It’s pretty safe to assume when someone hears mention of “pole dancing” their mind automatically starts thinking of dark, smokey strip clubs. There’s some fairly negative connotations, and for the most part, the stigma attached to the term is not necessarily a prudent one. However, a Dutch photographer by the name of Bart Erkamp is on a mission to show the other side of pole dancing.
You see, pole dancing isn’t just something found in sketchy clubs on the outskirts of town, it’s also a the basis of a rapidly growing fitness movement. In fact, gyms all around the globe are beginning to offer pole dancing classes as a legitimate way to get fit–no sultriness required. There’s classes for men, women, children–people from all walks of life are invited to get in on the fun. There’s also a world championship and governing body, the International Pole Sports Federation, that is trying their darnedest to make pole dancing an Olympic sport.
Erkamp says he became interested in photographing pole dancing while on a date in 2013 with a woman who participated in the sport. It opened him up to an entirely different side of pole dancing. He explained to Huffington Post:
“At some point during the evening we started talking about sports and she told me she was into pole fitness. At the time I had no idea pole dancing was practiced as a sport so I was quite intrigued. Even more so when she told me she was planning to install a pole in her house to practice. I immediately thought it would be a wonderful concept for a photoshoot.”
And Erkamp did just that. He traveled to a regional competition where he was blown away by how physically demanding the sport was. He saw pole dancing as a form of artistic gymnastics. For his collection of photographs aptly titled, Pole Fitness, Erkamp visited the homes of some of the athletes he’d met, all of whom had a pole installed in their houses. The result is Bart Erkamp’s aptly titled collection of photographs, Pole Fitness, which you can check out, in part, right here.
To see more from Pole Fitness and see other work from Erkamp, you can visit his website, here.