To be honest, it just happened. To quote the legendary poet and author of the 1887 book Pole Dance (1907):
“For it was from pole to pole, up and down and around
The ground of the sky that Pole dance began,
Up and down and around, on and around the ground.”
The first documented pole dance occurred in 1887 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by John G. Miller. The story goes that Miller had heard the old song, The Pole was the Way, by Mary Wills, but it was sung for a local holiday, not a national or international celebration.
The legend, though, doesn’t stop there. Miller was the first person in America to dance with an empty pole, as the original tradition had it. In fact, in 1913 Miller went on to build his own pole dance company.
In the 1950s, after moving around and performing in many different locations, John E. Beadle started a group of dancers called the Pole Dancing Society or PDS. There, in 1951 and 1952, he put up his last pole in Columbus and, just one year ago, he celebrated its 75th anniversary.
According to the PDS website, the first pole dance, according to the old traditions, was performed by Indians as a way to attract animals into their forest. This dance was done to bring luck into the hunting season and to get the animal off its natural prey.
The old dance tradition in some countries continues today. In Canada, the Canadian Indian dance requires all the dancers to wear headdresses, which are symbolic of their ancestry. In the Philippines, it is an ancient ritual. People will gather together at a river and, while dancing, they tie together the branches of several trees, then they turn them in the river into balls of flame. If the flame is kindled successfully, the boat will be released, and if not, the boat will sink.
Why are they called “pole dancers”?
In one of his book, The Pole, John G. Miller wrote:
“The word Pole refers to the body or members of a person, that is, it signifies the point where a man’s parts lie. I believe the Pole is the most interesting part of a man’s anatomy.”
Is it still the most interesting part of our bodies?
I think so. It’s kind of like what you think it is.
A good friend of mine used