Sunday, November 29, 2009

Miss Pole Dance 2009

The difference between the gymanst's bar and the dancer's pole is that one is horizontal while the other is vertical. The versatile sport of pole dancing combines striptease-influenced sensual dancing and gymanstic circus acrobatics. Next I'll present videos from three pole traditions - striptease-influenced pole dancing, mallakhamb and Chinese circus.

This is a good combination of acrobatics and striptease influences:
  • At 0:15, she's first doing a split and combining it to striptease-style leg-waving.
  • At 0:32, more split variations follow.
  • At 1:15, she's doing a cartwheel and some handstand walking.
  • At 2:10, leg-waving upside down (!)

Mainly women practise Western pole dancing. In contrast, Chinese pole acrobatics needs so much strength that you only see men doing it. The aesthetics is about quick, explosive transitions and grace instead of cute sensuality.

The Hindi word Mallakhamb means "pole gymanstics". The influence of yoga is visible, when the man puts his leg behind his neck in Sirasana style.

Women do Mallakhamb with ropes.

This last video is from an American pole dancing competition. It is the most striptease-minded, but what I've seen in strip clubs is nothing like this. In theory, I'm all for sexually explicit dancing. In practise, the few times I've gone to strip clubs the strippers have mainly rubbed themselves against the pole and done a few swirls. They rely too much on naked skin. If I want to watch sexy dancing, I'd rather go to some electronic music event, where some girls put effort into dancing well. Wearing stylish clothes enables them to stay in relaxed mood and put up much better show.

In Friday, I was in a pre-Christmas party and Miss Pole Dance 2009 was held next door. I expected something like in these videos, but the overall level was quite low. The venue, Be-pop, was the tackiest nightclub I've seen anywhere. In general, pole dancing in Tampere seems to be about tattooed prole girls doing striptease gestures and basic gymnastics in 15cm tops and 10cm pants.


Anonymous said...

Don't judge pole dancers in Tampere by what you see in Bepop. Most of the truly skilled ones wouldn't even bother participating in their contest, and it certainly wasn't even an unofficial 'Finnish Championship' contest as they put it.

Simo said...

Now that we have a reader who knows the scene, when is the next event where the truly skilled ones perform? :)

It wasn't difficult to guess that top ones were elsewhere, for example I didn't see a single split performed, even though 7th Heaven teaches several split variations in level 2 and 3 groups.

Also, the competition lasted less than an hour so I missed most of it. That's exceptionally short for any competition.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you asked... :) There has been talk about open showcases in Tampere and Helsinki some time in the spring, though nothing has been confirmed yet. Meanwhile, do check out the Finnish winner of the Pole Art 2009 competition (which had participants from other countries, as well):

Other Finns did well, too, and their videos can also be found on YouTube.

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