The Men of Pole
By: Karen Lee
PoleCon 2016 showcased a performance by the spectacular Men of Pole once again, representing the growing diversity we have in our pole dance community. For this week’s Pole Dance Nation Men of Pole theme, we talked to some of the male PoleCon performers to get their take on being a man in a female dominated sport.
Men of Pole performer Brian Wolf (@BooBooBrian on Instagram) came to PoleCon for the first time this year. He started pole dancing just 2 years ago. The biggest difference Brian encountered as a male pole dancer was the availability of classes. “Sometimes, going to co-ed classes you get looked at more. Or some women may be intimidated by the male presence, ” Brian said.
In order to have more than just one class per week, he scheduled privates with his instructor each week, which helped him improve quickly. His passion for dance kept him going in spite of the rising cost. Inspired by the flow of Nadia Sharif and Marlo Fisken, Brian strives to combine exotic movements with power pole tricks. He coins it as “Exotic pole on steroids”!
Another difficulty men of pole encounter is getting hired for gigs. There tends to be a preference for females or “really ripped men” over guys with an exotic style in heels. Since pole dancing is largely associated with women, this allowed a narrow definition of how to present and perform the genre.
With the encouragement of his trainers, contortionist Jonathan Nosan (@Contorture on Instagram) realized that by finding his own style, a clearer distinction could be made to set the stage for like-minded male artists to create and define themselves in the pole dance world.
“Men are physically stronger in general, but the word strong can mean so many things. A woman can be strong with her eyes in a way a man never would. There are so many different aspects to being strong. Each athlete has different strengths,” says Brian.
The difference in male and female pole training is also evident. Mighty Grip athlete, John Gulley (@JohnAramg on Instagram), does a significant amount of heavy strength and endurance training. He says the women in his studio do more flexibility classes.
With strength as his strongpoint, John’s training style caters to his love for flag and plank variations. However, certain types of poles aren’t able to withstand the power of his 6 foot frame. He often has to tone down his strength to prevent the pole from trying to flip. The wingspan of extending away takes up more space for his height, which may cause a problem for other classmates.
Returning performers John and Jonathan both agree the pole community is supportive and inspiring. PoleCon is a great time to meet with old friends, make new ones from across the globe, and an incredible opportunity to teach and perform. “What more could you ask from an event?”
If you would like to find out more about PoleCon 2017, visit the International Pole Convention website.
Get Featured For This Week’s Men Of Pole Theme
To submit for this week’s Men of Pole theme on the @PoleDanceNation Instagram page:
- Post your photo on the pole (Open to male pole dancers only)
- HASHTAG #PDNManPole in your caption
To submit for this week’s Men of Pole theme on the @AerialNation Instagram page:
- Post your photo of acro, contortion, or on any aerial apparatus (Open to males only)
- HASHTAG #PDNManPole in your caption
To view a list of all Pole Dance Nation yearly themes for 2016, Click Here.
Meet Blogger: Karen Lee
Since May 2015, Karen left the vibrant fashion industry of New York City to chase a new dream which changed and has continued to change her life in so many ways. Now a gypsy-dancer, she has been to several cities in North America for dance congresses, roamed through Brazil to study intensively in Brazilian ballroom dancing, and is now traveling and teaching within Asia and Southeast Asia. Karen fell in love with pole dancing shortly before leaving New York and kept up the passion by visiting different studios in every city she goes to. She now writes for PDN and has her own travel and dance blog.