Pole dancing is a form of dancing/gymnastics that takes muscular endurance and coordination as well as sensuality. For a video demonstaration, click on the image to the right.
It involves dancing sensually with a vertical pole and is often used in strip clubs and gentlemen's clubs, although more recently artistic pole dancing is used in cabaret and stage performance in a non-erotic environment. In a strip club setting, pole dancing is often performed less gymnastically and combined with striptease, and/or lap dancing between performers. The dancer(s) may simply hold the pole, or use it to perform more athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions.
Recently, pole dancing has caught on as a new and increasingly popular form of exercise, in which women (and sometimes men) use the pole as a workout prop. This form of exercise increases upper body strength (by using the body itself as resistance) while toning the body as a whole.
Although the most common pole dance competitions are still amateur nights at strip clubs, there is a growing community who are trying to get pole dancing taken seriously as a sport and art form.
The World Pole Sport Federation hosts the annual Miss Pole Dance World event which began August 29, 2003. This is a strictly non-nude, non-stripping event that highlights the athletic and artistic side of pole dancing without focusing on eroticism. Participants come from local pageants held in venues such as Australia, France, Canada and the Netherlands and the UK. More recently, amateur pole dance competitions have been held. As with Miss Pole Dance World, these are strictly non-nude and non-stripping, and focus on pole dance as an athletic and artistic form of dance and exercise.