Depending on who you ask, pole dancing is usually either the best thing that ever happened to them, something they've heard about but never seen or tried, or a form of adult entertainment seen only in strip clubs and brothels. If you were to ask me, I'd say that pole dancing is not only the best thing that ever happened to me, but is a sport that requires focus, commitment, dedication, perseverance to build the strength and confidence needed to move up to more advanced levels. Just like, you know, every other sport on the planet!
So, now you know what pole dancing is, let me break it down further. Pole is a dance-based sport, incorporating full body movement, using the pole in a similar way a gymnast would use a bar or a beam: to assist with performing tricks and holding poses. Like any dance-based sport, learning and developing dance routines and putting them to music is an important part of pole and, while pole routines often have sexy connotations, pole is versatile and a dance could be sexy or lyrical, fast or slow, done in pole shorts and heels or track pants and sneakers (yes, I've seen it done). Most dancers at all levels will wear pole shorts (super short shorts that may resemble underwear) as many of the tricks and moves we do require leg grip, particularly at the knee or thigh. Crop tops tend to be popular as well because, the more skin you can have on the pole, the more grip you can achieve. Tricks like a Ballerina Hold, Crucifix Hold or Reverse Front Crucifix all require strong leg grip from the knees and thighs, which is much easier to achieve wearing pole shorts than in pants or longer shorts and I salute those incredible dancers (my instructor among them) who I have seen pull off these moves in leggings and pants. These moves are also good examples of upper-body skin grip; each of these tricks requires the dancer to take her hands off the pole, which means she is hanging on with her legs only, so any extra skin grip is welcome. While performing a Crucifix Hold or Reverse Front Crucifix, extra grip can be sought by ensuring the stomach is against the pole, the Ballerina Hold requires a dancer to grip with a single knee, and press her armpit and side into the pole for extra security. Kind of hard to grip with the skin of your upper body if you're wearing a singlet or t-shirt.
So, now you understand why we don't like to wear too many clothes, the next thing I want to address is the perception that pole dancing is a form of adult entertainment performed by strippers in strip clubs and brothels. Well, I'm certainly not going to deny that pole dance is one of the many forms of entertainment used by professional strippers, but I'm certainly going to challenge the perception that there's something wrong with pole dance because of it.
Our society seems to enjoy demonising strippers, exotic dancers, sex-workers and others who make their living in the adult entertainment industry. There's nothing wrong with anyone who works in the adult entertainment industry or with any of the methods they employ to satisfy their customers. A stripper who uses a pole in her routine is going to have to train just as hard as a competitive pole dancer to be able to use the pole effectively, and not only does she have to create a routine and make it look attractive, she also has to do her tricks and moves while removing her clothes. That ain't an easy thing to do! It's hard enough doing tricks and moves when the only thing you have to worry about is whether you hands are in the right place, let alone thinking about how you're going to take your top off at just the right moment. There's a whole lot more to it than wiggling your bum and running your hand suggestively down your leg in front of an audience.
Yes, I know the adult entertainment industry is rife with exploitation and those (mainly women) who work in it are at a high risk of sexual and physical violence, but that comes from a lack of regulation, social prejudices, rape culture and moral judgement, not because the industry as a whole or those who work in it are broken, dirty, desperate or in some other way less-deserving of humanity, decency and a safe workplace. Poles and pole dancing is used in the adult entertainment industry, but any stripper or exotic dancer who uses a pole is just as much an athlete as a competitive dancer, she simply uses her skills in a different way and in a different environment. It's her job, and those who work freely in the adult entertainment industry do it for exactly the same reason you got to work: for money. Some of them probably love their job, some of them will hate it, some of them will look at it in the mundane way you look at doing the daily grind in the office. It's a job and it's time for society to get off its moral high horse and acknowledge that simple fact.
Now that that's over and you know that pole dancing can be performed by anyone, not just strippers, and that there's nothing wrong with stripping while pole dancing in the first place, there's one more thing I want to tell you about.
There's actually no hard and fast rules about wearing high heels in pole. Some dancers do, some dancers don't, and each individual competition will have their own requirements about wearing heels. As any person who has worn heels will tell you, they make your legs look excellent, and given how much of a pole dancer's leg is on display, assuming she's dancing in pole shorts, it makes sense for her to milk it for all it's worth and show off her pins. As for why they're so high, again, there's no rules, but it's super fun and it's certainly a hell of a lot easier (and much less painful) to climb and grip with your feet when you're wearing shoes than skinning the top of your foot each and every time it touches the pole! Although, that said, it is advisable to take your heels off when first learning upside down tricks, as they do add extra weight and flipping upside down for the first time is scary AF and hard enough without the added burden of heels. Keep them for when you're confident going upside down.
In summary: pole dancing is a sport; like any sport it requires perseverance and dedication to progress. Like many sports, it also requires special types of clothing to be able to participate fully and safely. But it is also dance, and a way for a dancer to express herself, share her skills or compete in a competition, whether it is in front of an audience or not.
So that is pole dance... and now I'm off to go and practice some Ballerina Holds.
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.