A FITNESS craze which sees people practising the sort of raunchy moves favoured by lap-dancers is sweeping the Capital.
People trying Urban Pole Dancing are encouraged to gyrate around scaffolding and play on park equipment and trees to get fit.
But organisers have been quick to dismiss any notions of there being anything saucy about the pastime – and say participants are expected to remain fully clothed while taking part.
Urban Pole is the brainchild of Drylaw resident and professional dancer Danny Charge, 27, who got the idea while taking a break from his dancing career after a back injury.
He said: “It brings pole dancing outside into the open, which will hopefully stop so many people simply associating it with dark, seedy clubs.”
A Facebook group dedicated to Urban Pole has already received support from well known pole performers such as 2011 British Isles Pole Dancing Champion Heidi Hildersley. Now Danny is hoping that a free event in The Meadows on August 3 will bring more new followers.
He said: “We’re calling it Urban Pole Fest and it will be a very family friendly event emphasising the fun, and the health benefits, of pole fitness. I don’t know anyone who’s taken it up who hasn’t ended up in better shape because of it, it’s great for strength and muscle tone.
“We’ve already had lots of interest from Scottish pole dancing schools but we’re also hoping to change the minds of people who have perhaps dismissed pole dancing in the past because they think it’s all about scantily clad women getting money thrown at them.
“There will be demonstrations of moves from professionals, but everyone is welcome to have a go and pick up some tips on basic moves.”
One person who will definitely be attending the event is Anne Goswell, who runs pole fitness classes in the Capital, and is also one of the judges for the national Pole to Pole competition.
She said: “I’m loving Urban Pole and lots of people are really looking forward to the Meadows event.
“We’ve had a special bespoke five-person pole made, which has poles set out in the shape of the five side of a dice, so people can perform together.
“There’s also plenty of playground apparatus and benches around which we’ll certainly be making the most of!”
Dead men running
URBAN Pole isn’t the only way to get fit in Edinburgh that’s likely to get you noticed...
We revealed last month how Edinburgh Canicross – where dogs take their owners for a run wearing harnesses attached to their owner’s belt by a two-metre bungee cord – now has roughly 70 participants across the Capital. And some of those racing to the cinema to see World War Z this week may have gotten into shape by taking part in their own version of the film.
Zombie Survival Club, launched by former Scotland under-21 rugby player Ian Dryburgh in January, sees the “undead” chasing keep-fit fans every Wednesday in Inverleith Park as part of a pulse-raising fitness class with bite.
Mr Dryburgh said: “If someone is being chased through the park by a zombie, even just a pretend one, they tend to run that bit faster.”