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Pole Dancing History

Pole dancing is an ancient art form combining dance with gymnastics. Pole dancing is believed to have originated in India, in the form of gymnastics known as Mallakhamb. Mallakhamb is a display of strength that involves the gymnast maintaining various postures on a large vertical wooden pole. For instance, gymnasts would attempt to maintain a horizontal position in the air, gripping the pole tightly with their hands and extending their legs outwards.

Often a Mallakhamb display would involve several pole dancers at once. The dancers would also, as a specialty move, leap from pole to pole, in a manner similar to modern acrobatics. Mallakhamb originated around eight hundred years ago, making it one of the first forms of dance and gymnastics combined.

Traditional Mallakhamb

Source: Wikipedia

It was in the 1920s that pole dancing truly came to the western world. Traveling circuses and acrobats would often fix a vertical pole, or set of poles, to the floor and perform feats similar to the Mallakhamb gymnasts in India.

These circus tricks involved somersaulting off and onto the pole, creating striking shapes by clinging on to the pole, and sliding up and down the pole.

In the 1980s, pole dancing took off as a form of dance that was especially associated with stripteases and Go Go dancing. However, in the 1990s, the pole dancing art form was reclaimed as a more mainstream mode of dance, and a great way of keeping fit. Since the 90s, pole dancing fitness clubs have been springing up in ever greater numbers, teaching people to improve their strength and muscle tone by means of the art of pole dancing. Professional pole dancers often perform at dance competitions and other modern dance related events.

Pole dancing has a long and rich history. It has come a long way from its origins as a display of strength. However, pole dancing still retains its relationship to gymnastics and keeping fit for many people in the present day. In the twenty first century, pole dancing can be whatever the individual dancer wants it to be. For some it is a regular part of their exercise routine. Pole dancing also remains a staple choice for many erotic dancers.

Professional dancers seek to test the limits of pole dancing by thinking up new and inventive moves for high caliber dance contests. With all the advances in this sport it is still recognised from its origins as Mallakhamb and is engaged in its traditional form in India!