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US Pole Dance Federation
April 20, 2009 11:11 AM   Subscribe

US Pole Dance Championships 2009 (no nudity, but possibly NSFW) It’s significant to understand that pole dancing is not stripping. This misconception prevents pole dancing from becoming something every woman should be able to enjoy. Pole dancing is a sensual athletic dance form that demands coordination, flexibility and physical strength. Like the Jane Fonda workout combined with Cirque du Soleil.
posted by ColdChef (52 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously.
posted by ColdChef at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2009


I have to say that's not at all what I was expecting to see. There's a lot less titillation and a lot more acrobatics in that video. While the performers are in teeny bikinis and Lucite pumps, they're simultaneously beefy, strong, and graceful. It's definitely not your average strip club performance.
posted by Never teh Bride at 11:18 AM on April 20, 2009


Not at all what I expected.
posted by not_on_display at 11:23 AM on April 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


If I saw those moves in a movie I would refuse to believe there were no wires involved.
posted by oddman at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2009


I have to admit, I've seen enough "pole dance fail" videos that that entire montage made me very nervous.
posted by piratebowling at 11:34 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Don't think of it as a 'strip club,' honey. It's more like the Jane Fonda workout combined with Cirque du Soleil."

Nope, that ain't gonna fly with the missus.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:36 AM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


It’s significant to understand that pole dancing is not stripping.

So we *can* have sex in the champagne room? Sweet.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:37 AM on April 20, 2009


It's definitely not your average strip club performance.

Obviously I couldn't speak to what the average might be, but I beg to differ from my anecdotal experience of clubs, at which women work this hard being sexy acrobats every night while stone cold naked for not enough applause, respect, or cash. It's cool that people are calling this a sport and differentiating it from stripping, but let's not rush to denigrate what strippers do in terms of its difficulty. As Wyclef says: "Just cuz she dances go-go, that dont mean she a ho, no."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:37 AM on April 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm guessing a few of the... athletes, I guess? Well, I'm thinking a few of them do this for a living as well. I would too if I was that good at it. And female. And attra.. you know I'm going to stop right here.
posted by Talanvor at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2009


This is mind-blowing. Thank you for a great 4/20 post.
posted by azarbayejani at 11:46 AM on April 20, 2009


I now have a new favourite sport.
posted by fistynuts at 11:47 AM on April 20, 2009


What's interesting is how non-sexy the video is.
posted by RussHy at 11:49 AM on April 20, 2009


...and now we know what happens to those teen gymnasts who get too, uh, *developed* to continue in gymnastics.

The women in the video have the kind of strength and body control that you usually only see in Olympians. I'm not particularly into the stripper-shoes-and-bikini part (although I can see how bare skin is necessary to grip the pole)...but these women are undoubtedly athletes in my mind.
posted by Monsters at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2009


What's the point of the faux-eroticism if this is mainly a kind of gymnastics or acrobatics? I may just be a "normal" when it comes to sex, but crossing those lines is just kind of awkward.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2009


Wow. Echoing those upthread, that is not at all what I expected to see. Color me impressed. There was one girl who scampered up the pole in apparent defiance of gravity, in those transparent "stripper" heels no less.
posted by msali at 12:05 PM on April 20, 2009


I suppose, if they let BMX riders into the Olympics...?

(Like Burhanistan, I find it crosses "awkward" lines, but I feel the same about synchro swimming.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2009


This looks very much like other sports-type stuff such as ribbon work and trapeze, except for the 5 inch plastic heels and stripper outfits.

I wonder if they wore leotards or something more mainstream in the acrobatic world (and went barefoot), they wouldn't have to say, "No really! I'm not a stripper." Just a thought. If one wishes to be taken seriously, there is always that superficial surefire: Dress the part.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went in expecting hubba hubba...and got holy crap those girls could kick my ass.
posted by ShawnString at 12:16 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have to say that's not at all what I was expecting to see. There's a lot less titillation and a lot more acrobatics in that video. While the performers are in teeny bikinis and Lucite pumps, they're simultaneously beefy, strong, and graceful. It's definitely not your average strip club performance.

I found the OP's link pretty erotic, certainly moreso than an act at an actual strip club or peeler bar, which is interesting for about the first two minutes, and then just becomes sleazy.

Nice find.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


This misconception prevents pole dancing from becoming something every woman should be able to enjoy.

