Discussing Categories of Pole Dance

24th Jul 2012

Diana Pole DancingThere has been a push by some to take the "sexy" out of pole and create a fitness or tricks based style of vertical gymnastics in order to get our sport into the Olympics.  That got us at The Pole Dancing Shop talking about different styles of pole dance.  For the purpose of this blog, we are going to talk about these styles: Pole Fitness/Sport, Pole Dance/Artistic, Pole Erotic and Pole Exotic.  Please understand these are only opinions.  We understand this may be a hot button issue and welcome comments from all sides.  But please remember to keep it respectful because we are all beautiful pole dancers and we should support each other's styles!

Now, here's our take:

Some of us feel like pole fitness competitions or showcases usually leave the stilettos out.  They seem to be more tricks/contortion-based.  And pole dancing competitions should encompass the beauty of the dance, sexy or not, and may or may not include shoes (perhaps this is where the difference between pole art and pole exotic might come in).

Pole Fitness/Pole Sport:  We believe this category generally includes no heels, only a little dance, and is made up mostly of tricks.  The Pole Fit category is defined by the International Pole Championship ("IPC") as follows: "Pole Fit Champion is awarded to the competitor who demonstrates the most original, strong and creative pole tricks and combinations whilst using flawless technique and smooth transitions combined with dance/movement in an entertaining routine. Judges will be looking for pole moves and combination that display a high degree of difficulty."

Pole Dance/Pole Artistic: We feel like this form of dance may or may not include heels and will incorporate more dance, although tricks may certainly be part of a routine.  IPC defines Pole Art as follows: "Pole Art Champion is awarded to the competitor who performs a routine that is more performance based. They are expected to perform a themed routine in which they will develop a character and tell a story. The performance and routine should be more focused on movement to music, showmanship, interpretation of their song and creative choreography. The competitor is still expected to show a high level of skill and technique on the pole but the performance side of the routine is where the majority of points will be awarded."

Shelly Lamb Pole Dancing

Pole Erotic: We felt like this category was best suited for stripping.  Most likely the dancer will be wearing heels and will be able to perform tricks, as well as dance.

Pole Exotic:  We believe this dancer will most often dance in heels.  We thought it was most likely a cross between Pole Artistic and Pole Erotic, although it would not include the removal of clothing.  The dancing may be considered sexier than with Pole Dance/Art.  As stated above, perhaps the wearing of heels is what separates this category from Pole Artistic.

We also understand that you could easily swap the Erotic and Exotic names.  What would you name these categories?

Do you agree with any of our descriptions?  We would love to hear about your own categories of pole dance too!

Photo credits: Diana Kottke of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness.  Shelly Lamb of Shelly's Pole Studio.  Both photos by Liquidpulp Photography.