Pole fitness and pole dancing can provide numerous health benefits. Some of the benefits include:
Pole fitness enthusiasts also benefit from the social aspect of the sport. Because spotting is actively encouraged and participants are often sharing a pole, you get to know each other fairly quickly and can establish lasting friendships. Reading Pole Arts also offer occasional external parties and events to encourage student involved. You can read more about this under Our Values page.
Pole Fitness History
While pole fitness has grown in popularity since the new millennia, aspects of pole fitness can be traced back as far as the 12th century.
- Chinese pole is one of the oldest variations and influences of modern pole fitness. The poles used are usually 3-9 metres high and are laced with rubber material that allows the performer to grip on whilst wearing soft shoes and fully body costumes. Chinese pole techniques are still used today and can often be seen in performances such as in Cirque Du Soileil.
- Indian pole (Mallakhamb) goes back over 800 years and was used as a training method for wrestlers (Malla means 'wrestler' and Khamb means 'of pole'). Participants would wear little clothing to help them grip to the pole which had a base of 55cm and a thinner top of 35cm. They became well known for their ability to run up to the pole and flip directly onto it. Mallkhamb championships still go on to this day in 14 Indian states.
- Hoochie Coochie dancers traveled around the USA in the 1920s with the circus. Inspired by Ghawazi dancers of the late 19th century, hoochie coochie dancers would dance provocatively around the poles that held up the circus tents in order to attract passerbys to attend the show. This type of dancing soon moved into bars and was often combined with burlesque routines of the time.
- Exotic dancers started incorporating poles into their act in the mid 20th century. The first recorded pole dance was in Oregon, USA in 1968. As more gentleman's clubs introduced poles into their premises, performers began including more athletic feats such as climbs, spins, drop and inversions into their routines. Gentleman's clubs often held pole dancing competitions that awarded dancers for the most impressive tricks. The first pole studio that offered classes to non-exotic dancers opened in Las Vegas by former exotic dancer Fawnia Mondey (née Dietrich) in 1994. Since then, the pole world has evolved to include numerous dance styles, including contemporary, street dance and forms of martial arts. It is ever-expanding and new, clever tricks are being created every day.