopic germs.
Remove rings, watches and any other loose jewelry, to protect your pole from being scratched during the swings and slides associated with the exercise. Like most athletic activities, it is recommended to remove all jewelry to prevent unwanted injury. Loose jewelry like necklaces can become a hazard when learning spins and inversions because they also spin and flip about the neck. At best, these can distract you as they move, and at worst they could become caught between you and the pole, causing you to lose your grip and fall.
Avoid covering your palm with gloves or other fabrics when pole dancing. While gloves marketed specifically for pole dancing may provide the grip you need for climbing safely, they can also act like an oil or lotion and cause you to slip and fall. Pole dancing injuries are inevitable if you don`t have a good grip on the pole.
Always use a spotter or helper when learning the basics and new moves. This is especially important when doing advanced moves such as inversions where the risk of falling is considerably greater. There are serious consequences associated with falls from these moves, so protect yourself and practice good dance pole safety by having someone spot you.
Safety mats are a good option when beginning to learn pole dancing, but they are almost a necessity when learning inversions and other advanced moves. While there is no replacement of a good spotter, mats can give you increased confidence, and in case they`re ever needed, will help soften the landing to prevent injury.
Do regular safety checks on your pole, including the fittings and small parts such as cotter pins, screws, and other mounting hardware. Take a few moments prior to each dance to do a quick dance pole safety check, and you could help avoid a painful accident to yourself, friends or family, and damage to your property.
While for the most part the hobby of pole dancing is still associated with night clubs and adult entertainment, there is a strong movement in modern times to help move the hobby from the club to your home or gym. At first this transitions seemed to be impossible, but by looking through history, we can see different circumstances, mainly mallakamb and the Chinese Pole, that showed the non-erotic nature of pole dancing. By eliminating the erotic nature of the pole dance, instructors have developed a fantastic all in one gym that acts as an aerobic and anaerobic exercise while at the same time developing specific muscle groups for better tone and definition. As the hobby expandes, there is no longer a necessity to join a gym to complete the workouts taught on dance poles, as now poles are readily available for home use and there are comprehensive books and videos available to progress the beginner pole dancer through to the advanced levels of pole dancing.