History and Origins of Pole Dancing

This has been around a lot longer than many of us would think, but how did pole dancing originate and where did come from? The form of pole dance we know today and its origins can be traced back to exotic performance dance arts.

The first recorded striptease dates back to a myth from ancient Sumerian times involving Inanna, the Goddess of Love, and her descent into the underworld to find her lover Damouz. At each of the seven gates, she removed an article of clothing or a piece of jewellery. As long as Inanna remained in hell, the earth was barren. When she returned, the earth again became abundant and fruitful. Some believe this myth evolved in the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ of Salome from the bible.

The bible records Salome’s dance but the first mention of removing veils rises from Oscar Wilde’s play of ‘Salome’ in 1883. Some have claimed this to be the origin of modern striptease, but other influences may have come from Parisian times and the Moulin Rouge striptease through to Middle Eastern belly dancing and American burlesque.

Today many women learn the arts of Belly Dancing and dancing with Veils. Belly Dancing has been carried over from these legendary events. The skill have traveled from ancient Sumeria and into the Asia counties. It is understood to have been picked up by the gypsies who brought Belly Dancing through Europe.

The ancient Middle Eastern belly dance was thought to induce fertility in women and to strengthen their bodies in preparation for childbirth.

Throughout history there have been many forms of dance emerging. Many formed from sensual roots and bringing with them much controversy.

Another sensual form of dance, Rumba, is a dance of enticement and teasing. The tango originated in brothels of ancient Argentina. ‘Gouchos’ would arrive after working in the fields and the girls would entice them into going upstairs through dancing with their heads turned slightly to avoid the smell.

In the early 1900s the strip tease dance was added to burlesques shows to entice men to return. These featured famous strippers including Gypsy Lee Rose. Traveling tent shows had strip tease acts. The smaller tent dancers started to use the pole in the tent’s centre to dance around. These tents became known as the dance pole tents.

Another idea of where pole dance actually started is linked to the Maypole. This Pagan ritual was seen by some as a phallic symbol which may explain why some link it to the pole dancing we know now.

The earliest recorded pole dance was in 1968 with a performance by Belle Jangles at Mugwump strip joint in Oregon.

Today’s pole dancing craze is believed to have started in Canada in the 1980’s in exotic table dancing and lap dance clubs. Fawnia Mondey, originally from Canada, is one of the worlds first pole dancing champions. During the 1990’s Fawnia started teaching pole dancing to every day women. She produced the very first instructional pole dancing DVD.

Pole dancing quickly spread to the US followed by the rest of the world, helped by multi corporations such as Spearmint Rhino. Pole dancing is recognized throughout the world including Europe, Australia and even parts of China.

Lap dancing clubs in the UK grew in 1990’s featuring pole dancing on stage. Since 2000 onwards pole dancing has become more acceptable by the general public.

Pole dancing as we know it today involves dancing around a vertical pole. The old ancient strip tease became a forerunner to the modern updated variation. Pole dancing provides a display of acrobatics and strength, combined with a combination of sensual, flowing, feminine dance movements to form the art of pole dancing we now know and recognize.

The modern form of pole dancing has only been documented since the 1980’s, yet the origins appear to go back many years prior to this. Only in recent years has pole dancing become more acceptable. The stigma attached to this art may be one of the reasons why the dance appears to have little history documented and appears to have been ‘underground’ for many years.

His-Story, Her-Story And A Tribute – Black History Month

During Black History month everyone will remember the long line of history left to celebrate, and look toward the future of history being written with the Kings and queens, leaders, orators, champions and heralds of a great nation of people. Amongst these great people are those who may or may not get a full appreciation of the effect they have made on history and I want to dedicate this article to a cheerleader for children, poetry and motivation in the person of LaKisha Marie Tanksley.

I feel blessed and deeply moved to have met LaKisha in Chicago while working to close the digital divide through educating people to the uses of technology. The cliché of – this being a small world has never rung true in the fact of being able to meet and work with LaKisha while in Chicago, a humongous city of hard working people with a unique vision. Chicago has given us a some history makers in it’s own right Mayor Harold Washington, Author Richard Wright, Explorer Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable the founder of Chicago, Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey and many more. After working with Lakisha for a too short while I knew in my heart that she was in the right place at the right time. Since her passing in the summer of 2005 I also know that she will be missed by thousands and hopefully millions that her work was able to touch.

