Pole World Controversy

While those of us who study pole dancing as a form of art, expression or athleticism hold it in the highest of standards, we must admit this is not always the case. With a sport that dates back to strip clubs, it is difficult to escape a bit of controversy.

As many of you may know Philip Deal was recently banished from the Florida Pole Fitness Championship for working in the adult entertainment industry. This is a direct violation of the organization’s rules and regulations. This action further escalated a conflict when the FPFC participated in “Nude Nite,” a local art exposé celebrating the “beauty of the nude”, which many viewed as a hypocritical action. The organization defended its participation in the event stating it was not pornographic but rather a respected art exhibition. Nonetheless, there has been a controversial Facebook attack happening ever since.

I have to admit that I find the conflict intriguing and difficult to side with. As pole dancers, we are well aware that our sport is associated with dingy bars and exotic roots. The fact that dancing has branched out to become an athletic sport and an expression of art simply does not sway peoples beliefs that it is too sexual.


Which leads to the question of why we fear sexuality so much? Do we believe that it’ degrading to women to be sexually empowered? Do we believe it creates women to be seen as objects? Or do we believe that sexuality is simply a private matter, to be left at home? I think before we start condemning people who express themselves sexually, we need to figure out what exactly we’re afraid of and why.

With pole dancing growing at such an alarming rate, I do believe that an organization is needed to regulate not just pole dancing but the three branches of it. As Jenyne Butterfly explains, three branches of pole dancing stand out: exotic, athletic and artistic, and I couldn’t agree more. As it stands though, we have small groups and organizations trying to do only one aspect of dance or parts of everything. Meaning that everyone has their own rules, beliefs, values and ideas as to how pole should be completed. This is great because it allows for so many ideas, opportunities and differences in the pole community, but it also causes some internal disputes.

Too Sexy! Not Fitness! Not Appropriate!

Too Sexy! Not Fitness! Not Appropriate!

In order for pole dancing to continue to grow as an industry, we need common ground. Bickering like five year olds over Facebook is not the way to accomplish this. Yes it will take time, after all, we’re just starting to find out really what we can accomplish as a community. But as a community, we need to stand together, support each other and teach those who believe all dancing should be ousted that our goal is not to start a sexual revolution.

The Pole’r Bear Blog said it best when they stated ” Peace is not having everyone agree or think the same way. Peace is finding amicable ways to respectfully handle inevitable conflicts. I think there is a way we can allow pole dancing to naturally divide and transform while realizing the basic principle of movement we are all performing…is the same.”