At the time, many people felt pole dancing was dangerous. Although the pole dancing industry’s safety record is much better now, and it’s a major money driver, there was still concern that it could cause serious harm to its performers and their partners. It had become so popular during the ’90s, in fact, that many clubs didn’t have any security at all. As a result, the police made sure to catch anyone dancing or trying to dance in what was considered one of the city’s notorious “crowd-killing hotspots.” Most clubs and venues did offer some form of policing, though. Sometimes that meant that bouncers would spot and stop people from entering, and sometimes it meant they’d just let them go.
On New Year’s Eve 2006, a 15 year-old was seriously injured when it happened. The club where he was dancing was located near the downtown core and, given that it was a popular venue, it has a well-known history of getting hit by cars or struck by lightning, often hitting and injuring people on the regular.
The club was not only at the base of the hills, however. As the name suggests, much of the club is on one continuous horizontal pole, so as it was standing in the wind it was literally being struck over and over by cars, trains and other vehicles. People who were lucky enough to catch it, and who had witnessed its tragic, shocking impact, told of being hit by cars or being left by people who left before they even saw them. In fact, many of them believed that in spite of the fact that the club was located near a residential area, it often attracted young people who didn’t drive, who were drunk, who were inebriated, or who were otherwise obviously inebriated.
The incident was so horrific that it sent shock waves through the city and made everyone feel strongly about safety practices and the importance of keeping people safe—in any form.
After the news of the 15 year-old’s tragic accident broke, many of those who had been watching were deeply saddened by what they’d been subjected to. Many people were so outraged by the experience, that there were even organized demonstrations to call for a total ban on all pole dancing in the city. As we were reporting on the controversy, we didn’t really have any idea how many people would walk out screaming and hurling verbal abuse when they realized that pole dancing was a crime.
The question still lingers with me now,
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