No tree, it’s said, can grow to reach heaven unless its roots reach down to hell. (C. G. Jung)
With this quote we can definitely draw an analogy with pole dancing. And believe it or not,even with tango… And with ballet… Andwithmany other dancing styles.
Have I confused you?
Well if you haven’t already researched some of the roots of pole dancing, you’ll be surprised at what we’re about to tell you. But I thought that as a passionate pole dancer – or even if you are 100 per cent Poledancerka – you would wanna know. And after that I bet you would wanna get your hands dirty and become Poledancerka :).
Origins in ancient tribal fertility and erotic dances
Though the true origins of pole dance are not precisely known, we could conclude that the pole dancing story goes way back to early ancient times with different tribal fertility and erotic dances that were performed by women. There is even a story that the pole dance originated in , which she danced for Herod.
African women’s dance around the wooden pole
Some believe that pole dancing originates from African tribal dancing, where women danced around a wooden pole in front of the men they were engaged to.This was their way of expressing how they wanted their future husbands to make love to them.
Maypole ritual during Pagan times
History shows that even in Pagan times people performed a sort of pole dance in the month of May to boost fertility – known as the maypole. The ritual was held around a tall vertical pole decorated with streamers or ribbons, where women danced to boost fertility.The maypole represented a phallic symbol, since trees have always been a symbol of great vitality and the fertility of nature. Maypole dancing was therefore, strongly associated with fertility.
India’s Mallakhamb and Chinese Pole
However, during the 12th Century in India and China, pole dancing became known as a male sportin the form of gymnastics – called Mallakhamb in India and Chinese Pole in China. Chinese Pole is usually performed on two poles. Performances were especially characterized by a lot of strength exercisesthat involved the gymnast maintaining various postures on a large vertical wooden polebetween 3 and 9 meters high.The ritual often involved several pole dancers at once. In India, Mallakhamb was also revived in the 19th Century.
Hoochie coochie women dance
In the 1920s (at the height of the American Depression) we can observe the modern reappearance of the pole dance via travelling circuses and fairs, known as “hoochiecoochie” side-shows. Those women who danced, used the pole in the middle of the tent as part of their dancing act, which was based on hip movements.
Pole dance enters the bars and is marked by striptease
“Hoochie coochie” girls grew really popular around the ‘50s, so they became the core of the burlesque and cabaret scene. From burlesque shows, emerged striptease and of course, pole dancing, whichin combination with stripping, found its way into bars. This was therefore, the period during which pole dancing came to be associated with sensual dancing and striptease.
In the 1980s,striptease and lap dance techniques were incorporated into pole dancing choreographies, making them wildly popular in bars and nightclubs in Canada and the USA.
Pole dancing instructions for the wider launch
The next important turning point followed in the 1990s, when the Canadian performer Fawnia Deitrich, who also participated in pole dancing competitions, began teaching the dance. She also released the first instructional video on pole dancing that gave wings to this phenomenon, which then spread throughout the America, UK, Australia, Belgium, Singapore, Russia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and the wider world.
Blooming present times – from S Factor towards the Olympics
Today, pole dancing has evolved as a combination of sport, dance and art. And according to prevailing elements, you get the specific pole dance variation. Yes, evolution brought about progress that is reflected in the nuances that define the pole dancing technique. We are even literally counting the days when the sporting version of pole dance will become recognized as an Olympics sport. Pole dance even hit the stage in 2000, when Sheila Kelley opened the S Factor in Los Angeles. And 3 years later, Oprah Winfrey hosted Sheila on her show and the world was introduced to Pole Fitness.
Now you know – poledancing is a dancing discipline with an exciting and long history.
The struggles of tango and ballet before gaining acceptance
But pole dancing isn’t the only dance which experienced controversy, outrage, indignation, criticism or censorship. All forms of dance celebrate the body in some way and may become the target of prejudice. I bet you didn’t know that even tango originated in the brothels of ancient Argentina and so it took a while for this dance to get rid of its link to brothels and become respected.Ballet also came under close scrutiny during its development and was not considered as conservative as it later became.
So respect the roots and follow your vision.
Now share with us your history and roots of getting to know pole dance and contribute to this brave and passionate community – how did it all start for you?How did you become a pole dancer/Poledancerka?
Are you ready to join thousands and thousands Poledancerkas all over the world? Start here and now and get equipped.