History of Pole Dancing – What is the purpose of pole dancing?

History of Pole Dancing

Uncover the rich history of pole dancing, tracing its roots to ancient cultures and exploring its evolution into a dynamic and empowering art form.

For centuries, pole dancing has been regarded as a sport, art form, fitness exercise, and erotica. Its roots are believed to trace back to India and China.

Pole dancing has undergone significant evolution over the years. Nowadays, pole dancing classes are available in all major cities and have become increasingly popular.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide now engage in pole dancing as a hobby. Let’s explore the long-standing history of pole dancing and its origins.

What is the purpose of pole dancing?

Pole dancing is an excellent exercise that builds strength and flexibility as you learn daring and beautiful moves.

It can be used for personal health, self-expression, and creativity.

The purpose of pole dancing is to challenge yourself by learning new movements, build confidence by gaining physical strength, and explore your body’s potential through creative expression.

It also provides a sense of community between those who practice the art. Pole dancing is a great way to express yourself while getting fit!

Why do girls like to pole dance?

Pole dancing has become an increasingly popular exercise and self-expression among women.

It provides a unique combination of strength, flexibility, coordination, and confidence that sets it apart from traditional workouts.

Girls are drawn to pole dancing because it’s a fun activity that allows them to express themselves through creative movement and physicality.

In addition to being a great workout, pole dancing can be an empowering experience for girls as they learn new skills, embrace their femininity, build trust in themselves, and gain greater body awareness.

Not only this but it can also be a great way to make friends with other like-minded people who share similar interests!

Why do men pole dance?

Men pole dance for many reasons, from physical fitness to personal expression.

It’s a fun and challenging way to build strength, improve flexibility and cardiovascular health, and a great form of self-expression.

Men who pole dance can take pride in their dedication and technical skill.

The desire to perform amazing feats of physical agility like difficult spins and climbs is also a motivating factor for many male pole dancers.

Some men pole dance simply because it’s enjoyable. It’s an uplifting way to express themselves that makes them feel empowered.

Where Did Pole Dancing Originate From?

The sport of using poles originated in India about 800 years ago, where poles were first used in acrobatic performances.

In China during the 12th century, acrobatic dancers performed on poles for the Chinese emperor. During the same time period in Europe, people danced around poles during pagan festivals.

In the United States, pole dancing made its way in the late 19th and early 20th century, where sensual dances were performed on wooden tent poles in traveling shows.

It continued to gain popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, often performed in strip clubs.

However, in the 1990s, pole dancing began to be used as a form of exercise, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these timelines.

1. Mallakhamb (India) – 12th Century

Mallakhamb is a traditional sport in India that uses a wooden stick.

Male athletes perform acrobatic and yoga-inspired moves on a bar, requiring a great deal of strength, agility, and stamina.

The poles used in Mallakhamb are more comprehensive and made of wood, in contrast to modern dancing poles.

2. Chinese Pole (China) – 12th Century

Performers using Chinese Pole poles can complete their routines while remaining fully clothed, thanks to the silicone or powder-coated material used.

3. Maypole Fertility Dance (Europe) – 12th Century

The Maypole dance has its roots in a Pagan fertility celebration and was traditionally performed by women.

They would tie ribbons to the top of a tall pole and dance around it in circular motions, winding the ribbons around the pole.

The dance would then continue with the dancers retracing their steps to unwind the ribbons.

4. Hoochie Coochie Circus Sideshow Dancers (USA) – The 90s

During the 1930s and 1940s, performers of Middle Eastern or Eastern European heritage showcased sideshows such as “Hoochie Coochie” and “Little Egypt” through dance.

The Gypsies then took the dance style and added their own flair by performing tricks such as spinning around the pole and executing feats while descending from the central pole.

This dance style quickly became commonly referred to as sexually suggestive, belly dance-style dancing.

5. Modern Pole Dancing

Modern pole dancing is an art form combining dance, athletics, and body-positive expression.

It combines elements of movement such as climbing, spinning, and inverting on a vertical pole to create unique choreography.

Emphasizing strength and confidence, modern pole dancing is empowering for many who practice it.

With its focus on physical strength and creative self-expression, modern pole dancing has quickly become a popular fitness choice worldwide.

Practitioners learn more than just how to move, in addition to improving their physical health, they build self-esteem through working hard and challenging themselves.

With its blend of body positivity and athleticism, modern pole dancing is an incredible way to express yourself while gaining physical strength.

Types of Modern Pole Dancing

Pole dancing has become increasingly popular in recent times, with both men and women around the world enjoying its remarkable benefits.

This form of dance evolved from ballet, modern dance, and gymnastics, resulting in various styles that performers can choose from based on their athletic or dance background.

There are three main types of pole dancing, each with its unique style, and performers tend to gravitate towards one that suits their preferences and skills.

1. Fitness/ Sports

The focus is on physical strength, technical challenges, and drilling to create choreographies emphasizing acrobatics while minimizing dance techniques.

2. Exotic/seductive

Exotic or seductive pole dancing is a more sensual approach to the art form, emphasizing flexibility.

Dancers wear high heels and more exposing clothing than other forms of pole dancing, but it’s important to remember that this style should not be confused with strip performances.

Those who choose to learn this style of pole dancing shouldn’t be discouraged by preconceived conceptions about exotic pole dancing.

3. Artistic

Pole dancing as an art form primarily emphasizes movement and music.

Dancers must be creative in designing a story and portraying a character, thus highlighting dance and expressiveness rather than acrobatics.

Will pole dancing be in the Olympics?

This is a hotly debated topic and one that has divided opinion.

On one side of the debate, those who think it is a legitimate sport argue that it should qualify to be included in the Olympic Games.

They point out the physical strength and stamina required to perform various tricks and maneuvers, as well as the artistic expression that goes into presenting an impressive routine.

Others, however, view pole dancing as another form of entertainment rather than a sport worthy of inclusion in the Olympics.

In short, only time will tell whether it will ever enter this prestigious international stage.


Pole dancing has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and continues to evolve today.

From its origins in India and Egypt to its modern-day use in strip clubs and fitness studios, this dance form has come a long way.

Whether you’re interested in discovering the past or learning it as a hobby today, pole dancing is an impressive skill that can be enjoyed for any occasion.

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