The International Pole Dancing Convention is coming to Fort Worth in June 2016.
Yes, you read that right.
The convention’s CEO, Colleen Jolly, said pole dancing can be more than stripping.
“We certainly have folks who make a living, or part of their living, stripping in clubs or dancing in gentleman’s clubs,” she said. “I would say there are more and more people going on the fitness side of things and the athlete and competitive sports side is going to start to eclipse the traditional association.”
She said some competitors are even pushing to add pole dancing to the Olympics.
Pole dancing can incorporate many different types of dance, including hip hop, tango and the kind of acrobatics normally associated with Cirque du Soleil, Jolly said.
She said the convention is a gathering of dancers, studio owners, observers and equipment manufacturers, such as Austin-based Artista Active Wear, which produces pole dancing apparel, and Dallas-based Mighty Grip, which produces hand grips and gloves for pole dancers.
Jolly said around 100 performers will showcase their art during the convention. Performances include “The Future of Pole Fitness,” “Men of Pole,” and one that features comedy in pole dancing.
She said that children, many in the 9-10 age range, also take part.
“They take those extraordinary gymnast skills and they’re flipping upside down and bending themselves in half,” Jolly said. “It’s crazy to watch these kids – what they can do and how strong they are.”
The Fort Worth convention will be the sixth. Jolly said the conventions started in National Harbor near Washington D.C. in 2009 with about 200 people in attendance.
“We’ve definitely been growing every year since we’ve seen the industry grow and evolve and change,” she said.
This year, they’re expecting up to 700 people, 20-50 percent of them from Texas.
Local studios will have performers including Altitude Fitness in Frisco and Twisted Bodies in Denton.
“There’s quite a big pole community in Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as Houston and Austin,” Jolly said.
She said Fort Worth was chosen because the convention center is near downtown and nightlife.
“We have a lot of people who are moms, and they’re working full-time,” Jolly said. “This is their one time to get away and do something for themselves, so we want to make sure that they are able to do that in a really easy and cost-effective way.”
Jolly said she would like to see the convention help professionalize the pole dancing industry by incorporating standards for dancers’ career ladder, safety and compensation.
Christian Boschult, 817-390-7770, @CBOSCH192
International Pole Dancing Convention
The convention runs June 2-5 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St., Fort Worth.
A weekend pass for every day of the event is $175. Tickets for Friday or Saturday only are $100, and Sunday admission is $50. Discounts are available for large groups, and a free lunch will be provided on Friday and Saturday.
- Thursday, June 2: Opening reception 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday: Hours are 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., then 8 p.m.-10 p.m.
- Sunday: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
- For a full schedule, visit http://www.poleconvention.com/.