Wear clothing that exposes your skin and arms. As you prepare to pole dance, wear comfortable clothes that expose your arms and legs. Baring your skin will allow you to get a much better grip on the pole with your arms and legs so that you can perform these moves safely. You can wear heels if you're comfortable with the pole and want to feel sexy. If you’re new to pole dancing, wear sneakers to get a good grip on the pole.
This is another staple move for beginners to have in their repertoire. It’s also a good way to start building up your pain threshold, as this move hurts – quite a lot! You can introduce yourself to thigh-grip fairly quickly and in a controlled way, by sitting on the pole but still holding on with your hands, then you can slowly remove your hands as you build up grip strength.
The rock and roll invasion in the 1950s saw the introduction of the pole to a wider audience, with Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" movie and video in 1957. The video featured Presley's famous gyrating hips as well as numerous pole slides, grinds, and twirls.  Eventually the pole dancing moved from tents to bars, and combined with burlesque dance. Since the 1980s, pole dancing has incorporated athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and inversions into striptease routines, first in Canada and then in the United States. In the 1990s, pole dancing commenced to be taught as an art by Fawnia Mondey, a Canadian who moved to Las Vegas, US. She created the first pole training video to use in fitness exercises. Since then, pole dancing classes have become a popular form of recreational and competitive sport, practiced and performed in a variety of sexual, non-sexual, and athletic settings.
The standard dance pole typically consists of a hollow chrome, steel, or brass pole with a circular cross section, running from floor to ceiling. Affixing at the ceiling gives more stability, but is not always realized, especially at night clubs with higher ceilings or at transportable devices. In most countries, including the United States, the diameter is usually 50 mm (2 inches), or the now more popular 45 mm (1.75 inches), allowing it to be gripped comfortably with one hand. In Asia, the diameter is usually 45 mm or less. In Australia a 38 mm pole is popular.
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.
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.
Always use a crash mat designed for pole dancing as they can protect you from some nasty falls and injuries. As you’ll be learning pole dancing at home, and not in a studio, it’s important that you take these extra precautions as there will be no one to blame but yourself if the unthinkable happens. Read our safety guide for pole dancing at home (opens in a new tab).
Dance poles have two different modes, spinning and static. The spinning mode is when the pole uses ball bearings to spin. This mode can be used to complete more experienced pole moves, make moves easier to complete and to add a more dramatic effect to the move. Most spinning poles can be fixed to static too. The static mode is when the pole cannot rotate and is in a fixed position. The static mode is regularly used when pole dancing is first taught as beginners have little confidence.