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Pole dance is a form of performing art, a combination of dance and gymnastics. It involves dancing and performing acrobatic tricks with a vertical pole and is an increasingly popular form of fitness and dance, practised by many enthusiasts in gyms or dedicated dance studios. A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world.
Before the mid 2000s, pole dance mainly took place in strip clubs. Since then, promoters of pole dance fitness competitions have been trying to change peoples’ perception of pole dance and to promote it as a legitimate form of dance and fitness. Since then, pole dance has increasingly been influenced by Chinese pole, a form of acrobatics that is performed in cabaret/circus and stage performances in a non-erotic environment. Pole dance in competitions and dance/fitness classes often contains sensual dance movement but is increasingly combined with a range of non-erotic dance styles or gymnastics.
Advanced pole dance requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance. In a strip club setting, however, pole dance is often performed less gymnastically and striptease, Go-Go, and/or lap dancing is a part of the performance. The pole dancer(s) may simply hold the pole, or use it to perform more athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions. In the latter case upper body and core strength are important in order to attain proficiency, and rigorous training is necessary.
Pole dance is now regarded as a recognized form of exercise and can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. Recognized schools and qualifications are now common.