Pole dance in America has its roots in the "Little Egypt" traveling sideshows of the 1890s, which featured sensual "Kouta Kouta" or "Hoochie Coochie" belly dances, performed mostly by Ghawazi dancers making their first appearance in America. In an era where women dressed modestly in corsets, the dancers, dressed in short skirts and richly adorned in jewelry, caused quite a stir. During the 1920s, dancers introduced pole by sensually gyrating on the wooden tent poles to attract crowds.
Everyone has to start at the beginning, right? If you’ve recently signed up to pole fitness classes, you’re probably already fixated by pole fitness superstars on YouTube and Instagram. All of these dancers started by learning some basic pole tricks, just like you! This article contains some classic pole dancing moves for beginners that you’ll probably learn very early along your pole fitness journey.
Grab the pole with both hands. Stand next to the pole so that it's closer to your weaker side. Then, place both of your hands on the pole so you're gripping it like a baseball bat, with your hands a bit more than 1 foot (30 cm) apart. Put the hand closest to the pole on top, and the outside hand on the bottom. Your lower hand should be at about chest level.
Pole dancing, which has been featured on Desperate Housewives and The View, like other exercise trends has its share of celebrity following. Jennifer Love Hewitt had a short pole dancing stint in an episode of "Ghost Whisperer". Actress Sheila Kelley was so taken with the sport, which she learned whilst preparing for her role in Dancing at the Blue Iguana, that she launched her own pole-based exercise programme.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A back hook spin is another classic spin that’s great for spinning with a lot of momentum all the way down to the floor on a static pole. As a beginner, it’s important to learn all these different grips for spins and holds, it can be confusing at first when you’re trying to configure your arms and legs in the right position, but you’ll be surprised at natural it feels when you get it right
There are now poles available for use in clubs that provide visual effects. These poles are made with clear plastics and contain water, glitter, and special reflective materials which stand out when used in conjunction with strobe lighting, as well as lighting hidden in their base joists. However, these poles are not favorable to a dancer wanting to achieve better pole tricks, as they bend slightly and have a tendency to create a friction burn when slid down with any sort of speed.