After three years of renting out space elsewhere, Jordan Vaughan held a grand opening on Saturday for her designated pole dancing studio, where she will hold daily classes and continue to master her craft.
Chrome Pole Dance Studio is an inclusive place. People of all ages, including a teacher age 57, body types and weights and those of different genders are invited in. Classes just need to be booked ahead of time for those interested in learning the art.
Vaughan told The Post that she has been dancing her whole life in a variety of genres but it was when she got “into pole” that she discovered that there was no dance studio in Guelph. She was self-taught and soon began renting space from the Flying Dance Company to pass the skills on.
Now, the many classes her and her teachers run can be from her own studio, where they had to construct a wide room with several poles that fold up into the ceiling on Carden St., across from the central bus station. Interested parties can sign up for classes via the dance studio’s website.
Pole dancing has been described as a sport, an art form, a fitness activity and clearly, a dance. Though the popularity of the pole appears to stay strong enough for there to be studios across the country, there is a long history behind the physically strenuous movement.
The origins of pole dancing can be traced back 800 to 900 years ago, according to several written histories. “Poling”, as some call it, has been adopted around the world and used in several different capacities.
Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport that uses a wooden pole, much wider than a modern dance pole. Typically performed by men, they would perform acrobatic and yoga-inspired tricks on the pole.
The Indian form is the oldest form of recorded performance that used vertical poles as apparatus. Like modern pole dancing, it requires a serious amount of strength, agility and stamina to perform.
Performances for Chinese Pole, one of the original pole dancing types, often employed dual poles, up to 20 feet high. The dancers would perform climbs, inversions and would also leap between the two poles, which were silicone or powder-coated, allowing the performer to complete their routines fully-clothed.
In the United States, pole dancing became synonymous with travelling sideshows in the late 1800s. People would watch the showcases to experience exotic dancing from around the world, including belly dancing from the Middle East and pole dancing from Asia, according to Pole Fit Freedom.
This eventually, in part, evolved into the pole dancing associated with the erotic adult industry in establishments of different types around the world. Though, a movement was starting on the side in the 1990s as an art form and fitness alternative, growing in popularity.
From the mid-2000s onwards, pole dancing for fitness began reaching peak popularity, with fitness classes offered in most major cities. These classes are held in gyms and dance studios, as well as continuing to be performed in adult establishments.
Pole dancing has grown to the point where there are several commercial competitions and championships, including local, regional, national and international events, where winners can win notoriety, reputation and prize money.
In 2003, pole dance instructor KT Coates launched a campaign, alongside the International Pole Sports Federation, to make pole dancing an Olympic sport.
In 2017, the Olympic Committee awarded pole dancing “special observer” status, meaning they officially recognise pole dancing as a sport. There are still two criteria for the sport to complete before getting to Olympic level, so pole dancing won’t feature in the 2020 Games.
For now, those interested in the activity can visit Guelph’s new designated pole dancing studio and learn from the experts.