Stripping it Down.


October 8, 2013 by kholzhauer


Sexy? Athletic? Is it all in the eye of the beholder?

This is a post inspired by the October Pole Blog Hop topic: The sanitization of pole.  And sure, this isn’t an exclusively pole dance blog, or even a pole focused blog, but it’s part of my life, the prompt got me thinking, so here I am.

Pole is gradually going mainstream. It’s getting featured in newspapers, showing up regularly on TV, and making bids to become an Olympic sport. Naturally, with all that attention, the sport on a whole is getting a bit of an image revamp, for better or for worse.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with either side of the pole dance/pole fitness dichotomy.  I love that pole can

I think I want these.

be an expression of sexuality, sensuality, and eroticism, but I also love that it doesn’t have to express any of that.  I love that I can pop on a pair of 6 inch stilettos and a tiny bikini and (in my own head) own a room. I love that I can spend an hour grunting, sweating, crying and working through a trick that seems physically impossible.

I’m frustrated with the feeling that, to many folks, it’s gotta be one thing or another. It’s either “exotic dance,” “pole fitness,” “pole dance” or “stripping,” but rarely all at once.  I’m fed up with feeling that I have to define or justify my relationship with a sport/art that, for me, is just something I love, whatever it means.

I understand why pole needs an image cleanup before it tries for stuff like the Olympics. It shouldn’t need to be cleaned up, but I get it. For better or for worse, pole derived from an expression of a subservient sort of female sexuality. It started more for the audience than the dancers, for one. It began as a woman being sexual (which, unfortunately, in our society, is SUPERSCARYBAD (another post for another time) and as it’s gained popularity as a fitness activity/art formed, it hasn’t exactly shaken that reputation. It’s like the super smart girl in high school who got straight A’s and got into Harvard, but everyone remembers for the way she looked in her cheerleader uniform. I should write a romantic comedy.

To a certain extent, I think pole should hit an image makeover, but not in the “take the sex out of pole” way that it seems to be going. Sure, if it’s an Olympic sport and little 12 year old kids are training, you don’t necessarily want them thinking sex (kids these days. . . ) but you know what, it started as pole Dance. Let’s worry less about taking the sex out of pole dancing and more about keeping the dance in.

Yes, I got to that in an incredibly long-winded way, but what I really worry about with pole is that as it evolves to this sanitized place, we’ll lose the dance aspect. For me, it’s about self expression more than it’s about this one really cool trick, and I worry that as it moves away from dance and toward sport the art will get lost.  We’re lucky that so far, there’s been a good balance of art form and athletic venture in even the competitions I’ve seen, but I’m afraid that when things get too technical, too compulsory, some of the dance that makes my favorite performances so beautiful will be done with.

To sum up — I don’t care whether we take the sex out of pole or not as much as I care that, wherever the future of pole goes, the DANCE stays in. With that, the freedom to express anything from sex to sadness, from strength to weakness should stay in pole.

That’s what I’ve got for now.

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3 thoughts on “Stripping it Down.

  1. Pole Geek says:

    Would love to see your post on the SUPERSCARYBAD of women being sexual! Totally agree with you on keeping the dance in pole. I am never more bored than when I watch pole that is just one trick after another…ugh!

  2. lolorashel says:

    I’m with you…even if only for selfish reasons. If they remove the dance, there will be nothing left for me to do since I am not sporty at all! hahaha! I too look forward to your SUPERSCARYBAD rant. 😉

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