These are the serious athletes performing death-defying tricks and displaying unfathomable muscular strength. Then there are also those who embrace the artistic side pole has to offer. The simplicity of a vertical apparatus is appealing in that so much can be created and so many stories can be told. Many of these dancers perform barefoot and have been known to incorporate modern dance, props and costumes into their routines. Finally the sexy side of pole is still practiced by many. These dancers usually wear heels. And although there is some debate within the community about which direction pole is heading, all three forms flourish, and many pole dancers enjoy all styles. There is something for everyone.
The use of pole for sports and exercise has been traced back at least eight hundred years to the traditional Indian sport of mallakhamb, which utilizes principles of endurance and strength using a wooden pole, wider in diameter than a modern standard pole. The Chinese pole, originating in India, uses two poles on which men would perform "gravity defying tricks" as they leap from pole to pole, at approximately twenty feet in the air, further information can be seen in the old vintage documentary series of mallakhamb, by yasho purush film on YouTube.