Fistful of Steel
Artistic Statement

Over the last two decades, pole dancing has emerged from strip clubs as a unique and highly expressive art that combines athleticism and sensuality. The product of dance traditions from across the world, contemporary pole comes in many different styles, not all of which are inherently sexual. Pole first appeared in strip clubs in the 60’s, but did not become synonymous with stripping until the 80’s. In the mid – 90’s, a Las Vegas-based dancer named Fawnia Dietrich revolutionized pole by offering the very first class, thereby making it available to non-strippers. Others soon followed suit, and pole rapidly gained popularity as a fitness trend that appealed to all kinds of people.

Questions to Explore

• To what extent did pole grow and evolve within strip clubs?

• How and why did pole dancing emerge from strip clubs, and how does this relate to current trends in feminism?

• What are the stigmas associated with pole dancing and how have they changed?

• In what ways has pole’s appeal to a wide range of people, regardless of athletic background, affected stereotypes and public perception of the dance form?

• What is the interplay between artistry, athleticism and sensuality in contemporary pole?

• What are the different styles of pole dancing and what factors have shaped them? Are they linked to certain geographical regions? How have competitions affected their development?

• In what ways has social media influenced the growth of pole?

• How has pole created such a tight-knit global family/community and what do members of the community share in common and take away from the experience?

Pole Dancing Facts

• Contemporary pole dancing is the product of traditions from across the world, including Chinese pole, Pole Mallakhamb from India, as well as exotic dance styles such as belly dance, Rhumba, Tango and burlesque.

• Pole dancing first appeared in strip clubs in the late 1960’s but was not popularized until the 1980’s.

• Fawnia Dietrich taught the first pole fitness class in 1994.

• There are currently over 600 pole fitness studios in the United States and 1500 total in over 85 countries around the world

• Pole dancing competitions began in strip clubs in the 1990’s. Today, there are competitions at all levels throughout the world.

• There is currently a movement to have pole dancing included in the 2020 Olympics.

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