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.

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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,[9] performed mostly by Ghawazi dancers making their first appearance in America.[10] In an era where women dressed modestly in corsets, the dancers, dressed in short skirts and richly adorned in jewelry, caused quite a stir.[11][12] During the 1920s, dancers introduced pole by sensually gyrating on the wooden tent poles to attract crowds.[13]
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