Pole dancing is a popular form of fitness gaining traction in China. In fact, the World Pole Dancing Championships, which brought together top performers from 14 countries, was hosted in Beijing earlier this year.
One woman dubbed China’s pole dancing pioneer, Luo Luan, started her own studio in 2005. Her business has since grown to include 26 studios and 10,000 students. She told CBS:
“I wanted to lose weight after giving birth to my child. I’d read about people pole dancing, but there was nowhere I could learn about it here in China.”
According to Luo, pole dancing has recently grown in popularity as incomes have risen among the increasing number of middle class people. With extra spending money, people are turning towards fitness, which is a $5 billion industry in China.
A series of photographs from a session in the basement of an office building by Third Ring Road in Beijing show a group of young women learning the art of pole dancing.
According to Shanghaiist, many of the young women enrolled in the class do so without their parents’ knowledge, as traditional Chinese culture still perceives pole dancing as vulgar and indecent.
In addition, each one of the women may have a different reason for pursuing pole dancing. While a number of individuals aspire to dance competitively, others just want to earn some extra cash.
In addition, a handful of the women practice pole dancing purely for fitness reasons and because they find it fun.