Over the last 20 years, pole dancing has been gaining popularity. Though it’s long been known as an exotic dance form, it is now gaining traction as a fitness pursuit for everyone. There are studios all over, and universities are even offering courses on it.
Though the popularity of pole dancing is growing, the misconceptions about it still linger on the side. Correcting misconceptions and breaking through prejudice can be challenging, especially in dance. We’d like to call out a few myths about pole dancing, so they can’t stop you from giving pole dancing a try.
1. Pole Dancing Is Only For Women
This is probably the biggest misconception about pole dancing; it’s for everyone and every body; if you have a body, you can dance. Pole dancing requires a lot of physical strength, so it’s the perfect challenge for men who are bored of other workouts. Still buying into the myth? Check out previous men’s world pole dance champions. There are even whole lines of clothing designed for men, like men’s pole shorts.
2. You Should Be Slender To Dance
More classical dance forms might encourage a slight dancing figure, but most dancers in the business are trying to fight this stereotype. Check out this line of plus-size pole wear, something becoming more common in the dance world.
You don’t need to be skinny or in immaculate shape to start pole dancing. It’s one of the truly size-inclusive dances, where anyone is allowed and encouraged to take up space.
You may see a lot of fit pole dancers due to how demanding it can be. A side effect is that you could lose weight from dancing. You will practice drills and moves and perform cardio, endurance, and strength-building exercises, so weight can sometimes fall off as you learn to climb higher up the pole. Weight loss shouldn’t keep you from taking a class, but it shouldn’t be your primary motivation. Pole dancing is incredibly empowering no matter how you look or what you wear; it’s for you.
3. Everyone Dresses Provocatively
If the second myth bothered you, this one might’ve been the final nail in the proverbial coffin of your pole dance pursuit. Pole dancing is a respectable fitness class that requires appropriate equipment, including what you wear. Bare skin isn’t always about dressing suggestively; it’s about safety. Your exposed skin is the best way to grip the pole while performing aerial dance moves.
You can dress to your comfort level, especially when you’re just starting. If you want to treat yourself, there are even pole dancing grip leggings. But you can just wear what you already have for class. You should wear fitted clothes, like bike shorts and a workout tank, so you don’t get tangled around the pole.
4. You Should Have Dance Experience
While a dance background can’t hurt, pole classes incorporate moves from various dances like ballet, yoga, and gymnastics, among other aerial art forms. Some are more dance-heavy than others, so there are plenty of classes for beginners or those with no dance experience. Practice doesn’t make perfect: it makes improvement. So enroll in the course, even if you think you’re a horrible dancer, and you’ll learn and improve each time.
5. You Need To Be Flexible
Just like with your dance experience, you don’t need to be flexible to start taking classes. Your flexibility will improve through your classes, but plenty of moves are more strength-based and don’t rely on your flexibility. No matter your strengths, you will find some moves that feel like they were choreographed for you.
6. You Have To Be Sensual
Pole dancing has been around for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it became strongly associated with sexy style dancers and strip clubs. There is a whole branch of pole dancing that can be sexy if you want it to be, but it’s also a great workout and an official international sport. Your dance form is whatever you would like it to be, from sensual to lighthearted. Pole dancing shouldn’t automatically equate to a strip club, though we do acknowledge and honor the strippers that pioneered pole dancing as we know it today.
7. Pole Dancing Is Only For Young People
Don’t ever let how you identify, look, feel, or how old you are hold you back from learning something incredible and new. Age is an arbitrary number that doesn’t control your life unless you let it.
You might be shocked at how diverse a pole dancing class is. There are even 60 and over lessons for any skill level; it’s a great way to stay active–or get active–and make new friends. Everyone is supportive of each other regardless of age. There are master's competitions if you’ve got a competitive streak.
Don’t let any of these myths dissuade you from taking a class. Whether you are a confident social butterfly who enjoys being the center of attention or a quiet wallflower, you can enjoy pole dancing. Pole dancing will give you a boost of confidence, teaching you to appreciate your body and personality the way they are. The world is full of diverse people, and the pole world accepts them all.