Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Pole Sport ("Pole Dancing")

What comes to mind right away when you hear "Pole Dancing" is scantily clothed women dancing around a pole in nightclubs. But the fact that it is a form of performance art, which requires a great deal of flexibility, strength and endurance, and is contested competitively, is practically unknown to most of them.

As part of the move away from the negative perception of pole dancing, you will find it referred to pole sport or vertical dance.

In competitions, participants perform various type of acrobatic moves like spins, climbs, twists and body inversions. There are both, events where participants contest individually and events where participants compete as a team. All routines performed are judged based on the types of moves and the degree of difficulty. There are however no universally codified rules for judging routines and it varies based on the event organizers.

Pole dancing as a competitive sport is currently practiced in many countries like the United States, the UK and Australia, all of which host national level "Miss Pole Dance" competitions. There are also major international competitions conducted under the banner of "Miss Pole Dance World" and “World Pole Sport & Fitness".

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Pole dancing, which has long been regarded mostly as an activity for women, is slowly gaining popularity among men also. Some prestigious competitions like the PoleArt and World Pole Sports Championship have opened up separate events where men compete.

In 2017, the International Pole Sports Federation was given 'observer status' by the Global Association of International Sports Federations, paving the way for it to be considered officially a sport, though we are not sure we will be seeing it at the Olympics any time soon.

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Check out our Encyclopedia of Every Sport. Well not every sport, as there is a list of unusual sports, extinct sports and newly created sports. How to get on these lists? See What is a sport?

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