Despite progress in the public’s understanding of what we do, many of us still fight stereotypes. Some of pole dancing’s loudest critics have never tried it themselves. Just last year, Marina Heck, a schoolteacher, was forced to resign from her position following controversy that she is a pole dancer. Even if what we are doing is completely athletic and far removed from the type of pole dancing performed in strip clubs, we still need to explain ourselves. Many times when revealing to strangers what it is I do, I find myself hesitating because I don’t feel like justifying my passion to a skeptic.
A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world. They are strictly non-nude and focus on pole dance as an athletic and artistic form of dance and fitness. The first "Miss Pole Dance World" competition was held in November 2005 in Amsterdam and Elena Gibson from the UK won the championship. The following day Elena was disqualified by the organizer John Benner amongst much controversy and the title went to the runner up Reiko Suemune from Japan.
This is one of the biggest reasons I've stuck with pole dancing as long as I have. The physical benefits are great, but the feeling you get from mastering a move or expressing a particular emotion is indescribable. Just the other day, I assisted a student in her first climb. It was a huge deal for her and the expression of joy on her face reminded me why I do what I do.
Many pole dancers manage to use a dance pole at home without the ideal amount of space, and they do so successfully. However, some moves and combos cannot be performed in smaller spaces, although it is possible to adapt your routines according to the space around you. As a beginner, it is better to be able to move as freely as possible so try your best to make space around you.
Pole fitness lessons may cost $20-$30 per time, and you should attend once a week to really feel the benefit. The instructor will set the pace of the lessons and choose which tricks to teach you and in what order. In The Art Of Pole DVD, for example, you learn well over 50 moves for around $120, whereas a $120 spent at a pole class would teach you fewer moves. It’s a very good value to purchase online lessons too.
Pole dance requires significant muscular endurance and coordination (as well as sensuality, in exotic dancing). Today, pole performances by exotic dancers range from basic spins and striptease in more intimate clubs, to athletic moves such as climbs and body inversions in the "stage heavy" clubs of Las Vegas and Miami. Dancer Remy Redd at the King of Diamonds, for example, is famous for flipping herself upside down into a split and hanging from the ceiling. Pole dance requires significant strength and flexibility. Upper body and core strength are required to attain proficiency, proper instruction, and rigorous training is necessary. Since the mid 2000s, promoters of pole dance fitness competitions have been trying to change peoples' perception of pole dance to include pole fitness as a non-sexual form of dance and acrobatics, and are trying to move pole into the Olympics as pole sports.