Pole dance is a form of performance art, traditionally associated with strip clubs, which combines dance and acrobatics centered around a vertical pole. This art form has recently gained popularity as a form of fitness and mainstream entertainment, practised by many enthusiasts in gyms and in dedicated dance studios. A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world.
Pole dance requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance. In a commercial pseudo-erotic setting, however, pole dance is often performed less gymnastically and is used more as a prop in striptease, Go-Go or lap dancing, with the performer simply holding the pole or moving around it without performing acrobatics. Pole dance proper involves athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions using the limbs to grip. Upper body and core strength are required to attain proficiency, and rigorous training is necessary.
Pole dance is now regarded as a recognized form of exercise and can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. Recognized schools and qualifications are now common.