• Illustration: Olivia Storm
THERE ARE LIFE SKILLS important for day-to-day existence, and there are life skills developed solely to impress and amaze those around you. The "booty clap" belongs in the second category.

When I signed up for Ecdysiast's beginner pole dancing fitness class, I figured I'd learn a few of the basic acrobatic skills practiced by the many talented members of Portland's stripper community, but I HAD NO IDEA I'd also be taught the signature move of twerkers everywhere: the booty clap. For the sadly ignorant, a booty clap (actually called "The Dorothy" by those in the know) is where the practitioner sticks her/his bottom out in a seductive manner, and "claps" the cheeks together furiously for erotic effect. (Note: I realize my description sounds somewhat less than erotic.)

Once thought of as a fitness regimen practiced solely by erotic performers, pole dancing is gaining popularity at light speed among urban professionals, performing artists (dancers, aerialists, circus folk), and of course, those looking to add a bit more "sexy" to their lives. As for me, I grow quickly bored with most workout routines, and I'm always on the lookout for a new exercising experience, especially one that tests and challenges new muscle groups. But is pole dancing a good fit for non-strippers? And especially dude non-strippers?