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Stripping away the sleazy reputation of pole dancing

May 24, 2009 | 11:17 am

Pole dancing competition OK, admit it. When we say "pole dancing," the first image that comes to mind is a dark, seedy nightclub populated by not-so-exotic dancers and and their "adoring" public. That or the 1995 comedy-meant-to-be-drama film "Showgirls."

But in recent years, pole dancing has gained acceptance as a form of physical fitness and even a competition sport.

"I want to see pole dancing get away from the stripper connotation," says 30-year-old Laura Martin, a San Diego-based performer and personal fitness instructor. "I want people to see it's like any other dance form."

Read Susan Joseph's story about the efforts to redefine pole dancing and bring it into the mainstream.

--Lisa Fung 

Photo: Laura Martin performs a Cirque du Soleil-style dance at Club Good Hurt in Mar Vista. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (4)


I was reading your article on Pole Dancing in the LA Times and found it intriguing. Good article, but shocked not to see one mention of Sheila Kelley's S Factor movement, THE movement that pioneered the pole dancing workouts across the globe.

For a piece on empowering the female movement and shedding away the taboo view of the "pole," I thought this lacked the one key ingredient that made pole dancing mainstream, Sheila Kelley.

I've been practicing Sheila's movements for 5 years, since she came to Kansas City to promote her book about S Factor. This article should have made mention to S Factor and it's influence on this movement.

-A Concerned Reader

How can your editor allow this story about stripping away the sleazy reputation of pole dancing in Los Angeles without mentioning the woman who created the concept of pole dancing as fitness, Sheila Kelley, in 1999? And this is where it all began.

It is about time the LA Times chronicles the continuing struggle for social acceptance of this amazing feminine workout. It's disheartening that the many facets of its benefits were not researched and reported. Maybe the reporter /editors could have started researching the LA Times archives in 2002 or any other major metropolitan newspaper; or even the Oprah website. No story about the respectability of pole dancing being accepted as mainstream can begin without Sheila Kelley.

It appears to me that the "Concerned Readers" are more concerned about
Sheila Kelley's PR than about understanding Susan Joseph's article.

The article is about Pole Dancing as an artform, NOT pole dancing as a fitness routine.

While Sheila started Pole dancing as fitness, she has not promoted it as performance art nor has she "created" pole dancing.

Glad to see an article like this. The more that can be done for the benefit of pole dancing then the better.


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