Why wouldn't every woman be able to enjoy stripping if they wanted to? Certainly takes less upper body strength.
posted by tkchrist at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2009


Remember, though–these are the championships, not some gang of bush-league strivers. These women are the best of the best! They are the late-'90s NY Yankees of pole-dancing!

And wow, that is some serious core strength.
posted by Mister_A at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2009


When the poles are horizontal, it's gymnastics; when the poles are vertical, it's pornography.

I thought everyone knew this.
posted by yhbc at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


The last thing the world of athletics needs is another psuedo-sport with results that can only be determined by judges. I really do admire the athleticism on display here, but I'm kind of an absolutist when it comes to sports; if you can't measure the results objectively, it's not a sport, it's an athletic hobby. YMMV.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2009


The last thing the world of athletics needs is another psuedo-sport with results that can only be determined by judges.

So what you are saying is that it needs to be something quantifiable? Like a speed competition? Because that would actually be pretty awesome; a predefined routine, a pair of poles, two performers trying to see who can get through the intricacies of the set the fastest. A pole-dancing drag race if you will.

Hell, I'd watch that.
posted by quin at 12:54 PM on April 20, 2009


It’s significant to understand that pole dancing is not stripping. This misconception prevents pole dancing from becoming something every woman should be able to enjoy.

Well being hood-born, and wanting to be the next Richard Williams, I can tell you that I AM GOING TO GET A POLE FOR MY 8 AND 10 YEAR OLDS RIGHT NOW. It's a great workout, and really good for a young lady's image.
posted by Flex1970 at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2009


EPONY-UNCOMFORTABLE, FLEX1970
posted by Mister_A at 1:11 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's probably worth noting that ridiculous as it may seem, the 6 inch lucite heels do actually serve a purpose - apparently it's very difficult to do some of the initial turns and whatnot (pre-takeoff, so to speal) unless you're on your toes and don't have skin gripping at the floor.
posted by Jilder at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2009


It’s significant to understand that pole dancing is not stripping.

Perhaps it would be easier to understand this if the performers didn't wear stripper heels, tiny little stripper bikinis, and weren't often, you know, strippers.
posted by Justinian at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Back when I used to go to such clubs, I always found it kind of funny when strippers would begin their routine by thoroughly cleaning the pole. I know why they did it of course & I'm not begrudging them a clean workplace, it just makes for an odd visual.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2009


EPONY-UNCOMFORTABLE, FLEX1970

That went over my head. I wasn't trying to be didactic.
posted by Flex1970 at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2009


Before anyone objects to that, googling the 12 finalists reveals that a lot of them are... wait for it... exotic dancers.

this is my surprised face
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2009


So what?
posted by rocket88 at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2009


Um, I think we already have a winner.
posted by Zambrano at 1:39 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, I think we already have a winner.

Well, if you're going for actual perceived erotic value (perceived being the operative term here as I would imagine that the percentage of people here who find waif models erotic is rather low), then maybe. But that doesn't really seem to be at all what the thread is about.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2009


When the poles are horizontal, it's gymnastics; when the poles are vertical, it's pornography.

I thought it was decided that pornography is what other people enjoy, and gymnastics is what I enjoy.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's definitely not your average strip club performance.

True, but in the sense that most performers aren't doing things that athletic or intricate. Not true in the sense that it's not at all unusual to see moves that impressive. In the dozen or so trips I have made to nudie bars in my life there's always been at least one dancer doing a few moves that intense.
posted by phearlez at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2009


Narrow Gussets Invite Coarse Thoughts.

That's almost an anagram of Russian gymnasts 'Yelena Davydova & Natalia Shaposhnikova'.

(It isn't really).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2009


Mmmm gussets....
posted by Mister_A at 2:10 PM on April 20, 2009


I AM GOING TO GET A POLE FOR MY 8 AND 10 YEAR OLDS RIGHT NOW. It's a great workout, and really good for a young lady's image.

There are pole dancing classes for kids. Or you can get an at-home kit (already pulled from the market).

And I suppose they could have a fall-back career choice when they become adults.

(I'm joking! Buy them a bike and sign them up for programming classes.)
posted by eye of newt at 2:52 PM on April 20, 2009


Anyone who knows what the music is?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:11 PM on April 20, 2009


It's definitely not your average strip club performance.
posted by Never teh Bride


Well, then you're going to the wrong strip clubs. Now, I've only been to a few clubs myself, but as someone else already said, there's always a few performers that do very similar moves. Of course, they're also trying to collect money, so they don't stay on the pole like these dancers, but they certainly do some amazing things.

