Pole dance is a form of performance art, historically associated with strip clubs and dance clubs, which combines dance and acrobatics centered around a vertical pole. This art form has recently gained popularity as a form of fitness and mainstream entertainment, practised by many enthusiasts in gyms and in dedicated dance studios. A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world.
Since the mid 2000s, promoters of pole dance fitness competitions have been trying to change peoples’ perception of pole dance and to promote it as a non-sexual form of dance and acrobatics. Pole dance has furthermore been influenced by Chinese pole, a form of acrobatics that is most notably performed in circus. Competitive pole dance competitions are by and large performed in a non-prurient fashion which combines a range of dance styles and/or gymnastics.
Pole dance requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance. In a commercial pseudo-erotic setting, however, pole dance is often performed less gymnastically and is used more as a prop in striptease, go-go or lap dancing, with the performer simply holding the pole or moving around it without performing acrobatics. Pole dance proper involves athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions using the limbs to grip. Upper body and core strength are required to attain proficiency, and rigorous training is necessary.