Do not be surprised if you see your friendly, neighborhood exotic dancer in the 2016 Olympics because Ania Przeplasko is working hard to make that dream a reality. While attending the Third Annual International Pole Dancing Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 9, Przeplasko, founder of the International Pole Dance Fitness Association, revealed that she is in talks with the International Olympic Committee to introduce pole dancing as a test sport at the 2016 Olympics.
Women dancing provocatively around a pole can be traced back to African tribes and the Maypole. Traditional pole dancing in clubs began in Canada in 1983, and quickly spread throughout the U.S. and Europe, gaining wide-spread popularity and disdain. It was later introduced as an all-around fitness tool and pole dancing classes became available at fitness facilities. Now, anyone can embrace their inner stripper on a socially acceptable level, thanks to celebrities like Carmen Electra, who has an entire series of work-out dvd's based on pole dancing.
"It's not just one workout," Przeplasko said, explaining why pole dancing is on rise. "When you pole dance, you combine jogging, weightlifting, and dancing all together."
The opportunity for inclusion at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be an uphill battle, and not just because of the stigma attached to it. There is no universal point system or consistent names for the various dance moves, and a sport must be approved by the International Olympic Committee's full assembly. Golf and rugby sevens made it through the approval process, but baseball, softball, squash, karate and roller sports did not. Przeplasko is attempting to enter pole dancing into the 'aerial arts' category, but if genres that are officially considered sports didn't make the cut, enticing moves modified into a gymnastics routine is a long shot.
At this year's International Pole Dance Championship, a trampolinist, former dancer, and a dance teacher tested their skills along with 25 other finalist. During a competition, each contestant is given four minutes and two 12 foot poles to show off their moves. Last years winner, Japan's Mai Sato won the women's title, Duncan West of Australia won the men's division, and Eri Kamimoto of Japan took first place in the disabled division.
Truly the transition from slinking around a pole in a strip club to a legitimate sport -Â much less an Olympic event - won't be easy but it is a good way to get more people to watch. It's also a good way to cause marital strife and increase domestic violence because Olympic committee approval doesn't mean that pole dancing will still be approved at home.
Content Â©2010 Copyright Lynnette Southwood