Pole Dancing: No Longer A Stereotype

Discover the Culture, Discover the Sport

Photograph taken at the Pennsylvania Pole Academy on Monday, March 7th. Academy Merchandise and Advertisement. An array of workout clothing and gear (in all sizes), several students love their genuine brand.

Pole dancing has a connotation of being associated with strippers and exotic dancing. It is assumed that in order to be a pole dancer, you must be a stripper who abuses her body to get easy money from men. Whenever someone mentions pole dancing in a conversation, an air of disgust enters the atmosphere because pole dancing is widely considered a degrading activity with zero merits or effort. This could not be further from the truth. Pole dancing is a sport — one that requires and builds total-body strength and fitness. 

Put simply, pole dancing is an aerobic dance exercise that involves a vertical, metal pole. It mainly consists of climbing the pole using different grips, flips, kicks, turns, and lifts done around or on the pole. Beginner or master, in popular culture, only strippers pole dance regularly. However, pole dancing is a sport that anyone can partake in because it has numerous benefits, both physical and mental. Natasha Shaw, pole fitness instructor at Pennsylvania Pole Academy and current pole dancer, stated, “Most people assume I’ve worked in clubs or danced, but on the contrary, I came for pole fitness. We are training to be athletes”. Pole dancing is a well-rounded workout. It trains one’s entire body because it takes upper body strength to hold oneself on the pole and requires lower body strength to perform tricks. A typical pole dancing class consists of strength training, dance-based moves, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, yoga stretches, and pole work.

Shaw added that pole fitness strengthens and works “muscles you didn’t know you had”. Anyone and everyone can benefit from the total body workout that pole dancing provides. Physically, pole dancing increases one’s awareness of their own strength through core development and toning overall. Mentally, it is incredibly empowering to know you have the strength to hold yourself on a narrow metal pole; this builds self-confidence. Most modern pole dancers do so because it empowers them to express their femininity and strength in a beautiful dance form. These mental and physical benefits culminate over time to generally healthy well-being, including increased flexibility, increased strength, improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, boosted body confidence, reduced stress, and improved sleep. All of these positive outcomes associated with pole dancing prove that a sport that anybody can experience and enjoy.

Despite the positive community surrounding pole dancing, the stigma still stands. However, there is a way to stop pole dancing stereotypes; trying pole dancing! According to Shaw the best way to break the stigma and get into pole fitness is to “just come in, come to the door. Take the first step…It’s not as intimidating as you think it is. It’s something special”. Located in Doylestown, the Pennsylvania Pole Academy is the best place to learn about pole. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from beginner pole, pole dancing choreography, and various circus acrobats. According to the PA Pole Academy’s website, for the company and community, “pole dancing is not just a form of fitness, it is a way of life teaching us important lessons about empowerment, commitment, dedication, and family”. They encourage everyone to try a class and “see how Pole Fitness can help build strength, get toned, and gain flexibility”. For beginners or those insecure about their bodies, the academy instructors and fellow students are incredibly encouraging and supportive. Shaw furthered this by expressing, “We are working really hard to make an inclusive place to make people feel comfortable with their body, confidence, and sensuality. Create a sense of family. We open those doors to everyone”.

In addition to helping people of all backgrounds to gain strength in their bodies, PA Pole Academy strives to create a community where women, men, and nonbinary people can express themselves through dance and feel confident in themselves openly. First-time student, Alaina Barthold, expressed, “I was nervous because I thought it would be hard and I couldn’t do what others could do…but after the class, we stood outside the studio and talked about how much we enjoyed the class, the environment, and the people; we all really want to go a class again together and hope to soon!”

If you’re interested in pole fitness or just looking for a new exercise to enjoy, check out PA Pole Academy at their website, and see how much pole fitness benefits your well-being and overall health.