The public emergence of pole- dancing would seem a natural for this flesh-obsessed country. But its new visibility has stirred controversy and tut-tuts from some who say such behavior should remain out of public sight. Meanwhile, the sport was featured in an exhibition event held in London last month ahead of the Olympics, with some lobbying for its inclusion as an official sport.
Elba Moya, a 76-year-old nurse in Caracas, said she frowns on the idea.
"That's a bad spectacle for children," she said. "That should be for nightspots and the places where it has to be."
Dancers such as Franleska Garcia, a 28-year-old business manager, said they hope to turn around such attitudes in a country where Catholic-inspired social conservatism remains alive.
"We wanted to lift the taboo," Garcia said. Pole-dancing "isn't sensual. What we do is fitness. It's acrobatics."
Venezuela was a relative latecomer to the sport, which started drawing a following four years ago while also coming into fashion in other Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru and Colombia. Now, about 10 gyms and schools in Venezuela offer classes in pole-dancing.
Garcia and eight other women started a "street-pole dance" initiative about three months ago, with their performances drawing the attention of the Venezuelan press and the disapproval of some readers, who posted online comments criticizing them for performing in public around children.
During a recent practice, interior decorator Jesus Echevarria paused to watch while keeping an eye on his playing kids. If anything, the roots of the sport and its current incarnation didn't faze him.
"It has an impact on people the first time they see this kind of sport," he said. "But afterward people are amazed."