What is pole dance?

As with any relatively new discipline, pole dance is still trying to define itself.  In some ways, this makes it very difficult for new students, as they don't really know what to expect from a class.  In other ways, it's a fantastic opportunity.  Pole dance is about you, and what you want from it.

Pole dance can be a sport, as demonstrated by the amazing Felix.  There is even a campaign to include pole dance in the Olympics.  If you want to explore the sport side of pole dance, you will be concentrating on pole tricks (many of them inverts - where you are upside down) and how best to show your abilities within the parameters set by the specific competition.

Pole dance can be a form of self expression, as advocated by Yannori.  Many forms of dance can be used to express strong emotion, and pole dance has the advantage of being almost exclusively an individual dance.  This is an incredibly personal aspect of pole dance, and can lead to some breathtaking performances.  If this type of pole dance interests you, you will find that you spend time working on smooth transitions and a feeling of being 'grounded' or 'centred', similar to that worked towards in some forms of yoga and tai chi.

Pole dance can be primarily fitness
.  Pole dance is one of the best forms of exercise I've encountered, and has a perfect balance between strength-building and cardiovascular work.  If this is your aim, you will be focusing on increasing your strength and endurance, and using increasingly advanced moves and longer music as a way of measuring your progress.

Pole dance can be aerial gymnastics
.  Very much like pole dance as a sport, the aerial gymnastics aspect of pole dance is awe-inspiring.  The difference here is that you will most likely not be interested in competing and working within the rules of a competition, but will be working harder at flexibility.

Pole dance can be sexy, as shown by Alethea Austin.  Whether you're looking to go as far as becoming a stripper, or simply enjoy feeling a bit sexy and sultry during a workout, this is another wonderful aspect of pole dance.  If this is what you're looking for, you'll be bringing a lot of attitude and personality into your dance, and probably looking at doing quite a lot of floorwork and spins.

Pole dance is FUN!  This is the only aspect of pole dance that every student should aim for.  Whatever you want pole dance to be, whether it's one of the above types in it's purest form, or (most likely) a combination of all of them in some measure, it's all about having fun.