Pole Sports: The Great Debate Continues…

Hey everyone. I hope you had a good weekend. I did a 10k hill run in Durham on Saturday, which was hard, and then I had my first pole lesson in about 8 months yesterday!!


This year, I haven’t had any time to train pole myself. And when I have trained, I’ve looked like a little fish that’s out of water, flopping around all over the place as my guns skinny arms let me down. These bad boys have shrank!


So, sadly, I’ve stepped back from teaching, and yesterday – with all the nervousness of a new girl at school – I once more became the student in the hope of actually progressing. After all that hard work last year on my splits, I’m still where I was on January 1st! Don’t worry though, the splits won’t dominate this blog like they did this time last year. I’d feel like a fraud. Although I could just recycle all last year’s posts…


My teacher and I looked at some moves that were new for me, and worked out what the focus areas will be moving forward. There’ll be more strength training, more back and shoulder flexibility, and more ab work. My shoulders are sore today, but that’s only a good sign (I tell myself, as I grimace just trying to bring my coffee cup to my lips).



And, if it wasn’t the biggest coincidence, when I was eating my recovery chocolate (an absolute must in my book), I read this article: Pole Dancing: Olympic sport or strip-club sleaze? . The basic arguments are:

  • This journo went to the World Pole Sports Championships with a number of preconceptions, including doubt as to whether it could be a sport
  • She found out that she was wrong

Ok, I admit, that’s a pretty basic summary….


What she discovered was that the world of pole is dominated by supportive women, not the ‘dirty mac brigade’. She learned that it was in the same family as gymnastics, but was less dangerous as the pole itself supports you (says a mother of a 13 year old competitor), and that it’s easier to actually do because you don’t need as much room. This skeptical journo closed the article on a positive note, and wondered if ‘anything could get (her) flying like a human flag’. And everyone was happy.

pole sport


What the article doesn’t do is apologise for the sport, or it’s background: the competitor she speaks with credit strippers for helping make today’s incarnation what it is, and in fact one girl believes that it’s empowering to have taken pole dance out of the strip clubs and developed it into a competitive sport.


I don’t want every post I write on this to have a slightly defensive tone, but when I write them, I can’t help it. Sorry guys! I am working to remove this huge chip from my shoulder. In August I wrote about pole dance vs pole fit, and said that as long as UK pole has a conservative view towards the sexier element of the sport, I would prefer the Aussie way (which is all sexiness). However, this article today pointed out that if it wants to be taken seriously as a sport, it needs to set certain limits. And apparently these limits lie with cleavage and actually taking clothes off on stage.


I can understand this. To conquer people’s preconceptions, the sport must be seen to differentiate itself from ‘titillation’. Even though the journo closes the article more positively, she still litters the article with phrases like ‘gyrating on a pole’ (twice) and ‘grinding prop’, when her quotes from the performers themselves make pains to show how the sport has actually progressed. Which proves the whole point.


So…. I guess I’m backtracking a little from my stance in August. While it’s not my personal preference, I do admire what these people are trying to do: bring down the conceptual barriers surrounding the sport, and which stop people from seeing it for what it actually is. If you see two people doing the same dance – but one is in a sports crop top and pants, and the other is in a glittery bikini – I wonder how your interpretations would differ. These little things do matter if it is to be taken seriously, even if they do eliminate a certain kind of art from the whole proceedings.


Although I can’t back track 100%:  it’s still not my personal preference to have such strict guidelines on what’s acceptable and what’s not, because if taken too far, I think they could actually bolster the same prejudices they’re trying to break down. I don’t mean to back track from my back track, but hey, I write these posts and so I can do that, people!!


The Winners of the NSW Heat for Miss Pole Dance Australia

The Winners of the NSW Heat for Miss Pole Dance Australia

And, for panache, extravagance and outrageous costumes, well thankfully we have the Aussies for that!! They  have just had their Miss Pole Dance Australia championships, with bikinis, cleavage and stilettos galore!! Thank God for the Aussies, who dance and strut and are proud. Aussie Aussie Aussie!


Ellie B