Pole dancing reclaims sexual power

Wendy Medina,
Copy Editor

I never thought I’d have a stripper pole in my apartment, but every time I walk in, there it is, in all its lustrous magnificence. My roommate Porsha had been raving about it but I didn’t think she’d really get it until I saw it glistening off-center of the living room. She initially wanted a pole because dancing on it looked fun, then she read about how good an exercise it was, but ultimately because she wants to work at a strip club.

The “Affordable No Brand Dance Pole” was manually installed and stands sturdy, enticing anyone who sees it to dance on it. Made of chrome metal, the pole comes in two modes: static, which remains still, and spinning mode. Static mode is clearly the easier one, as it’s not moving while trying to pull yourself up.[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#6d0054″]Once she started, she made the perfect amount of spins and flips, with grace and sex appeal[/mks_pullquote]

Porsha, who’s only had it about a month can already spin while doing poses, drops, transitions, inverts; it’s really incredible how much can be learned by letting loose and dancing on it.

“Once you touch it, you’ll get the feel of it,” she said. “You’ll lose all your fear. The best way to tackle it is jumping on to try to climb it.”

Upper body strength is definitely required to climb it and spin. The pole is simultaneously an art and a rigorous workout. Though derogatorily associated with strippers, this form of exercise is becoming less and less taboo with society. Many women and men who participate in strip-pole-dancing can agree it’s undoubtedly a workout, a getaway and a release in the same way yoga is to others; however, bruises are standard for getting on the pole.

This type of pole is professional-grade enough to be used in some strip clubs. There are poles with different finishes and features that better suit difficulty, but the best kind are X-Poles, which are the legit exotic dancer poles you would find in a high-end club.

The assembly of it took about 30 minutes and Porsha told me about the process of putting it together. With the help of a stud finder, she located a beam or base inside the wall or ceiling. The pole needed to hold onto a foundation so it won’t collapse on itself since it’s meant to hold over 400 pounds.[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#6d0054″]Upper body strength is key[/mks_pullquote]

There are two bases and two pieces of the actual pole. To adjust the length, just twist it like shower curtain rods and secure the pieces with one another and the ceiling. Though it sounds simple to do, this isn’t one of the cheap hazard-ridden poles with plastic parts that are most likely to result in injury — all parts are metal and screwed on.

My roommates and I blasted old school R&B music to set the ambiance and wipe down the pole; your hands have to be absolutely dry for a better grip. As soon as everything is set and ready, we stared in awe and waited for what Porsha has to show us. Once she started, she made the perfect amount of spins and flips, with grace and sex appeal, all learned through YouTube.com videos, winging it and practice.

Of course my roommates and I took turns, tried to mimic her and were surprised when we actually got a few spins in, but this really takes dedication if you want to look good doing it. Upper body strength is key.

It’s empowering dancing on a pole because you’re expressing, experiencing and using your body in new ways, it’s exhilarating to want to keep trying. It mesmerizes everyone to get on and after a few minutes you’ll definitely break a sweat; it is seriously a workout. Falling off is not that bad either.

Instead of going to the gym like everyone else, doing the same boring routine on a machine for hours, working out on the pole at home is certainly challenging while actually having fun. A definite thought I had while trying it was, “Wow, I actually did this,” which thrilled me into jumping on it again.

According to the Huffington Post, “the rapidly growing number of international and national federations [are] transforming what was once the exclusive property of strip clubs and cheap bars into a respectable — and highly athletic — event.” Accumulating interest is apparent in popularity of pole dancing classes and now matter-of-factly attitude towards the sport.

A true devotee of the pole, Porsha expressed that feeling sexy creates empowerment, to be comfortable in one’s own skin. That’s a major detail she appreciates: the building up of strength and confidence by simply using allure and a pole. Besides reclaiming sexual power, it refines posture, flexibility, toning — combining serious routines — and it’s not restricted to any age group or gender; anyone can take it up, if they’re down.

“The pole is for whatever you use it for,” Porsha said. “The least of the people who actually use the pole are strippers because they don’t have the upper body strength; most simply dance around it.” She on the other hand, wants to make a profession of it, so she’s working her way to perfect legitimate moves and further pursue exotic dancing instead of just floorwork, which is the usual dancing strippers do.

Photo by Wendy Medina/The Pioneer
Photo by Wendy Medina/The Pioneer

In an ABC News article crowning the best pole dancer in the world, “The founder of the International Pole Dance Fitness Association says her organization is in talks with the International Olympic Committee to make pole-dancing a ‘test’ sport, as ‘aerial arts’ grows in popularity around the world.” This type of fitness is even trying to move on to the Olympic level.

Pole dancing has so many rewarding aspects to it and not just the “sleazy” reputation it’s attained. It’s a sport that’s breaking stereotypes, becoming a mainstream fitness hobby and it doesn’t hurt to make some money from it as well.