By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
HARARE- Pole dancing has come to many of Harare’s hangouts and clubs where patrons turn up in large numbers to watch young women wearing very skimpy and revealing clothing dance on poles.
This new dancing craze has pushed the dance groups that used to be popular at these joints into the background; no one knows if this is a passing craze or something a little more permanent.
Oddly enough, not many people in Harare know exactly what’s involved in pole dancing as some think it’s the same as strip tease, probably from watching too many American movies where stripping while draping the body around a pole seems, at least so Hollywood imagines it to be the main entertainment in bars.
Pole dancers in Harare technically do not strip, although some costumes leave very little to the imagination.
As with all forms of dancing, a great deal depends when considering whether it is an art form, on the clothing worn or not worn, remembering that all dancing has at least some erotic element.
In Wikipedia, pole dancing is defined as a form of performing art, a combination of dance and gymnastics.
“It involves dancing and performing acrobatic tricks with a vertical pole and is an increasingly popular form of fitness and dance, practised by many enthusiasts in gyms or dedicated dance studios.
“A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world. Before the mid 2000s, pole dance mainly took place in strip clubs.
“Since then, promoters of pole dance fitness competitions have been trying to change peoples’ perception of pole dance and to promote it as a legitimate form of dance and acrobatics.
“Pole dance has furthermore been influenced by Chinese pole, a form of acrobatics that is performed in cabaret/circus and stage performances in a non-erotic environment.”
According to wikipedia pole dance in competitions is increasingly performed in a non-erotic way and is combined with a range of dance styles or gymnastics. Pole dance requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance.
“The pole dancer(s) may simply hold the pole or move around it without performing acrobatic tricks. Proper pole dance involves athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions.
“Upper body and core strength are required in order to attain proficiency, and rigorous training is necessary.”
Pole dance is now regarded as a recognised form of exercise and can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic workout.
Well, yes. But presumably the clothing worn is different when a group of young matrons do pole dancing in a church hall as exercise and what the young dancers in a Harare nightclub wear. As we say, dress, or the lack of it, is all.
Already those who have watched pole dancing in Harare whether it’s at Londoners Club in Strathaven, Archipelago in the city centre or downtown at City Sports Bar, will figure out one or two weird stuff from what’s been happening.
So pole dancing should not be confused for strip tease unless it involves stripping down and getting tips from customers say in a bar or club.
The likes of Brenda Mudyiwepasi, Beverly Sibanda, Shortgun Tarie and another only identified as Zoey are known as professional pole dancers and yet what they do on stage might be slightly different from what is commonly referred to as pole dancing.
According to Debbie Mubi of Londoner’s Club, who introduced pole dancing in Harare, the art is being done professionally with training being done by Brenda, who is based in the United Kingdom.