Historically, society has associated pole dancing with cisgender women. Even the mention of pole dancing may bring Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers scene to your mind, but it’s so much more than that.
Our shared community is close-knit and made up of incredible people of every gender identity. We celebrate our right to express ourselves on and off the pole. No matter how you identify, you have a story to tell.
Men are a minority in dance communities. Rigid and outdated views of masculinity prevent men from taking up dance, especially pole dancing. While their numbers are low, there are men leaving audiences in awe of their precision, strength, and presence.
It is time to consider the incredible contributions of men and male presenting individuals to the art of the pole movement. If you are considering joining the pole dancing world, here are some things you should know:
So You Think You Can Dance?
If you are at all concerned about whether you have what it takes to pole dance, don’t worry. Mallakhamb is an ancient Indian practice that was performed strictly by males and shares many similarities with pole dancing. Both a sport and art form, men performed aerial gymnastics and yoga postures with poles, canes, and hanging ropes.
Increased muscle mass and upper body strength often make men naturals for pole dance moves. The downside may be that you can muscle through more complicated movements, leading to poor form and risk for injuries. Be sure to focus on balance, form, and utilizing your whole body.
If you’re still not convinced that men can rock the pole, check out Dimitry Politov or Vladimir Karachunov, some modern-day pole dancers.
It’s a whole-body workout. As in, pull-ups will be easy. Seriously. You will get stronger. You will gain muscle and will probably lose weight as a byproduct. You will develop greater flexibility than you’ve ever had with increased range of motion from your shoulders down to your toes. You will gain a supportive community that will advocate for you in and out of the studio. This will benefit your physical, emotional, and mental well-being and future health.
You Don’t Glisten or Manscape
While there is no aesthetic reason for trimming your body hair, there is a functional one. Decreasing the amount of hair on your body, primarily your legs, will increase the amount of grip you have. Dancing with hairy legs is similar to the amount of grip you would have while wearing tights. You can still perform some moves, but you won’t get the same level of grip as with bare legs. If you’re OK with that, you can let it be, but for stronger grip, you can trim, shave, wax, or laser.
Pole dancing is hard. It’s a full-body workout, so you will sweat no matter who you are. Be sure to stay hydrated, keep your practice temperature cool, and frequently wipe down your pole with alcohol. Look for sweat-wicking pole dancing apparel, and towel off as needed to stay dry. If the amount of sweat is still interfering with your grip after these tips, try using a grip aid such as DewPoint to help you stick better.
What About What’s In Your Pants
The great thing about pole dancing is that it’s for you, so no one cares about what’s underneath your clothes. But you should. If you don’t have a large enough chest to get in your way, congratulations, you don’t need a bra. But you inevitably will need some kind of support. If you are concerned about contact with a pole causing pain between your legs, invest in a properly fitting dance belt early on. Support and protection are crucial and will allow you to practice without fear.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Don’t be afraid to try something based on your gender identity. Some moves may be considered harder or easier, but everybody is different. Don’t feel the need to stay in style lanes that some would label “masculine” or “feminine.” Find what is best for you, your body, and your unique style. Explore different classes, teachers, studios, and workshops to find things that connect with you. Speak up if you find a move uncomfortable or need modifications. But never limit yourself because of your gender. Every one of us is capable of dancing.
In the end, your dance practice is for you. Dancing doesn’t make you less of a “man”. And being one shouldn’t stop you from dancing. Your sex, gender, body type, or anything else society has made you worry about shouldn’t matter. Pole dancing is for everyone.