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History of Pole Dance

Modern pole fitness and dance is a popular form of alternative fitness, that combines dance and acrobatics on a vertical pole. It has roots in erotic club dancing, gymnastics, circus, contortion, and all types of dance.

Pole dancing is found in many cultures, including Chinese pole and Mallakhamb, a traditional Indian sport, both of which are male-dominated and consist of acrobatic moves on a pole. Pole dancing as erotic dance in the US originated in traveling side-shows in the 1920s, where dancers used the tent poles. Later, pole dancing moved into bars and strip clubs.

In the 1990s, club dancers like Fawnia Dietrich and Sheila Kelley began teaching pole and exotic dance as a form of fitness, and pole began gaining popularity among amateurs as well as other athletes such as dancers and gymnasts. Pole dance and fitness has exploded over the past ten years and is constantly evolving, including new tricks and different styles such as contemporary pole. Pole dance was granted observer status in October 2017 by the Global Association of International Sports Federation, making it possible to become an Olympic sport in future years.

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