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pole dancing for fitness

(421 Posts)
hairyqueenofscots Mon 19-Nov-12 09:36:59

in my work i work with very highly qualified academics, i am support staff. they have all recently started these classes and burlesque. I have recently got very interested in the feminism on MN. I am saddened these woman are doing this ,they have everything going for them! Am i wrong? be gentle i am a learner smile

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 15:11:51

burelsque on the other hand...not sure how great a work out you can get form someone popping the balloons off of you.

KittyLilith Mon 19-Nov-12 15:13:44

I can answer for myself why I chose pole for exercise. I don't like running, I'm a poor swimmer, I have no sense of rhythm so anything dancey like zumba is out. I find yoga too slow. I quite liked kick boxing but taking my piercings in and out annoyed me. Before I get pulled up on the dancing aspect I just did climbs and spins. Definitely no gyrating or shaking of any intimate parts of my body.

TheSmallClanger Mon 19-Nov-12 15:24:41

It comes from Chinese pole performance, which involves climbing up and balancing on poles supported by another acrobat. Chinese pole acrobats are almost always fully clothed and are usually male.

I'm on the fence about pole fitness. Every amateur video I've seen involves all the stupid hair-flicking and bum-presenting you'd expect from a strip show. Why have these bits in if it's just for fitness? There are no exercise benefits to flicking your hair and shoving your bum outwards slowly. Likewise, the perspex heels - if you really want to grip the pole, you should be wearing sticky climbing shoes, not rigid plastic clogs that increase your injury risk exponentially.

I have seen one video which seemed to be all acrobatics - I can't remember her name, but the performer is a young black woman wearing a spangly catsuit.

As to burlesque - I've seen quite a lot of it at alt-cabaret nights, and it is mostly stripping. There are one or two performers who can actually do physical comedy or dance, or can sing, but they are in the minority.

Slumberparty Mon 19-Nov-12 15:25:41

I don't think it's anti-feminist if you do it for fitness, for you, with no male spectators and because you enjoy it.
I think the main problem is that they call it 'Pole Dancing' which is what strippers do. Re-name it 'Pole gymnastics' or 'Pole-fitness' (or something much better....) and there would be none of the 'seedy; connotations attached to it.

Burlesque is a a toughie. As a feminist, straight female, I really enjoy watching burlesque. The burlesque I like is usually fun, cheeky, and performed by an 'average' sized woman who makes me feel empowed about my body rather than ashamed.

GetAllTheThings Mon 19-Nov-12 15:32:29

Re-name it 'Pole gymnastics' or 'Pole-fitness'

I think the 'pole' may be a metaphor for something else in the minds of some.

TheSmallClanger Mon 19-Nov-12 15:39:29

Slumber, I keep hearing that, but I have never seen a burlesque performer who was anything other than very slim, and young. I find burlesque rather irritating, as there are a lot of derivative, low-skilled performances which would be better allocated to someone else. Also, the burlesque aesthetic has spread into other alt-cabaret stuff, which means there is more pressure on female performers (firedancers, magic acts, object manipulation, freakshow artists) to be sexy and pouty and all that.

My DD is a rhythmic gymnast, and is starting to become interested in hoopdance, poi and circusy things. I would hate for her to believe that her wonderful object-manipulation skills and flexibility are not enough, should she decide to take up performing.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 15:42:58

Actually I have seen burlesque performers and they all verged on to plus sized. I thought about mentioning that as proof that it wasn't really great as a gymnastic activity. But didn't want to be mean. espcially as I am not slimline myself

A lot of people talking about amateur videos and gyrating. Search you tube for 'bendy Kate' or ukapp (uk amateur pole performers) there should be some amazing stuff that doesn't include hair flicking.

I think it is all about intent. How it is demeaning that I have a pole in my home and use it to exercise with (well not right now, at 36 wks of that would be hard work) I have no idea. If I included wiggling and gyrating I could understand. But to be able to hold myself upside down on a pole with just the strength in my arms and core? I can't see that as demeaning, sorry.

Slumberparty Mon 19-Nov-12 16:03:55

I think the 'pole' may be a metaphor for something else in the minds of some

Yes crossed my mind too, but since the pole is the only piece of equipment you need for that type of activity, you can't really not use it in the name. 'Long, thin metal bar fitness just doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Smallclanger I've seen burlesque a few times and often it's been plus sized women.

I have been doing pole fitness for about three years now and I love it. There is nothing sleazy or wrong with it, I do it as a serious work out, not for tilitation and it is no different to doing the parallel bars say at gymnastics.

