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What Is Pole Dancing?

Pole dancing is a form of physical activity and artistic expression that involves performing acrobatic and dance movements on a vertical pole. It combines elements of gymnastics, dance, and fitness, and requires significant strength, flexibility, and coordination.

Pole dancing originated in strip clubs and other adult venues, where it was (and still is) performed as a form of erotic entertainment. However, in recent years, pole dancing has evolved and split into multiple styles, which includes a sportier form of fitness. There are many types of pole dancing, from artistic and expressive, to exotic and sensual, to fitness and sporty. 

In pole dancing, performers use a vertical pole to support their bodies and perform a variety of moves, such as spins, climbs, inversions, and transitions. These moves can be combined into choreographed routines that showcase the performer’s strength, flexibility, and creativity.

Pole dancing is also a form of artistic expression that encourages experimentation and creativity. Performers can incorporate different styles of dance, music, and costumes into their routines, and can use pole dancing as a means of self-expression and exploration.

Overall, pole dancing is a dynamic and versatile activity that offers a challenging full-body workout, a form of artistic expression, and a supportive community for individuals of all backgrounds and identities.

Is It a Sport, Hobby, or Career?

Pole dancing can be considered a sport, hobby, or career, depending on the individual’s goals and interests.

For those who approach pole dancing primarily as a sport, it offers a challenging and dynamic form of physical activity that requires strength, endurance, and skill. Competitions and events are held around the world, and athletes can compete in different categories based on their level of experience and expertise.

For others, pole dancing is a hobby that provides a fun and creative outlet for self-expression and physical activity. Hobbyists can attend classes and workshops, learn new moves and techniques, and connect with others who share their interests.

Pole dancing can also be pursued as a career, particularly for those who work in the adult entertainment industry or as performers. In this context, pole dancing is often used as a form of artistic expression and entertainment, and can involve performing in clubs, theaters, or other venues.

Men on the Pole

While pole dancing has traditionally been associated with women, men have increasingly been joining the pole dancing community in recent years.

Men on the pole have helped to challenge gender stereotypes and promote body positivity and self-confidence for all individuals. They have shown that pole dancing is not just for women or feminine individuals, and that individuals of all genders and expressions can benefit from the physical and mental benefits of the activity.

Men on the pole may still face challenges and prejudices from some individuals who view pole dancing as an un-masculine activity. However, the growing acceptance and recognition of men on the pole, along with the wider recognition of pole dancing as a legitimate form of artistic and emotional expression, are helping to break down these barriers and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all who practice pole dancing.

Pole Dancing Equipment

Overall, pole dancing equipment is designed to enhance safety and performance while practicing this unique and dynamic form of physical activity and artistic expression. At the bare minimum, you will need a pole to do pole dancing. Additional equipment may include knee pads, pole dance heels, grip aids, and a crash mat.

Want More Info on Pole Dancing at Home?

We have a full (free) guide on how to pole dance at home. There’s everything here about choosing the right type of pole for you, what different choices mean, how to install it, and what kind of space you need.

The Community is a Highlight

One of the highlights of pole dancing is the supportive and inclusive community that surrounds it. The pole dancing community is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds and identities who share a passion for the activity and a desire to connect with others who share their interests. The community has gained a lot of media coverage about just how empowering and inclusive it can be. (1)

“Roz the Diva is a personal trainer and pole dance instructor who aims to empower other plus-size athletes”


Moreover, the pole dancing community is known for its inclusivity and acceptance of individuals of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. The community celebrates diversity and encourages individuals to embrace their bodies and express themselves through movement.

The supportive and inclusive nature of the pole dancing community is a testament to the power of physical activity and artistic expression to bring people together and promote positive social connections. It is a reminder that, while pole dancing may have its roots in erotic entertainment, it has evolved into a dynamic and multi-faceted activity that has something to offer everyone, regardless of their interests or goals.

Benefits of Pole Dancing

Pole dancing offers a comprehensive and dynamic full-body workout that engages muscles throughout the body, including the arms, core, legs, and back. It can help to improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and circulation, leading to better endurance and energy levels.

Pole dancing requires a significant amount of flexibility, particularly in the hips, shoulders, and back. Regular practice can help to improve flexibility and range of motion and encourage individuals to embrace their bodies and express themselves through movement.

In addition to its physical benefits, pole dancing can also have a positive impact on mental health. It can help individuals to develop a more positive body image and sense of self-confidence and can serve as a fun and creative outlet for stress relief.

Moreover, the pole dancing community is known for its inclusivity and supportiveness, which can provide a sense of belonging and security, improving mental health and confidence.

Is Pole Dancing Hard?

Yes, pole dancing can be challenging. Especially with more advanced tricks, pole requires significant strength, flexibility, and coordination. The movements and techniques involved in pole dancing can be difficult to master and requires practice and dedication to perfect.

That said, there are plenty of beginner-friendly moves that allow you to gain all these necessary skills as you practice, meaning anyone can begin pole dancing and get on the pole as long as they stay within their level of skill and progress as their body is ready.

With time, patience, and consistent practice, individuals can improve their skills and build the strength and flexibility necessary to perform more advanced moves and techniques. Pole dancing can also be adapted to different skill levels and interests, allowing individuals to progress at their own pace and explore different styles of movement and expression.

Despite the challenges, many individuals find pole dancing to be a rewarding and empowering form of exercise and artistic expression. It offers a unique combination of physical and mental benefits, and can be enjoyed by individuals of all genders, ages, and backgrounds.

How Do Pole Dancers Stay on the Pole?

From an outsider’s perspective, a pole dancer six feet in the air performing daring aerial tricks on a vertical, metal pole looks like a form of magic. This can be intimidating when you first start learning, but it’s important to understand that you will be progressing at your own pace, gradually working your way up to more complex movements, all typically starting with your feet on the floor.

Skin: Pole dancers use their exposed skin to create friction against the metal pole. As they grip and slide their body along the pole, the skin creates a strong hold that allows them to maintain their position. Healthy, moist skin is perfect for this as it can grip the smooth metal of the pole better.

Grip Aids: Some pole dancers use grip aids such as iTac 2 or Dry Hands, or grip-enhancing gloves to help improve their hold on the pole. These aids can be particularly helpful for individuals with sweaty or slippery skin, while there are other grip aids to help dry skin grip better.

More Information on Grip Aids Here

There’s a whole guide, and we’ve tested everything here to categorize different grip aids so you can find the best one for your skin type and needs. From dry skin to sweaty skin and everything in-between, you’ll find it here.

Clothing: Pole dancers may, in some cases, wear clothing that helps to increase grip on the pole, such as shorts or leggings made of materials with a grippy texture.

Why is Pole Dancing Sexualized?

Pole dancing has been sexualized due to its origins in strip clubs and other adult entertainment venues, where it was performed as a form of erotic dance and entertainment. In this context, pole dancing was often associated with sexual fantasy and objectification and was performed primarily for the pleasure of the audience. While this is still true in some contexts, the tone around pole dancing has begun to shift into a more respectful light.  

Today, pole dancing is becoming a more celebrated facet of the world, as emotional health is more welcomed and pole dancing has become much more centered more on the performer’s desire to express themselves.

Furthermore, pole dancing as an activity has begun to diversify into multiple styles, some of which are moving away from the highly sensual expression of movement and further into dramatic or fitness-focused movements. Exotic style pole dancing, however, is still alive and well to be celebrated in modern contexts.


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  1. HuffPost, This Pole Dance Instructor is Defying Stereotypes about What It Means to Be Fit, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-pole-dance-instructor-is-plus-size-and-athletic-af_n_5b066603e4b0f91fd81a3fee