Pole dancing- sexual, sleazy and part of the sex trade or a skillful art form?
In the past two years pole dancing has burst onto the scene as the 21st century version of the gym. Women take to the pole for a work out burning 250 calories per session and also building and toning muscles. However, it is undeniable that along with pole dancing comes the stigma that is attached- strippers and the sex trade.
Harriet, 17 loves to pole dance as a form of fitness. She said, “I started pole dancing 18 months ago because I wanted to find an alternative form of fitness in stead of going to the gym and being bored. I would definitely say that pole dancing is a skill but it also makes me feel good about myself- I feel empowered after leaving my class.”
Stacey, 23 runs a pole dancing class in Walkely, Sheffield and she sees women aged from 15 to mid 30’s take up the fitness. More surprisingly, Stacey runs a male pole dancing class. Stacey added, “I have a class of 5 males that come aged between 14 and 65. They have a massive advantage because they have a lot of core strength. Once they get it out of their head that it’s for women they are really good.”
Although pole dancing is a skill it is not yet classed as an Olympic sport but Stacey is forever hopeful. “I definitely think that it should be a sport. It takes a lot of dedication to progress yourself.”
None of Stacey’s pupils have used their pole dancing skills to make money.Stacey said, “When people try and class pole dancing as part of the sex trade I do tend to fight my corner. Pole dancing is nothing like lap dancing, it’s not just grinding on a pole and getting naked. We work very hard, it takes a lot of will power and stamina to learn balance and strengthen your core.”
To test out just how much of a skill pole dancing really is I went along to Stacey’s class. It was safe to say that my efforts were pretty poor but I was getting into my stride as the class was ending and I definitely felt like I had done a good work out- muscles I have never used before were aching.
Fellow Sheffield Viber, Jake came along to record my efforts.
Jake said, “I definitely agree that pole dancing is a fitness- I was itching to see if I could lift myself up. However, from a male perspective it was very easy to see where the stigma of pole dancing comes from when surrounded by a room full of women dressed in tiny shorts. I think to class pole dancing as part of the sex trade undermines the women who take it up as a fitness. But saying that I wouldn’t mind my girlfriend taking it up!”