Modern day pole dancing has evolved into exercise form practiced by not only professionals and performers, but by everyone from casual students and gym-goers to national and internationally recognised pole athletes. The world of Western Pole dates back a lot longer than many would imagine. Pole is practiced today by both men and women alike, and is a fusion of Chinese pole, Indian Pole or ‘Mallakhamb’, other circus-based eg Dutch and French pole, and exotic dance of various international influences.
Pole dancing itself has been said to originate from the travelling fairs during the American depression in the 1920’s, where a group of dancers would entertain crowds in tents using a lot of hip movement and suggestive dancing. They became known as the ‘Hoochi Coochi’ dancers and would dance with the pole that was holding the tent in place.
One of the earliest recorded pole dances was in Oregon, US in 1968, and following this, the pole dance craze is believed to have kicked off in Canada in the 1980’s. A woman named Fawnia Dietrich initiated the first ever class in teaching pole to non-performers in 1994, and has gone on to create the world’s first pole dancing school and produced various instructional videos.
The US, Europe, Australia and Asia quickly followed, with pole dancing and pole fitness classes, studios, academies, competition and training spaces opening worldwide. So today, modern pole is a combination of these centuries old techniques, and has evolved into a form that relies heavily on dance as well as fitness skills.
The fusion of the finely tuned circus performer skills of the Chinese, the energetic acrobatic skills of the Indians and the alluring and sensuous dance skills of the Western world, are what make up Pole dancing as we know it today.