The History of Pole Dancing

Palomino Club Vegas Dancer

Kaymarie Getting Warmed Up
at Palomino Club

A battle has been brewing between pole dancers who perform in strip clubs and pole dancers who denigrate strippers and distance themselves from strip clubs. Now blogger Maddy Myers ( points out that pole dancers who use the hashtag #NotaStripper on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are being challenged by strippers who have started using the #NotaStripper hashtag in addition to the hashtag #YesaStripper.

The NotaStripper pole dance community considers dancing in strip clubs a “stigma” to overcome. This is described in The Telegraph (UK) by Sian Elvin in her post; “I’m a Pole Dancer, not a Stripper. Let’s End the Stigma.”

But there’s a reason why pole dancing is associated with strippers. Pole dancing was invented by strippers. Some of the pole dancing blogs (See International Pole Dance Fitness Association) claim that pole dancing has evolved from ancient forms of dance and athletics that date back to Chinese and Indian ceremonies where men climbed poles or used them to display athletic prowess. But that’s bullshit. They’re really stretching to find roots outside of exotic dance. The strip club dancers who invented pole dancing never saw or even heard of these ancient pole athletes, and modern pole dancing has nothing in common with them.

An Erotic Art Created by Women

Modern pole dancing is an erotic art form created by women–primarily American women dancing in strip clubs–and it ought to be celebrated as such. The first pole dancing I saw was in the late 80s and early 90s in strip clubs in Florida, Texas, and Atlanta. This was at the beginning of the gentlemen’s club boom. Lap dancing didn’t exist yet (except in San Francisco and New York), but no-contact “table dancing” was popular.

Many of the biggest clubs had numerous small stages–just five or six feet in diameter, like a table–with a pole running up the center for the dancers to hold onto when kicking or doing any type of move that might cause them to lose balance and possibly injure someone in the audience. The poles were installed simply because these mini-stages were too small to allow much in the way of dance.

Most dancers, who didn’t dance much other than shimmying a bit, would just put a hand on the pole occasionally for balance, but some of the more gymnastic dancers started to incorporate the pole into their dance routines. As more and more dancers saw the possibilities, the pole became an erotic prop and clubs started adding poles to their main stages.

For more on pole dancing, see:

The Best Erotic Pole Dancing in Las Vegas

The Pole Dancers of Palomino Club


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