Lakisha had a vision of motivating those around her in the same path as Oprah Winfrey and Gwendolyn Brooks. Her poetry touched and inspired those who read the living words she brought to light not only from herself but from children she worked tirelessly to inspire and reminded me of Cleopatra VII, Queen of Kenet an incredible linguist in her own lifetime.

In searching for wisdom her thirst for was just as royally steadfast as Makeda, Queen of Sheba. LaKisha would tell me about her quests to find ways to inspire others through poetry and motivation for all those who thought life was dark and hopeless.

Poetry was a beacon of light for LaKisha like Behanzin often referred to as the King Shark, a surname which symbolized strength strength and wisdom. LaKisha used words in her poetry to give strength and wisdom to her readers. She fed her poetry to anyone who would listen. Thankfully words were not something that just lay on a page, words were for inspiration, action, consolation, and comfort to LaKisha as anyone who came around her would immediately find out. If you stood still for a few minutes around LaKisha, your going to hear some poetic or motivational words – definite proof of her having the King Shark as an ancestor with his massive contribution to his time and ours.

During the summer of 2005 we lost another member of our motivational cheerleaders, especially one who would have proven to become an icon of motivation. I close with an excerpt from her collection of poems – Bridges of Hope, a fitting title for a book from a fantastic cheerleader of hope – Mrs. LaKisha Tanksley-Simpson, Poet and Motivational Speaker, Chicago, IL

I leave everyone with a small excerpt from one of her books – Bridge of Hope: an anthology of motivational poems and stories, with the 2nd book titled – There is an Oasis : a collection of motivational poems.

From the book ‘Bridge of Hope’, a poem titled ‘I Am Destined for Greatness’

I am destined for greatness.

I am determined to succeed.

I have what it takes to get what I need.

Because success is the core of my existence;

The manifestation will appear with time.

Determination is what my dreams are made of… When I seek I will find.

By Lakisha Marie Tanksley


History of St. Anthony’s Cathedral in Beaumont, Texas

Amanda Vessel, “The Making of a Landmark: St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Beaumont, Texas,” Touchstone, vol. XIX (2000), 48-58.

This article explores the history and symbolic and cultural significance of St. Anthony’s Cathedral in Beaumont, Texas. Amanda Vessel asserts that this Catholic Church has special meanings for their parishioners. St. Anthony’s physical appearance is very symbolic. The floor plan is shaped like a cross and the statues and other works of art represent many tenets of the Catholic faith.

Before 1897, and the coming of Father William Lee, the Catholic Church in Beaumont, St. Louis, was very small and Spartan. In 1901, the discovery of oil led to an influx of people and oil-related businesses. As a result, St. Louis became too small to accommodate the increasing Catholic population, and Father Lee proposed building a new church. This church was built according to Father Lee’s design, and it was dedicated in January 1907, in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. Next Father Lee started a new grammar school and the former school was moved to be a convent for the nuns who taught at the schools. Father Lee did not live to see the completion of the grammar school in September 1918; he died in July of that year and was buried in St. Anthony’s at the foot of the altar.

Father E. A. Kelly, Father Lee’s successor, arrived in Beaumont while the city was still experiencing the economic prosperity from the oil boom. He decided to build a new convent for the nuns at a cost of $25,000. More building projects included a brick rectory in 1922, a high school in 1926, and an outdoor recreation area in 1928. In 1937, Father Kelly began restoring and decorating the interior of St. Anthony’s. Father Kelly added oil paintings and stained glass windows at a cost of $32,000. In 1953, a new grammar school was constructed to accommodate an increasing student enrollment. This school cost $400,000 and is still in use today.

Monsignor Kelly retired from his position as pastor of St. Anthony’s in August 1954, and he passed away six months later. His successor, Reverend George Black, constructed a new high school and a new convent in 1961. In 1972, Father Marvin Enderle began restoration of the church’s interior, and he added a parking lot for the church in 1979. In 1995, under Father Beenie Patillo, St. Anthony’s had developed a parish center.

The evolution of St. Anthony’s from a Spartan church to the beautiful structure that is an historical landmark in Beaumont involved many different pastors and generations of the Catholic parishioners. St. Anthony’s is more than a place of worship; the church is involved in numerous aspects of its parishioners’ lives. Thus, St. Anthony’s is very important to the Catholics in Beaumont.