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Pole Dancing Dance Off
September 23, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe


 
I can't express how much this convinces me that we've passed the IDIOCRACY inflection point.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:52 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Chinese and Indian gymnastics stuff is actually pretty impressive.

(The stripper lessons, not as much.)
posted by rokusan at 1:56 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Co-ed", to me, indicates the presence of pole dancing dudes. Lack of said dudes constitutes false advertising! Though I will admit my indignation probably is disappointment in disguise.

Also - is there anything that Americans won't turn into a competition?
posted by helmutdog at 1:57 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also - is there anything that Americans won't turn into a competition?

This wasn't American.
posted by kenko at 1:59 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


is there anything that Americans won't turn into a competition

We're number 1!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:00 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't it be in Poland?
posted by kmz at 2:00 PM on September 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holy crap, they are seriously strong. And from the looks of things, having fun, too.
posted by Forktine at 2:00 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone once tried to tell me that pole-dancing classes were 'liberating' for women as they take something that is degrading to women (dancing naked on a pole for money) and makes it 'theirs'.

Well, it can be 'theirs' and still degrading to women. It can be 'theirs' and still something that men will drool over, only for free at the gym instead of in a seedy bar.

Idiocracy inflection point, indeed.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:02 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think a pole has an inflection point.
posted by found missing at 2:05 PM on September 23, 2011


I don't think a pole has an inflection point.

I think it's any given point on the pole that's intersected by the va-jay-jay.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:08 PM on September 23, 2011


Not infection point. Inlection point.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:11 PM on September 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


To summarize:

Horizontal pole -> gymnast
Vertical pole -> not gymnast
Diagnol pole -> back injury
posted by Zed at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Have a hard time seeing how anything that takes such strength, stamina, and skill can be described as idiotic.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:19 PM on September 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Well, it can be 'theirs' and still degrading to women. It can be 'theirs' and still something that men will drool over, only for free at the gym instead of in a seedy bar.

I disagree with you pretty strongly. I have some friends who've taken some poledancing classes; one of them was so into it that she installed a pole in her apartment and hosted parties where they'd all get together and practice (and holy crap, the stuff they can do takes some serious athleticism). If men are drooling over it at the gym, then what's degrading to women is the men's behavior, not the women's.
posted by Vibrissa at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


DEAD EYES
posted by gwint at 2:23 PM on September 23, 2011


If men are drooling over it at the gym, then what's degrading to women is the men's behavior, not the women's.

Umm no. That's degrading to us men...although we do our best not to stare with our mouths open.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2011


Men will drool over anything. Shouldn't stop them from doing what they want to do.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2011


Not getting the dismissiveness here. These women are hardcore. It takes incredible core, thigh and arm strength to pull off those moves.

The skimpy outfits, in this context, aren't to titillate - they maximize the area of grip (ie, skin) you can use to stay on the bar.

If they rolled around in gymnastic chalk first, would that make it seem more legitimately athletic to you?
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 2:31 PM on September 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


DEAD EYES

59 60 59 59 60 60 59 60 59 58 59 60.
posted by odinsdream at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything degrading about it.
posted by perhapses at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, it can be 'theirs' and still degrading to women. It can be 'theirs' and still something that men will drool over, only for free at the gym instead of in a seedy bar.

What a strangely regressive thing to say. You know better than women which exercises they should enjoy?
posted by auto-correct at 3:11 PM on September 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


When does this become an Olympic event?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:44 PM on September 23, 2011


I remember how frustrating it was when my kids got old enough to beat me at Pole Position.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:49 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those women in the pole dancing video are super strong. Holy crap.
posted by wuwei at 4:02 PM on September 23, 2011


Note: if you have adblock enabled, no video visible (totally confused me for a minute there).

Men will also drool over women in tight shorts running on the treadmill. Doesn't mean they shouldn't run on the treadmill.
posted by antifuse at 5:09 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh my God, a dance associated with sex work and the lower classes is being appropriated by middle class people and made respectable! This unprecedented event, nothing like which has ever happened in the entire history of the arts, is indicative of our culture's unique state of decline! Quick everyone, let's all have a moral panic!
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:09 PM on September 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


Oh my God, a dance associated with sex work and the lower classes

You've evidently never heard of a strip club that caters to businessmen and execs, have you?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My extremely delicate sensibilities are shocked by the possibility, but I suppose I'll take your word for it. If such a thing were true, it would almost be as if there were some sort of class disparity between the dancers and their clients.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:35 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a pole is just a pole, and not a prole. Class has nothing to do with it.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:19 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I clicked this and it dropped a "likes this link" post in my facebook page, so watch it.
posted by spinn at 6:27 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



Pole dancing and Cirque de soleil. Art or trashy idiotic nonsense ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:52 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


All things considered, I'm more concerned about MetaFilter linking to a website with the idiotic name of "COED Magazine".
posted by KokuRyu at 7:13 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You've evidently never heard of a strip club that caters to businessmen and execs, have you?

I think the point here is 'caters to'. The businessmen and execs aren't dancing on the pole for dollars stuffed in their g-strings, sadly.

