Monday, October 29, 2007

Idle threat of the week

Did you know that modern ballet was born in 14 century France, where nimble peasant girls performed flexible but sexually suggestive dances for male members of King Phillipe VI's court and other invited nobility?

You probably didn't, because I just made that up.

Yet a growing community of pole dancers who are trying to get pole dancing taken seriously both as a sport and an art seem to think this a typical metamorphosis for a dance form.

Pole dancing first left the strip club and entered the into mainstream when celebrities Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra made it part of their commercial work out tapes. At that point, there was no denying pole dancing's origins -- Electra's workout series was called the "Official Aerobic Striptease Workout."

Earlier this year the New York Times titillated with an article on "pole dancing parties," events in which middle-aged suburban women get together to work out by simulating sex with a pole.

There was controversy in Australia a couple weeks ago when the word got out girls as young as 12 were participating in pole dancing classes. Although, it should be noted, if you want to get good at simulating sex with a pole it is best to start young.

A sentiment the organizers of the Miss Pole Dance World would rather not address, as they have made such an effort to desexualize their events Miss Pole Dance England was stripped of the world title for "stripping" during her routine. Surprising, because the "stripping" was little more than the removal of her shoes.

You can't just will the skank off of an activity by denying its roots -- especially when the activity's most popular practitioners are still trying their best to make it even more skanky. Pole dancing will be considered an art form about when putting a car on blocks and sticking it in your front yard will be considered a sculpture.

And all attempts to remove the stigma from pole dancing will be the Idle Threat of The Week for October 22-28. Now that that is done with, we eagerly await the day health clubs tear down their stripper poles and install free standing glass showers so women can participate in the latest edgy dance/exercise craze: Jumping into the shower with a friend or two and rhythmically lathering each other up to the sounds of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

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