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Building Em(power)ment With Pole Dancing

The life of an ordinary person is occupied with endless meetings and hours spent on completing responsibilities, which leaves no time for self-expression. It’s seemingly impossible to find a pleasurable activity or hobby where you can work on your outer appearance and inner emotional state and still have time to socialise with new and interesting people.

However, this status quo of daily living is set to change with the rise of…. pole dancing.

When researching pole dancing/ fitness on the net, you are bombarded with articles and opinion pieces (not all of them from militant feminists) endorsing not only the health benefits of this hobby but also the empowerment of women.

The average person may assume there is only one type of pole dancing, the sleazy kind, but there are other styles such as pole fitness, which is “athletic” and “artistic,” and has nothing to do with dancing provocatively, and this is exactly what I experienced on a cloudy Saturday morning. *Cue…cringe-inducing visions of myself wearing a black speedo, sweating profusely while trying to lift myself and inevitably failing.

While pole fitness has been gaining acceptance in recent years as a form of physical fitness, classes are offered in dance studios across Cape Town, attended by both women and a small amount of men but all of them accepting.

“Over the past two years the sport has grown rapidly in South Africa comparing to the slow start it had in the beginning. From only having one competition annually to having regional competitions to national competitions that qualifies athletes to compete at the international pole dance championships held in London. South Africa now hosts – Pole Theatre SA, a competition that has been running for a number of years but mostly hosted in other countries and quickly putting South Africa on the map when it comes to pole dance fitness,” says Samantha Hendricks, studio owner of Pole Dance Cape Town in Loop Street.

When watching the ladies at Pole Dance Cape Town pull themselves up using the strength gained by dedicated attendance, you will be hard pressed to call it “offensive” or “disempowering”. No, what is on display is exceptional athletic ability and strength. If you took away the pole and instead included a beam or a ribbon, it would be considered gymnastics and would be undertaken at an Olympic level. And there I was, accepted by these sporty ladies in all my unfit flabbiness, cheering me on every time I completed a lift or twirl, regardless if I was successful or not.

Not only was it a great way to embrace my inner sexiness (who knew I had such a thing?), but it also has numerous health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Pole dancing is hard, sweaty work but by its aerobic and high impact nature, allows you to build strength and burn fat effortlessly and with fun.

– Written by Patrick (Amplicon PR)

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