It is said that the first pole dancing contest was held in Philadelphia in 1879 and was known as the “Peachtree Pole Dancing Contest” and “Peachtree Pole Dance Club”. The competition involved contestants standing on two poles. Pole dance at the time was generally done by dancers who have moved up or down a wooden pole. The pole dance contests were very popular at both the Philadelphia and Philadelphia Union (PHX) clubs. At the University College of Pennsylvania, pole dance was also known as “pole-ball” dance, a ballroom dance style. In the summer of 1883, the Philadelphia Union held an official club pole dance competition, called “the Union Dance”. By May 1884, the Philadelphia Union and other Philadelphia clubs were using the term “peachtree” to refer to all poles.
Can you guess the name of the “biggest pole dance competition”?
Although all of Philadelphia’s major clubs had pole dance competitions, it was the Philadelphia Union who hosted the most popular and prominent pole dance competition. According to the club website, the Philadelphia Union Pole Dance Club was named “the biggest competition in America.” According to one website, the Philadelphia Union Club Pole Dance Club was “founded in 1883 as a dance hall, with an annual event called ‘Peachtree Pole Dance’. Over the years it expanded its membership to include men and women. The most popular dances were the ‘Big Pole Dances’ — the ‘Big Ballroom Dances’ and the ‘Big Dance’; all had a pole dancer’s element – a pole, and a ballroom dance. At the end of the dance, everyone in the dance hall stood up on a platform and celebrated. The Big Pole Dance has become the largest and most important annual competition in America, a contest which draws over one million spectators, and produces approximately $35,000 for the Philadelphia Union Club Foundation each year.” -www.philadelphiaunionclub.com
Do you know many other important dances in Philadelphia?
Dancing is in many ways integral to the day-to-day life of the University of the Western Arts. The dance department is the only branch of the university that offers dancing classes (the others are Dance College & Dance Center) and many other activities that focus on dance and the arts or entertainment. The University of the Western Arts has dancers from all over the world and has been a leader in the pursuit of dance. The Dancing department also hosts dance-related musical events, such as performances of dance-
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