This is a question that has long been needing an answer, and the truth is: there isn’t one.

Pole dancing evokes so many mixed reactions, but over the past 10 years it has become a trendy way of getting fit. So, what is it that makes women and men want to have a go?

Anne Goswell founded GoesWell in 2008, a pole dance specific school in Edinburgh and Glasgow. With 16 years of experience, Anne has seen many changes in the industry, with a clear divide in dance and fitness-based teaching. One is not better than the other, but it means there is a style to suit all, regardless of gender, shape and size.

Pole dancing was first seen in ‘men only’ clubs. The stigmatisation of being a pole dancer make it impossible for people to learn such sensual ‘tricks of the trade’. However, like everything else, this was soon to change. Clubs started to invite candidates primarily to recruit, but soon realised that there was a market of women who, while looking down their noses at pole dancers, secretly wanted to know what it was all about. So the first of the pole dance craze evolved.

Women flocked to learn how to lap dance and how to ‘please their man’. What to wear for the occasion? “Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis” and the highest heels you could comfortably strut in was the uniform. Surely strolling round a pole with a pout should not be that hard? Before you know it, pole dancing is so widely accepted that there is at least one pole class running in all the major cities and surrounding towns.

How the times have changed… Pole dancing is still as sensual as you feel comfortable in the controlled environment, but it has also come into its own with flexibility and strength moves which compare to rhythmic gymnastics. Now do we not all agree that this is a truly amazing style of dance, with questioningly little covering the private areas which we deem acceptable?

If anything, pole dancing has pushed through the barrier of unacceptability to the ‘everyone can do it’ attitude today. The constant complaints are ‘it hurts’, and ‘I can’t do it’ – even the men are having a go to see what it is all about, and showing the girls how the moves are done, as it is so strength orientated and technically based that it seems beyond the capability of the Joe Bloggs.

So, let’s take it back to the good ol’ days when it didn’t matter what you looked like, and the sillier the better. Join a class in your gym clothes and bare feet, and have a laugh with a group of like-minded people. Forget the fact that you think you are not sexy or ‘fit’. Who cares?

By Anne Goswell


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