Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn “has an issue” with the overly sexy way pole dancing is portrayed and attempted to stop fitness competition.
by Rebecca Edwards
After an embroiled controversy, Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn has relented and approved Utah’s first pole dancing contest. Utah Stories first explored the fitness side of pole dancing in our top story of 2008 on Studio Soiree in Sugar House. This story left no doubt that this form of exercise is intense, challenging, and highly skilled.
The Miss Pole Dance Utah competition is scheduled for Saturday, May 16th at the Davis Conference Center from 7pm–10pm. Though the event was already slated to take place, when Millburn discovered the nature of the competition he became concerned and took action to try to stop the event.
“I have an issue with how it is portrayed on its website,” the commissioner said. “It doesn’t show me any sort of athletic component. It doesn’t speak fitness. This speaks something else.”
Checking out the website,www.misspoledanceutah.com, I found pictures and videos of athletes dressed in typical dancewear performing incredible physical feats that just so happen to take place with the aid of a pole. Going even further, the site makes it clear that the competition will not tolerate any provocative movements or sexual gestures, such as “booty bouncing” or excessive hip rolling. They also have strict rules about dress code, banning g-strings and stating that “any wardrobe malfunction will result in disqualification.” The competition is also restricted to those age 13 or older.
With so many measures in place to ensure the athletic integrity of the event, what got Millburn so worked up? The event was pitched initially as an athletic competition, which is how it got approved in the first place. His concern that the event would be adult entertainment is clearly addressed by the creators and sponsors of the competition. Event co-sponsor Meagan Burroughs, owner of Adult Dance & Fitness in Ogden, said the competition is fitness-focused, not adult entertainment. “This is just tricks, no hips involved, no bootie popping, no provocative movements or sexual gestures, including touching yourself,” Burroughs said
Burroughs is one among many who are trying to change the idea that pole dancing only belongs in a smoky bar with strippers and salacious male customers. Over the past few years pole dancing as a fitness craze has gained popularity among celebrities, soccer moms, and even middle-aged women raging war against the ravages of time. The push to make this activity mainstream led Studio Soiree in Sugar House to become involved in a worldwide movement to get pole dancing recognized as an Olympic sport for the 2012 games in London.
“This is a rather edgy-looking advertisement. This speaks of adult entertainment.”
-Davis County Commissioner, Bret Millburn
“Pole dancing isn’t all that sexy, because when you’re sweating and upside down, it’s not pretty and not as attractive as people think.”
-Meghan Burroughs, owner of Adult Dance & Fitness
“I am a 56 year old married, mother of 4 and grandmother of 7, and I have been taking pole dancing for several months and find it to be one of the hardests and funnest forms of exercise I have ever done.”
-Darlene, pole dancing student.