While pole dancing is frequently associated with gentlemen's clubs, strip clubs, and the circus, it has actually become a recognized form of exercise in which participants receive both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. There are a number of pole dancing schools that offer classes from accredited instructors across the country. The artistic display of athleticism has taken a step beyond recreation and has become sporting, as pole dancing competitions have cropped up. While the contests have only been around for several years, a number of competitors are pushing for the sport to be included in the Olympics. The U.S. Pole Dance Federation's West Coast regionals just wrapped up in the Bay Area, and winners will advance to the U.S. Pole Dance Championships that will be held in New York at some point in March.
Enrique Marcarian / Reuters
Professional pole dancer Elizabeth Munoz of Peru performs her routine in the Miss Pole Dancing Argentina and Sudamerica 2010 competition in Buenos Aires on Nov. 6. Munoz won the title of Miss Pole Dancing Sudamerica 2010 in the professional category, beating 15 other finalists selected from around the region.