I'd definitely go to a strip club that featured this though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:59 PM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know a few women who've taken poledancing classes - without exception they all LOVED it. At least one has since gotten a pole for home, continues to work out on it, presumably dances for her partner, and has her friends come around an workout on it too.

When it's done well it is an incredible feat of athleticism, when it's done naked it is still the feat of athleticism and also sexy - so what?
posted by sycophant at 2:20 AM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend had a girls' night at a studio that does pole dancing. So after watching the instructor (who does work as a stripper) turn herself upside down and what not on the pole, we all tried to do a simple spin. Holy crap was it hard. But it was a lot fun. So if I had any aspirations to athleticism, I could totally see myself taking some classes.
posted by bluesapphires at 7:01 AM on September 24, 2011


I think the point here is 'caters to'. The businessmen and execs aren't dancing on the pole for dollars stuffed in their g-strings, sadly.

I'd definitely go to a strip club that featured this though.


My point was that stripping or pole-dancing is not some sort of entertainment enjoyed by "the working class" that is now being appropriated by "the middle class." Men of every socio-economic background go out to watch this.

If you've never been to a strip club that features this, you're not missing much. The videos linked by the OP are far more "sex positive" and entertaining.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:02 AM on September 24, 2011


Yes. A businessman could always go to a strip club without breaking class - in fact, in some fields, it was and is practically de rigueur to do so. That is not what is changing; the difference that is provoking such anxiety is in the class implications for the performer.

The idea of a hypothetical sales executive in 1980 going to a strip club is unremarkable, the idea of his wife taking up pole dancing then would have been incredibly scandalous. That this too is becoming acceptable is what is prompting all of this hand-wringing about Idiocracy and degradation.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:39 AM on September 24, 2011


Sex degrades women! Don't let them do anything sexy! Even if they want to!
posted by wrok at 11:20 AM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The idea of a hypothetical sales executive in 1980 going to a strip club is unremarkable, the idea of his wife taking up pole dancing then would have been incredibly scandalous. That this too is becoming acceptable is what is prompting all of this hand-wringing about Idiocracy and degradation.

Speaking as a North American (and the son of a plumber), even the entire idea of "class" seems like such a red herring in this discussion. Until the last 4 or 5 years or so, one of the great things about living in North America was the idea that upward social mobility was entirely unremarkable. Of course, I'm speaking as a Canadian, and not as an American...
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 AM on September 24, 2011


It drives me nuts that being politically correct involves kowtowing to the over-sexualization to women. To those of you whose women friends love it: I'm sure they do. I'm sure that even if they never show off their skills, just saying that they do it gets them very positive attention. And did no one bother to read the intro?

"The two women, Ooana Kivela (winner of one Pole World Cup) and Grazzy Brugner (Miss Pole Dance Brazil World) are pretty good at dry humping a pole eight feet high what they do. I’m not going to lie, one of them is much better looking than the other but you have to watch to find out which one I’m talking about. If you have a special lady friend, you really should consider buying her some lessons in this very special art form – just sayin’."

How creepy is that? You really think that's awesome? Whatever. I'm glad I'm not so open-minded my brains fall out of my vagina.
posted by thelastcamel at 2:32 PM on September 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I really should have bolded the words dry humping in that last quote. There's a reason recreational poledancing has become more popular than recreational soccer, and it ain't personal satisfaction.
posted by thelastcamel at 2:33 PM on September 24, 2011


My point was that stripping or pole-dancing is not some sort of entertainment enjoyed by "the working class" that is now being appropriated by "the middle class." Men of every socio-economic background go out to watch this.

I read that as a sarcastic comment. I didn't think the poster was really concerned about a working class pastime being appropriated by the well-to-do, but was simply commenting on the tendency to commoditize and sell back something that, historically, poor women have made a living at, performing for men with large amounts of disposable income.

I haven't got a dog in this particular pole dance though. I'm just pointing out how I interpreted strangely stunted trees initial comment.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:22 PM on September 24, 2011


I was hoping the comments in this thread wouldn't take the general direction they have, but I guess I couldn't expect much given the awful writing/framing in the first link.

I used to train in pole-dancing. I really loved it. The schools I attended were female-only schools. (Never danced for any male audience.) I really dislike how pole-dancing has a very sexualized stigma. It isn't necessarily sexual or suggestive, unless you see sports and physical activities like gymnastics as sexually suggestive. At my first school, we did not wear 'stripper shoes', and the teachers emphasized technique, safety and grace (pointed feet, good posture, etc) rather than attempting to be 'raunchy' etc. I know that some pole schools do market themselves with a more sexualized "stripper"-y image, but obviously not all pole schools are the same.

The attire at my school was a sleeveless top and shorts for the beginner to mid-intermediate classes, and as we progressed to learning inverts (i.e. the tricks that involve hanging from the pole) at higher levels we either wore cropped tops or rolled up our tops (baring the midriff) to execute the tricks. This was not to look 'sexy'. The demon that lives in the air has it right. We needed bare skin to grip the pole. When you learn spins at the beginner levels, the grips you use mostly involve your hands and legs, but when you progress to inverts, you need your midriff for grip as well.
(This is one of the reasons why I don't like the idea of dancing in heels/shoes - I've seen people attempt to use their shoes as grips when not taught precise gripping technique... it seems dangerous and puts strain on their ankles that should not be there, I think.)