Of course, I'd like to be an enlightened male like others on here and say how "non-sexy" the video is, but I hate to lie.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 3:32 PM on April 20, 2009


So what?

So you aren't going to be able to divorce "pole dancing" from "stripping" when you wear a stripper outfit to do it and most of the participants are strippers or former strippers. I think the stigmatization of sex work in general and stripping in particular is unhealthy for society so, frankly, I'd rather they didn't try to divorce the two in the first place.

It's sort of like when a mainstream author writes a book which is clearly science fiction and then says, "no, no, no it may look like science fiction but really it isn't!".

Just own it already.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The reason they wear skimpy clothing is because skin helps you hold on to the pole better - cloth gets in the way. For competition/performance level it's not that different from rhythmic gymnastics or figure skating where there's a lot of emphasis on the costume - it's just that to take care of the "use-more-skin-for-grip" approach the costumes end up having to be pretty bikini-like. Here's an example of pole workout wear.

The people I do burlesque classes with also teach pole, and the director gets annoyed both at the people who go "OMG pole dancing is for STRIPPERS you whores there's no respect in it!" and those who go "NO It's just a FITNESS thing there's no stripper connotation whatsoever". She comes from a stripper background (now does burlesque and performance art pretty much fulltime) and her philosophy is that sure, it does have a connection to stripping and sex work, and that's not a bad thing - but nowadays different people do it for different reasons.

Their approach in class is quite athletic, lots of fitness training and strength training and so on, but also very theatrical - they're more about attitude then getting all worried about doing the moves right (I'm not 100% sure if their pole classes are more athletic or performancy but I think they strike a balance too).

This is our pole teacher Clare performing as Circe for a revue our director/burlesque teacher organises every so often (the theme this show was Myths, Fantasies, and Fairytales). I see pole as another form of physical theatre - it's a massive workout, and you really do need strong muscles to hold yourself up on there, but there's also the opportunity to be really artistic.
posted by divabat at 3:38 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and before someone says it: guys do poledance too.
posted by divabat at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Having actually watched the video now, yes, this looks a lot like a high end strip club (minus the blanket for the third dance perhaps). The hold-the-pole-betwixt-thighs-whilst-hanging-upside-down is actually very common.

FWIW I'd recommend Super Sexe in Montreal for anyone curious to see some of this sort of thing.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:46 PM on April 20, 2009


Having been to a few strip clubs and knowing a few dancers in my time, I was completely unsurprised at what I saw. Sure there was some cool stuff in there, but nothing special.

Regardless of the reason people do Pole Dancing, I would venture to say the dominant percentage is going to have some kind of back end idea relating to titillation. Even ignoring the idea that this is a type of phallicism, you're hard pressed to ignore the direct correlation with stripping.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:00 PM on April 20, 2009


OK, sure...it may not include stripping...but BAM...the video is by a woman named Savannah. Seriously...that's just like being named Chastity, Diamond, Ginger, or Luscious.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:59 PM on April 20, 2009


I don't think that nobody should pole dance or that it's not art, but if it's more than female sexual showing off why is this being marketed to women only? Would men catch cooties from the pole? It's not like males are physically unable to hang via their upper body strength or can never do gymnastics.
posted by Phalene at 10:14 PM on April 20, 2009


Oh and before someone says it: guys do poledance too.

And wear pleather pants while doing so. Pole dancing: not an activity for the super sweaty?
posted by efio at 12:14 AM on April 21, 2009


efio: He doesn't have pleather pants on.
posted by divabat at 12:17 AM on April 21, 2009


If it's not stripping then how come I'm waiting for my wife to get in the shower before I click the link? Huh?
posted by planetkyoto at 5:21 AM on April 21, 2009


heavens. i'm at work, & like an idiot i just hit the pole dance championships link & let it load while i'm busy working on something & not paying attention. then i'm hearing some kind of annoying techo-ish music & wondering what idiot downloaded *that* as a ringtone & are they ever going to answer that freakin' phone?

heh. that would be the music from the site playing over my computer headphones, loud enough for half my team to hear.

hey. i already said i'm an idiot ...
posted by msconduct at 7:26 AM on April 21, 2009


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