Dance Poles – More than you ever wanted to know!
Dance poles, exercise poles, vertical exercise bars – whatever you prefer to call them - require Engineering to ensure they are designed and installed to do their job safely. Gallery Metalworks Inc. in Mississauga, Ontario has been building and installing custom dance poles for many years, and we understand what is involved in ensuring this product will provide many years of service, in both residential and commercial applications.
Most dance poles are made of brass, because an uncoated brass surface provides the user with a good gripping surface. Some people prefer stainless steel poles, or poles with a chrome finish. However, these poles are more slippery than brass poles, and do not provide the user with the same feel as brass poles.
The most popular pole diameters are:
- 1.5 inches (38 mm)
- 1.75 inches (45 mm)
- 2.0 inches (50 mm)
Normally a pole size choice is based on the user’s personal preference considerations, including the size of the user’s hands. People with small hands usually can get a better grip on a smaller pole.
There are three types of dance poles:
- Fixed poles: These poles are securely and permanently anchored at the top and bottom into the ceiling and floor.
- Moveable poles: These poles are designed to be installed for temporary or short term use, and can be easily removed. They are not anchored to the ceiling or floor, but are held in place by friction pads attached at each end of the pole. The pole height is manually adjusted to ensure a tight fit. These poles are not designed or recommended for extreme usage.
- Spinning poles: These poles are securely and permanently anchored like fixed poles, but they have bearings at the top and bottom of the pole to allow the pole to spin freely with the user’s momentum. A spinning pole can be easily converted into a fixed pole by inserting a pin which prevents the pole from spinning.
Regardless of which material, size, or pole type is selected, extreme care must be taken to ensure the pole is installed properly. It is critical that the top of the pole is secured into a solid mounting structure in the ceiling. In many cases, the pole can be attached to an existing beam, but sometimes a special mounting structure must be created so the top of the pole can be securely attached. The EXACT height from the floor to the ceiling support must be measured to ensure the pole is cut to the proper length. If the pole is cut too short, it may not be able to withstand the flexing which occurs when the pole is in use. This could cause a catastrophic failure of the pole, which could result in injury to the user and/or others.
Depending on the overall height of the pole, and the wall thickness of the pole, it may be necessary to install a steel “sleeve” inside the pole to provide additional stiffness. This will reduce the amount of flex which can occur during use of the pole.
Like any piece of equipment, dance poles must be maintained properly to ensure they perform as intended. For hygienic reasons, cleaning of the poles must be done after each use. To keep brass poles looking like new, they need to be polished regularly to bring back the polished brass shine.
In addition, poles should be inspected regularly to ensure all connections are tight. Any screws or rivets which may have become loose must be tightened or replaced right away, to prevent small problems from becoming big problems.
Dance poles are not toys. They must be designed, installed, and maintained properly to ensure they are safe, and perform as intended. This article is meant to be used as a guideline only – each dance pole must be designed and installed to meet the requirements of its intended use. The manufacturer, namely Gallery Metalworks Inc. assumes no responsibility, real or implied, covering the use of its products. Responsibility for correct and safe installation by others, and usage of dance poles, rest solely with the purchaser.Brian MacLean, P. Eng.