Ever wonder how they do it? Stay so fit and trim, that is. Well, for a group of ladies, and even some gentlemen, in China, a fitness trend sweeping the country may have just taken hold. Although not yet an Olympic event, it is sure to make heads turn.
Just days away from the Olympic games, there are stories popping up all over about what to do and eat while in Beijing. But after one has had their fill of sausage on a stick, where can they go to work off the extra calories? Why not try the latest trend in Chinese fitness: a pole dancing class.
Designed after the routines often seen in the strip clubs, the latest aerobic craze to sweep across China is pole dancing and the Lolan Pole Dancing School owner, Luo Lan, claims to be the trendsetter.
Lan opened up her school in 2006 after witnessing the erotic dance form during a Paris vacation. It was already a fitness craze in America so with around $3,000 US dollars and a little tweak here and there, she opened up a school and the students began to show up.
As reported by the IHT:
[Lan]realized that if she could take away the shadier aspects of the erotic dance and repackage it into an activity more acceptable to mainstream Chinese women, she might create a Chinese fitness revolution. Here was an exercise that would allow women to stay fit and express their sexuality with an unprecedented degree of openness and freedom.
In just a couple of years, the fitness craze took hold and her school became a success blossoming into five studios and a sixth one in the works. Even the mainstream media has written stories about her school. Earlier this year, select members of the Lolan Pole Dancing Studio were invited to perform on a televised talkshow, sparking additional interest in the erotic fitness craze.
Lan's school isn't the only one in operation, with Hua LIng opening a pole dancing school not long after the premier studio opened up its doors. Still, despite its ability to reach a fitness starved group who took to the pole possibly out of boredom or just looking for something new and exciting, the clothes-on aerobic's class has been met with strong objections, calling it inappropriate.
For some, mainstream exercise can become monotonous and eventually, individuals will give up. Pole dancing, with clothing in tact, provides more than just a cardio workout. It also engages core muscles as well as challenges problem areas like the arms. When a student is challenged to hold themselves in suspension, it is anything less than easy. "Keeping your grip is the hardest part, It's really easy to slide downward." the IHT quoted one of Lan's students saying in response to the class.
Pole dancing does more than just work the body. It also taps into the mind, increasing the practitioners self image and body awareness. The sensual aspect is, for many, what attracts them to the class.
Just recently, Lan hosted the first ever Pole Dancing competition in Beijing that drew in approximately 50 competitors. The event was backed by the Asian Bodybuilding Federation.
Since around 2003, exercise classes have been popping up across the United States, United Kingdom and Europe making this less of a stripper art and more of a fitness tool. Just one more class to appeal to differing tastes.
So if you ever wondered about the lean physiques of these women and are bored with that daily jog or the virility associated with the weight room, then put on those PVC thigh-high boots and hit a pole class near you.