History of Pole Dancing According to Wikipedia January 16, 2010

By Annemarie Davies


“It is probable pole dancing started in America in the 1920’s depression with dancers in traveling shows using a tent pole as a prop. The relationship to Chinese poles is unclear, Chinese troupes performed in Barnum and Bailey’s circus from 1914 but they did not perform on poles.[1]”

Read the full Wikipedia entry

I find this to be very interesting. There have been many things said about where pole dancing originated from. I must admit, I, and many that I know, thought it came from the strip clubs. But, realistically, it must have started before the clubs were even made. Where would they have gotten the idea to dance on poles in the first place??? Many others I know, think that pole dancing started with Chinese acrobats. However, the Chinese jump and jerk on the pole, hardly dancing. Wikipedia says that they did not originally perform on poles any way. So, they must have gotten the idea from these tent dancing people!! It’s amusing to me, personally, because I began pole dancing in the strip clubs and am unashamed of it. There have been many times I’ve had to defend myself against those who didn’t understand the art of pole dancing, later, defending myself against non-stripping pole dancers. Lately, there has been a this sort of talk about pole dancing, something in the form of “I’m not a stripper and never have been”. Well, now we can all relax and simply tell people the truth about where pole dancing originated from.

Just to be clear, I know where MY pole dancing originated from, do you??? So, are you a stripper, a Chinese acrobat, or a tent dancer? Something to think about. I am an exotic pole dancer, one that implements pole tricks while moving seductively to the music. My intent while on-stage is to entertain, amuse, inspire and sometimes, make people uncomfortable (in a good way) with just a look. At the end of the show, it’s all about getting a reaction from my audience. I bet that’s what the tent people had in mind when they grabbed onto to those poles for the first time. Now, look at what it has started, something amazing!! Let’s take a good hard look at how it started and how it evolved into what it is now, and be grateful of those tents. :)

3 thoughts on “History of Pole Dancing According to Wikipedia

  1. Profile photo of violet76 violet76 says:

    Hmmmm tent dancing, eh? What I want to know is how the pole and strip tease were formally introduced. Because striptease has been around since, I believe, the late 1800’s in the United States. (It was born from belly dancing – which was brought to the U.S. through the Chicago World Fair – created a SCANDAL – and then burlesque and so on.) The pole showed up on the stripping scene in the 60’s, but no one really knows why or how it caught on…
    Even more important to me though, is your comment about this sort of pole dancer vs. stripper tension. I think there are a lot of differences in what happens in a competitive pole show and in a strip club – differences in goals, dancing styles, audience. But I think what makes pole dancing so appealing to so many women is that you can unleash a certain sexual, sensual side of yourself. I mean if ALL you are interested in is fitness, there are a million ways to get fit without having to put on six inch stilettos and wear a bikini. I happen to love taking off layers of clothing when I dance. I love floor work. And I love giving lap dances. And I think there is a very real, artistic beauty to all of those things.
    So I guess what I don’t get is why there is this need to somehow distinguish yourself as a non-stripper, or shy away from the fact that what you are doing is erotic. And not only do I not understand it, I think it’s a little bit dangerous. As pole dancing comes into the mainstream we have a real opportunity, as women, to say to the world: I’m being sexual, I’m being public about it, and I fucking love it. This statement, this attitude has the potential to change the way the public views women and their sexuality. Instead of trying to shy away from the possibility of being labeled a “whore” or a “fallen angel” or whatever label du jour is given to women who willingly choose to display taking pleasure in their sexuality, why not just look them straight in the face and say, “Yeah, it fucking feels good to do this. Now what?”
    It does not serve us, as women, to make petty distinctions between who did what to whom and whether or not money was involved and technically I don’t take my clothes off and no one puts dollar bills in my g-string so therefore, I’m better/more professional/a real artist, etc. and so on. All this really does is perpetuate this madonna/whore, good girl/bad girl myth that keeps our sexuality in chains. Anyone who has ever wanted to pole dance has a little bit of the whore in them. And every time you dance, she comes out to play. And that is true whether you are dancing in a club, a competition, a studio or for a lover. So own it.

  2. Profile photo of daisydiver daisydiver says:

    I agree with you, Violet76. There are still many hurdles in this profession. I find Annemarie’s historical viewpoint enligtening and her curiosity about how we all got here a refreshing way to include all comers, diffuse the tension and break down those barriers. Thanks for all you do Annie!

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