Chinese Pole is pretty amazing to watch! Acrobats perform moves on tall rubber-coated poles – moves that require a great amount of strength and agility.
According to www.circopedia.org, this sport or performing act dates back over two thousand years ago and is said to have started with bored farmers and villagers that didn’t have anything to do during the winter except become acrobats, jugglers and learn other entertaining acts of skill.
This over time evolved into travelling troupes that have become more of what we see today in this type of performance. Cirque de Soleil even began hiring Chinese acrobats for their show in the 1990’s because of their spectacular talent.
According to Wikipedia, the performers climb, slide down and hold poses on vertical poles and some of the poles even spin so that the performer can do tricks that make the pole spin faster or slower. Sounds a bit like the spin pole I have learned!
The traditional way of performing this style of acrobatics is for the performer to be fully clothed and perform on 10-30 foot tall, rubber-coated pole. Today the acts are performed on both horizontal and vertical poles and the performers wear fitted clothing and sometimes a special kind of shoe called Feiyue shoes.
Students that are learning this sport build an incredible amount of upper body and core strength, much like in pole fitness and go on to perform some of the more daring acts as they build strength and confidence.
Some of the moves that I have seen in these performances are not very different than the moves, spins, tricks and jumps that I have watched in performances and competitions in the modern pole dance fitness movement.
Although there is much argument as to what the real roots of modern pole dancing come from, it is hard to deny that this sport has had any influence or that pole dancers today haven’t learned a thing or two from these highly skilled acrobats.
Obviously, there are differences between this style of performance and what we do in pole today – such as the clothing or lack of, the type of pole, the level of fitness required for Chinese Pole as opposed to an advanced pole dancer. In some pole performances I have seen athletic skill like this displayed such as in somersaults, flips, back-flips onto poles and drops – so I can’t say that this is a defining difference.
But the level of grip required for a full-out performance is much different than what is used in pole dance today – chrome or steel poles as opposed to rubber-coated poles.
Some of the tricks that have defined this style and can be seen in modern pole dance performances are:
And many more that can be viewed in the Pole Dance Dictionary.