Pole dancing, often referred to as pole fitness within the community, is an exhilarating sport that combines strength, flexibility, endurance, and creativity. Despite its athletic nature, pole dancers around the world face challenges in gaining recognition as sportspersons. In the Indian context, where cultural norms and stereotypes surrounding pole dancing persist, it becomes crucial to shed light on the sport’s true essence and highlight its potential as a legitimate athletic endeavour.
Pole dancing has long been associated with sexual pleasure and erotic dancing, perpetuating a negative stigma that hampers its recognition as a sport. However, it is important to challenge these preconceived notions and embrace the athletic aspects of pole dancing. Performers in the pole fitness community are committed athletes who train rigorously to achieve impressive strength, grace, and agility. By focusing on the athletic elements rather than the societal stereotypes, we can begin to appreciate pole dancing as a sport in its own right.
Recognition on the Global Stage
In 2017, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) granted “observer status” to the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), providing temporary official recognition to pole dancing as a sport. This milestone marked a significant step towards acknowledging the athletic prowess and competitive nature of pole fitness. The IPSF works tirelessly to establish standard rules, guidelines, and safety measures for the sport, further solidifying its legitimacy in the sporting world.
Qualifying Pole Fitness as a Sport
The inclusion of pole dancing in the realm of sports raises questions about its classification as a sport. While pole fitness may not conform to traditional definitions of athleticism, it undeniably requires immense physical strength, agility, and composure. Athletes perform acrobatic moves, spins, holds, and transitions with precision and control. These elements demand rigorous training, discipline, and dedication, just like any other recognized sport.
Pole Dancing in the Indian Context
In India, pole dancing still faces resistance due to cultural norms and conservative mindsets. The association of pole dancing with stripping and club culture further deepens the challenges in gaining acceptance as a legitimate sport. However, the Indian pole fitness community has been actively working to change perceptions and promote the sport’s true essence. Through educational initiatives, public performances, and competitions, they aim to showcase the athleticism and artistry involved in pole dancing.
The Potential Impact
Recognizing pole dancing as a sport in India is essential for it not only provides an avenue for individuals to embrace fitness in an unconventional and enjoyable way, Pole fitness classes promote body positivity, self-expression, and empowerment. Additionally, the sport has the potential to attract a diverse range of participants, breaking barriers related to age, body type, and gender. By encouraging inclusivity and diversity, pole dancing can contribute to a more inclusive sporting landscape in India.
Prominent Pole Dancers from India: Inspiring Experiences and Achievements
Nupur Chaudhuri, a 34-year-old entrepreneur, former journalist, and pole dance instructor residing in Pune, has dedicated the last four years to mastering the art of pole dancing. In 2020, she achieved a remarkable feat by securing a silver medal in Level 3 of the 2020 PSO Libra Virtual Pole Championships. Notably, Nupur was the sole representative from India in this prestigious international competition, making her the first Indian to earn a pole performance medal. Her exceptional accomplishment demonstrates her talent, dedication, and the growing recognition of Indian pole dancers on the global stage.
Aarushi Vikram, a pole dancer based in Noida, has dedicated herself to the art form for the past five and a half years. Her journey has not only enhanced her physical fitness but also had a profound impact on her mental well-being. Aarushi firmly believes that pole dancing is a sport that is inclusive and accessible to everyone, irrespective of their fitness level, body weight, height, or background in dance, gymnastics, or calisthenics. She emphasizes that whether one is a beginner or lacks experience in related disciplines, pole dancing offers equal opportunities and benefits for all individuals. It is a transformative activity that promotes fitness, self-care, and embraces diversity, creating a welcoming space for anyone interested in participating. Aarushi’s experiences exemplify the empowering and inclusive nature of pole dancing, showcasing its ability to foster physical and mental well-being in a supportive and diverse community.
Anusha Swami is a multifaceted artist who has captivated audiences as a makeup artist extraordinaire and a skilled dance choreographer. However, it is her transformative work in the realm of pole dancing that has truly set her apart. With a substantial following on Instagram, Anusha has successfully reshaped the perception of pole dancing, elevating it from a risqué and overly sexualized form to a stunning, empowering art form. Anusha expresses her deep fascination and passion for pole dancing, describing it as an obsession. She highlights the immense liberation she experienced while engaging in this art form. The sensation of being able to “fly” on the pole provided her with a profound sense of freedom. Through pole dancing, Anusha found a form of expression that allowed her to break free from limitations and explore new physical and emotional boundaries. The feeling of liberation she experienced while practising pole dancing was incredibly empowering and transformative for her.
Pole dancing, or pole fitness, deserves recognition as a sport due to its athletic demands, creativity, and competitive nature. While societal stereotypes and cultural norms have hindered its acceptance, the growing global recognition and efforts within the Indian pole fitness community are paving the way for change. By challenging preconceived notions, embracing athleticism, and highlighting the positive impact on fitness and empowerment, we can foster a more inclusive and accepting environment for pole dancing as a sport in India. Let us celebrate the strength, endurance, and creativity of pole dancers and appreciate their dedication to this unique and empowering form of athleticism. As more individuals embrace this unique sport, we can look forward to a future where pole dancing gains further recognition and acceptance in India’s sporting landscape.