Defy Gravity blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Real history

May 9, 2019

Full stop. Pole dance was started by strippers. Anyone who is telling you otherwise is whitewashing the apparatus. But what does this all mean and why should you care?


Depending on how long you've been poling and what studio's you've visited, it's possible you may not be aware of the divide that exists between pole fitness, or pole hobbyists, and strippers and the sex work community. Pole dance was created by strippers in the strip club. This is true. And yet, if you do a quick Google search for "the real history of pole", many of the links will be pole studio websites swearing up and down that Chinese pole and various medieval dances are somehow the origin of a sport that holds competitions where people dance in 8" heels. Yeah. It's bad. The pole fitness industry as a whole has grossly failed sex workers and strippers in allowing this distancing to occur (anyone remember the #notastripper hashtag and what a disgrace that was?), and the changes we are committed to making are so we can use our position of privilege as a pole studio to support sex workers and strippers in our community and beyond.


We are course correcting our curriculum to be even more transparent about pole's origins. We will use our media outlets to signal boost relevant news to the stripper and sex work community, with a focus on resources for local strippers and sex workers. As pole continues to evolve and grow, we hope that all pay homage to those who brought it to us.