Artistic Pole Dancing: It’s Not Just for Women

And I am not referring to what can be found in the movie Magic Mike, starring Channing Tatum. I am referring to the performing art which is a combination of gymnastics and dance made even more difficult by the fact it is performed on a pole. Although pole dancing conjures up an image of seedy strip clubs, it is rapidly gaining traction as  a legitimate form of dance and acrobatics.

I first learned of artistic pole dancing a few months ago. My friend showed me a video of Jeanne Butterfly. I was VERY impressed but essentially went on with my life. Over the weekend I was browsing through different dance posts on WordPress and I found one that highlighted a pole dance competition between two professional dancers. Unlike the video I had seen before, this was raw improvisation. I wanted to see more and pretty soon I discovered this world of competitive pole dancing. I became enraptured by it.

For those of you who may be wondering what artistic pole dancing is, it is a mix of athleticism, ballet, acrobatics,  grace and strength. It is incredible to see how these dancers train their bodies to do gravity defying stunts. At points during the routine, they are completely horizontal and the only part of the body that is connected to the pole is their arms. Sometimes they perform moves when it’s only their legs or torso keeping them anchored.

It’s absolutely amazing and I couldn’t stop watching. When I clicked on a video and it turned out to be a male dancer, I was floored! It never crossed my mind that men also artistically pole danced. While they perform many of the same moves that the women do, it has a very different feeling. They tend to perform with raw emotion while women have very polished routines.

The following video is of the male winning performance at the 2012 Pole Art competition. It tells a story of pain, hope, and triumph. This routine is so beautiful I almost cried. His lines are gorgeous and his extensions make me hold my breath. The story line of overcoming mental instability gripped me from the moment he jumped onto the pole. The emotions are so raw and tangible I couldn’t pull my eyes away.

After watching these videos, I have become very motivated to working on my upper body strength and core. Maybe now when I am at the gym I will do that extra set of sit-ups or hold my plank a little longer. Maybe I will even attempt a pull-up. Maybe…. Enjoy!