Photo Credit: NFG Photo. Creative Commons Photo License
Within the pole community, we often try to force the dichotomy of sexy vs. non-sexy. There are so many different styles of dance on the pole just like there are off the pole, but the idea that one person’s preference means that they are vehemently against any other form of expression is not grounded in reality. Nonetheless, when you go into a routine you usually have an idea, at least subconsciously, if you are going for the sex bomb look or for something more cirquey-sporty. The truth of the matter, however, is that no matter how athletic and non-slinky your movements, you look sexy anyway!
The pole is glamourizing and flattering, even for those stepping away from the "stripper look." Why is such an innocuous apparatus so titillating? Contrary to what might be your first guess, I don’t think it’s because of its adult connotations and phallic symbolism. Rather, there are several physical aspects of pole fitness that simply bring out the bombshell in us, whether we like it or not.
Gravity working in your favor
When you are standing on the ground, gravity is your enemy. Everything sags. But when you are upside-down, or even leaning back against the pole, the tide is turned. Your belly fat melts away from the surface, your boobs perk up to your chin, your leftover leg meat rushes to your bum. There’s no faster way to turn back the clock. Talk about turning that frown upside-down!
While earth-based art forms have you compacted, again at the mercy of gravity, pole and the aerial arts constantly have you hanging, reaching, stretching. Even the act of resting your arms above your head as you lean against the pole elongates your torso, exposing muscle and sinew and distributing excess padding across a wider area, minimizing it. Ballet dancers have to work hard at elongation—you just have to reach up and grab the pole!
Unlike most aerial arts, such as silks and trapeze, pole is inherently asymmetrical. That’s not because the apparatus itself is lopsided, but because it generally has to be on one side or the other of your body. One hand is above or below the other. This emphasizes those famous “S curves”
on which Sheila Kelley, the mother of modern pole dance, based her fitness empire. When you lean or tilt or turn one way… that means this corner of your body is a little bit higher… and that one is a little bit lower… and this one is a little back, and that one a little forth… all adding up to a curve-inducing torque that brings out the woman in you.
Pole is known for being a full-body workout. That makes us look good in general—tone up those muscles!—but it also makes us look good while we're doing it. Think of how many muscles you're flexing while doing a shoulder inversion. Triceps, biceps, lats, abs! Now think of how much better your muscles look flexed. You don't have to be Mr. Olympia flexing for the judges in order to show off your athletic goods. You just have to be poling.
Fitness pole dancers are always having to defend their paucity of clothing to the uninitiated masses. But the perfectly logical explanation, that we need the friction of bare skin to grip the pole, doesn’t negate the fact that you are traipsing around in a bikini, and it’s kind of hot.
We polers can get desensitized to each others’ flesh and general sexiness, but if you’ve ever walked out of a pole class in a gym and felt the stares of the gym enthusiast on your abs, it’s a reminder that, oh yeah, normal people keep those covered up.
We’re kind of staring right at your crotch
Pole dance is full of straddles and splits, and those little booty shorts or bikini bottoms you’ve got on don’t leave a whole lot to the imagination. Nothing wrong with that. Don’t feel self-conscious or anything. I’m just saying… “Hello, boys!”
Whatever stylistic debates we polers are fond of having, you don’t need to be in stilettos and garters in order to be sexy on the pole. You just are. Enjoy it.
Pippi Parnasse is a poler, #PDBloggers member and writer in the Boston area. She has over 10 years of experience both in pole and in writing professionally.