Last Updated on May 21, 2023
How do pole dancers stay on the pole during a performance? Poles in strip clubs and gyms are made from shiny materials, so have you ever wondered how a pole dancer actually stays on the pole while spinning and posing?
We’re going to answer this for you!
There was a joke in a very old Simpsons episodes about “greasing stripper poles”. Well, let me tell you right now that stripper poles are most definitely not greased.
Stripper poles have a smooth surface and are plated with Chrome, Stainless Steel, Brass or Titanium. This differs from the ‘Chinese pole’ performance where the poles have a rough surface.
But how do we stay on the pole?
Sheer strength and bare skin is the crux of how pole dancers stay on the pole. Strength and technique allows us to lift our bodies into position, we then use our thighs, arms, ankles, hands and abdomen to grip the pole.
Skin Helps To Grip The Pole
Us pole dancers, we don’t just wear the shortest of shorts because they look hot af. They are actually necessary to grip the pole, without them, we wouldn’t be able to grip the pole at all.
Traditional and modern pole spins and tricks require the dancer to grip with their arms, hips, thighs, armpits, abdomen and feet. If the performer’s skin was covered in clothing, they would not be able to grip onto the pole.
In fact, skin exposure in pole dancing is an essential part of the sport.
Pole dancers who wish to dress modestly can use specially made leggings that are slightly sticky, to mimic the texture of skin during a workout.
The Sweaty Grip Balance
Pole dancers sweat when they perform. It is a high intensity workout after all.
Everyone sweats differently, so perspiration may be a blessing or a curse for a pole dancer.
Because if your skin is too dry, there’s not enough friction to grip. But if you’re too sweaty or your skin is wet, it becomes slippery on the pole.
Pole dancers will often warm up before beginning a performance to get their muscles warm and their skin ‘tacky’ ready to grip the pole.
Grip Aid Products
Sometimes, our skin works against us and we need additional help to grip the pole.
In the same way that climbers, weightlifters, tennis players and gymnasts need grip products, pole dancers do too.
We use chalk, powders, antiperspirants and other specific products designed for pole dancers and aerial performances to maintain the desired level of grip.
Some Poles Spin
It’s true. There are poles that are static and fixed in position, but there are also poles that spin with the momentum of the performer.
Spinning poles are usually considered more difficult for combinations and static poles are more difficult to spin naturally as they lack momentum. This usually leads to ‘downward spiral spins’ where the dancers finishes the move on the floor, leading nicely into some creative and sexy floor work.
On a spinning a pole, the spin continues and the ‘downward spiral’ effect doesn’t happen naturally. Spinning poles are great for fluid spins and combinations.
Static and spinning poles are made from the same material so grip problems may apply to both.
The material matters
The finish on the pole really makes a difference to its grip.
Brass and titanium poles are universally seen as easier to grip than chrome or stainless steel poles.
A silicone coated or powder coated pole cannot be used for spinning as the finish creates too much friction.
See also: The Physics of Pole Dancing
Hot and cold environments also affect our ability to grip, as well as humidity. The material used on the pole makes a difference too, some pole finishes are better suited to hot climates, such as brass.
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