Friday, July 25, 2008

American *Aerobics* in Beijing

A nightclub activity mostly considered the domain of strippers in the United States, pole dancing — but with clothes kept on — is nudging its way into the mainstream Chinese exercise market, with increasing numbers of gyms and dance schools offering classes.

The woman who claims to have brought pole dancing to China, Luo Lan, 39, is from Yichun, a small town in Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. Her parents teach physics at the university level.

“I’m not good at science like my parents. I’m the black sheep of my family, in that sense,” she said.[...]

“People here have never seen a pole dance, and for that reason they don’t associate it with stripping or women of ill repute,” Ms. Luo said. “I knew if I could give people a positive first impression of this as a clean, fun, social activity, people wouldn’t just accept it, they’d embrace it.” In today's NYTimes....,