It is what you make it. I cannot stand it being referred to as pole dancing - that is not what I do....there is no dancing involved, I do it purely for strength, fitness and fun.

If you look at how the real polers perform, some of them are absolutely amazing.

I cannot imagine how it can be harmful, say anymore than gymnastics. My body has never been on better shape.

I heard about the poor girl who had the accident and broke her neck but really, this could happen crossing the road or playing football/rugby etc. Pole is classed as an extreme sport so we take all the precautions we can but yes, of course accidents can happen.

I have a pole in my house, I use it safely and properly...believe me, there is nothing demeaning about it and shock/horror my DS loves climbing on it and spinning round it.

*i have a massive problem with pole dancing as 'fitness'

why not practice yoga, tai chia or pilates, it's the same core strength and concentration level*

I tried all these and nearly died of boredom. Pole is fun and actually, quite addictive.

WilsonFrickett Mon 19-Nov-12 16:31:03

I just don't 'get' burlesque and had to arf at the poster upthread who called it 'stripping for the middle classes'. I do think that they're two separate things though - burlesque is performance, pure and simple. It may be empowering (its afficiandos certainly say it is) but it has nothing to do with fitness and doesn't exist without an audience. In the same way as acting doesn't - it needs an audience to 'be'.

I also think there's a difference between 'sexy' pole dancing classes, which as clangersay involve high heels and hair flicking, and 'proper' Bendy Kate dancing which is extraordinarily athletic. Oh, and in no way compares to a Zumba workout Kritiq. I can do zumba. I can't hold my bodyweight upside down on my arms though.

strumpetpumpkin Mon 19-Nov-12 16:32:26

I think if more people found a fitness activity they found fun and wanted to keep doing, then fuck what other people think and just do it

See, I go to classes which teach the stuff say Bendy Kate would do. We dont do anything sexy/dancy in my class at all, that is not what it is about for me.

Wilson I can hold my body weight upside on my arms now, it took a while tho smile

WilsonFrickett Mon 19-Nov-12 16:36:12

Am in awe Betty. That's never going to be one of my key skills grin

I don't think it will hamper you.....but you could if you practiced and persevered wink

janey1234 Mon 19-Nov-12 16:45:21

I can only hold myself upside down with my legs - but was VERY proud of myself the first time I managed it.
As you say, it's food fun, really tough, and brilliant exercise.

And no, doesn't include dancing. I can't dance, hence no zumba. It's all about strength and also some flexibility.

jarndyceandjarndyce Mon 19-Nov-12 19:29:51

You can look at it in an existential way- if a group of girls are pole dancing in a studio, and no men are there to objectify their actions, does it make a sound?

Or something like that.

For me, this is real pole dancing. It's a proper dance form. This reminds me of the tango, powerful and passionate. Note, no high heels, and the crowd is of girls screaming with admiration.

wilson as Betty said, with practise you could if you wanted to. It took me 18 mo to get up to the more advanced upside down stuff.

LastMangoInParis Mon 19-Nov-12 19:45:48

Another thread I haven't yet read but will!
... Odd one, though, pole dancing for fitness/fun.
Pole dancing does, apparently cover a load of fitness bases: core strength, flexibility, coordination, and looks like a lot of fun.
I agree with Wilson WRT context.
In itself, I think, pole dancing is like circus-skills type disciplines: skilled, fun, great for fitness.

AlanMoore Mon 19-Nov-12 20:15:07

My friend wanted to do a pole class for her 30th and I went in a cloud of feminist angst. I bloody LOVED it, such fun and I was good at it! (not sporty or a good dancer).

I've not been back but I'd like to sad

Same friend made us do burlesque for her hen, which was boring and a lot more sleazy. I made an excuse & left when teacher claimed we would find wearing nipple tassels "empowering".

So yeah, bleurgh to male gaze/exploitative sex industry etc but can't help remembering how much fun dangling by my knees was...

AlanMoore Mon 19-Nov-12 20:16:23

So yeah, I dunno. If you could divorce it from context of sex I'd love to take it up.

AlanMoore Mon 19-Nov-12 20:17:15

Oh jeez what a cliffhanger to end para on! Take it up as a hobby! Ffs

MyLittleMiracles Mon 19-Nov-12 20:20:51

Personally <flame me> I would LOVE to be able to do what some of thos girls do but never in front of a bloke, it looks fun to me and i would love to try it!

44SoStartingOver Mon 19-Nov-12 20:24:44

Whilst I think it actually looks good fun, it is so hard to separate it from sleaze.

For me, it is the difference between sunbathing topless because I want to and page 3.

The male pole dancer I met was amazing, but did do the bum wiggles and hair flicks, which did look strange

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