Not too long ago, we briefly discussed the history of pole dance. We discovered that, although dancing around a pole of sorts has roots older than time, modern pole dance studios have only been around since the first was opened by Fawnia Dietrich in Canada in 1994. Sheila Kelley followed suit in the United States, opening her first in the early 2000's.
We did find, through StudioVeena.com, an interesting movie clip showing a couple in the movie, White Christmas, incorporating a little pole work into their dance routine (the pole scene starts about two minutes into the video). The dance was performed by Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen and the movie was released in 1954. Although many will argue that the "pole dancing" included in this clip is not exactly the same kind of pole dancing as the rest of us like to do, in those times, it would most likely have been considered somewhat risqué.
We thought we should pay homage to other pole pioneers all over the world who may have been among the first in their country to open a studio. Today we add the following countries and their pioneers of pole:
Bobbi and Vanessa opened Bobbi's Pole Studio pole studio in Australia in 2004. They currently have three locations in Australia, one in Malaysia and one in Singapore. Pole Diva's, located in Melbourne, was opened by Kennetta Hutchens and has also been in existence since 2004. They currently have four locations. Lady Love Pole Dance Studio was opened by Cristie Love in South Australia (Adelaide), also in 2004. One of the original students, Julie, purchased the studio and still runs it to this day.
The Studio was the first pole dance studio in New Zealand, and was opened in 2007.
Pole Passion opened in Brighton UK in 2003/2004, although Kay Penney started teaching in 2001. She also went on the develop Miss Pole Dance competitions in 2005 and the World Pole Sport and fitness championships in 2009.
KT Coates opened Vertical Dance Pole Fitness School, in Hertfordshire, in 2006. She also had the first website with pole dancing video clips. However, she was involved in the pole world long before she opened her studio and helped with the final improvement/development and launch of X-Pole in the UK starting in 2004.
Other UK pioneers include PoleFit, in Staffordshire, which was established in 2005 by Faye Chatterley. Claire Wright opened Pole Secrets, located in Kent, in 2005. Pole Position Tuition was initially opened by Ruth Townsend in 2005. Poleminx was Surrey's first pole dancing school, opened in 2005. It is now part of The Kingston Pole Dance studio, with multiple locations. Purity Pole Dancing, first located in Twickenham, was opened by Jolene in 2006. They now have multiple locations.
Pole Dance Tokyo (formerly known as Art Flow Tokyo) was opened by Lu Nagata in January 2007, after she learned pole dancing in New York. She previously taught pole dancing in Tokyo in 2006 prior to opening the studio. Eye Candy Pole Dance was also opened in January 2007 by Yossy. Reiko opened her studio, Luxurica, in April 2007.
Lolan Pole Dancing School claims to be the first pole dancing school in China, although we couldn't find an exact date it was opened. They now have ten locations. Hualing International Dance School/Dance Studio, located in Shanghai, has been offering classes since 2006/early 2007. The school now over 50 franchises located throughout China.
Jitterbugs Swingapore claims to be the first studio in Singapore. They opened in 1994 and started offering exotic dance in 2007. They are now partnered with Bobbi's. Groove Dance opened in 2005.
Although information has been hard to come by, it appears that Pink Paradise Pole School may have been the first pole studio in France. It was opened sometime around 2006. The first instructor, and organizer of the France Pole Dance Championship, is Mariana Baum.
Poledancexfit claims to the first pole dance studio in Rome and opened in 2008. Vertical Dolls Studio also claims to be the first studio opened in Rome, however it doesn't appear that they opened until 2009. According to Pole Dance Italy, the first professional school was PoleXGym, opened by Titty Tamantini. Dana Hesse opened the first exotic dance school in Milan. The exact dates these studios opened is unclear.
The first studio in Norway was Sometimes Pole Studio in Oslo. It was opened by Lisa Gabrielsen. The began hosting bachelorette parties in 2005, and expanded to teaching in 2007. The studio was officially opened in 2008.
North Pole Dancing was opened in Stockholm in 2007. Nelle Swan of North Pole Dancing is also one of the creators of Pole Art competition and showcase. The fourth annual show will be held in Sweden in August of 2012.
Rock The Pole claims, on their website, to be the first and only dance school in Finland that specializes in pole dancing. The date they opened is unclear. However, Tanja Suni, of Aerial Dancing in Helsinki, learned to pole dance in Australia where she worked in 2004-2007. She then returned to Finland to open her own studio. She is also the co-creator of Pole Art.
It is unclear exactly when pole dancing became popular in Africa. The Pole Studio went from the UK to South Africa. BodyMind Studios has multiple locations.
S&H Pole Dance Fitness opened in approximately 2006. Gravity Studio appears to be another popular studio in Mexico but it is unclear when they opened.
The first studio was opened in 2007 by Elizangela do Reis from Argentina. In January 2008, Cristina Longhi opened Academia Pole Dance in Sao Paolo, which is still opened to this day. Rafaela Montanaro, who recently competed at IPC in Hong Kong, trains with Cristina. Pole Dance Academy of Bahia (APDB) was opened by Klaudhya Souza, and they headed up first pole dance event in January 2009.
Neta Lee Levy is a pioneer in Israel. She initially taught lessons at a circus school and opened Funky Goddess in 2009. The first pole dance convention was in 2010 and was hosted by The Israel Pole Dance & Fitness Academy. The owner is Alisa Pleskova.
In 2007, Elena Shishkova opened the first pole dance and pole fitness studio "POLEDANCE" in Moscow, Russia. She is considered to be the founder of pole dancing in Russia.
We are continuing to research this subject and have enjoyed learning about pole dancing all over the world. If you know of any studios and countries we have missed, please let us know by leaving a comment below!
We would like to thank Valentina of Pole Dance Italy for helping us with additional information on France and Italy; Mundo Pole for information on Brazil; "NorwegianNina" (from StudioVeena.com) for information on Norway and Sweden; and Pole Passion for information on the UK.