As some others have mentioned, pole-dancing builds and requires a TON of core strength. Different forms/techniques build different muscles - I used to be able to roughly tell what sort of general technique and training a pole-dancer had looking at his/her physical form/build. People that wound up looking more bodybuilder-ish with more bulging muscles tended to rely on brute strength over more precise placement/angling, and people that looked more slender with lots of lean muscles tended to favor the reverse.

I eventually stopped pole-ing for two main reasons: I moved and couldn't find a good pole teacher that had the standards of technique and attention to detail I wanted. (I figured it was better to stop learning than to learn the wrong habits.) And I didn't like the way people tend to stereotype or presume stuff about pole-dancing, or people who pole-dance. I became very reluctant to mention that I was learning pole-dancing, because I was tired of having to explain how pole-dancing isn't necessarily what people think it is. How it involves a tremendous amount of skill and discipline to really master, especially at the advanced levels. How it can be as sexual or non-sexual as you want it to be. How you can enjoy it the same way you enjoyed cartwheeling as a kid - the thrill of spinning around or hanging upside down, the satisfaction you get when you finally pull off that invert or spin that you've been practicing for weeks (when it all just 'clicks'). How you can make it as nerdy as you want when you research and learn about technique and the physics involved. How it is possible to appreciate pole-dancing as a really cool bunch of stunts (e.g. Pantera's ceiling walk! (start at 2:15), the death-lay (start at 4:45)) or as a danceform (which can span or reference a variety of different dance genres) or as a fitness workout - or a combination of all that.

thelastcamel said "It drives me nuts that being politically correct involves kowtowing to the over-sexualization to women. To those of you whose women friends love it: I'm sure they do. I'm sure that even if they never show off their skills, just saying that they do it gets them very positive attention."
In my personal experience, I would say I've had the opposite experience. Like I said, I was very, very hesitant to mention that I was learning pole-dancing because I did not want people to have an overly-sexualized impression of me. And I would NOT call the responses I had (during the few times I mentioned learning pole-dancing) "very positive attention". (I was more comfortable telling female friends about it, and generally referred to it as 'dance class' unless asked for details.) Attention that objectifies someone sexually isn't really positive attention. I currently learn martial arts, and I relish the mental freedom of being able to talk about how I enjoy my martial arts classes and my martial arts progress without feeling as if people might be viewing me as more of a sexual object than a person.

tldr; The "strip club" form/style of pole-dancing is one well-known style and in some sense the original style, but not the only style out there now. I'm not saying that pole-dancing isn't or can't be sexualized, but I think it can take a variety of forms, some of which aren't necessarily sexually suggestive.

(Also - pole-dancing is not just for females of course; there are some very, very good male pole-dancers out there. I've heard that men find it relatively easier to learn and execute pole tricks because they tend to have better core strength than women.)
posted by aielen at 6:47 PM on September 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


Although aielen has already laid it out, as someone who's taking pole dance classes, I'll second that I do not throw it out for attention. Rather, I usually refer to it generically as a "dance class" instead, in order to avoid drawing unwarrented and inappropriate attention. At the studio where I'm learning, we do wear the very high heeled shoes (and when you can balance while wearing 6 inch platforms, you can balance on anything less than that!), but other than that, there isn't too much in common with what you see at a strip club. (Out of curiosity, I made my boyfriend take me to one last fall so I could compare. The dancers there did only two spins that I recognized from my classes, and spent way more time on the floor than any competitive routine or class.)

I've stepped back a bit from it, primarily because I've reached the level where classes aren't offered as frequently as the lower levels, but I've noticed a huge increase in my core strength and upper body strength, and in particular my arms and forearms. As someone who's a good foot and half taller and 15 to 20 lbs heavier than most of my classmates, it took me sometime to be able to do many of the inversions, and I think it's justified to be proud of that in a purely athletic way. I'm planning on taking acrobatic lessons next summer with the travelling circus school and I'm pretty sure that the pole dance background will help me a lot there, too.
posted by Kurichina at 3:19 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


How creepy is that? You really think that's awesome?

Is *anybody* excusing (or surprised by) that kind of commentary coming from the editors of a website called "Coed Magazine"? Seems to me that people in here are defending pole dancing itself. An unfortunate side effect of the awesomeness of kickass pole dancers (and its association with strip clubs) is that fratboy wanksites like Coed Magazine will also appreciate it and make sarcastic misogynistic comments about it. I mean, look at the rest of that site, are you really surprised?
posted by antifuse at 6:53 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


thelastcamel: "I'm glad I'm not so open-minded my brains fall out of my vagina."

Metafilter: So open-minded our brains fell out of our vaginas.
posted by falameufilho at 8:58 PM on September 28, 2011


aielen: "I really dislike how pole-dancing has a very sexualized stigma."

I totally agree! It's a disgusting stigma, specially considering pole-dancing was invented by Discalced Carmelites in medieval Spain.
posted by falameufilho at 9:02 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


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