How do you stay in shape? Jogging, cycling, and aerobics are so 80’s passé. There’s so many other creative ways to keep fit nowadays with new fads and classes coming out all the time that it’s hard to keep up. Zumba, Anti-gravity Yoga, Kickboxing, Pilates, Bootcamp, Trampoline, Fitwall… I’m getting tired just writing this. With so many ways to workout it’s almost impossible to find an excuse anymore unless you’re just a lazy sloth like me.
I’ll have to say though that the hottest workout I’ve come across so far is Pole Dancing. Yep. I said Pole Dancing and no, I’m not kidding! It’s the latest rage and growing more popular all the time. Yeah, I know the connotations. But we’re not talking about that bachelor party you went to at Scores. Pole Dancing is a serious workout. Ever thought about how those women are able to do that stuff while hanging upside down from a pole? It’s because they’re seriously strong and ultra-flexible. Not like Schwarzenegger (would you wanna see him on a pole?). They are toned with cores as solid as bricks.
Two of the most popular places to try Pole in NYC are NYC Pole Dancing and Body and Pole. They offer classes for men and women of all body types, and even kids. One of these days I’m gonna bounce my lazy butt over and try it.
I found out last year about the US Pole Dance Federation (USPDF) when my girlfriend and I attended their National Championships at Symphony Space in upper Manhattan. USPDF was founded in 2008, as the interest of pole dancing grew significantly in the US. Their vision is to create a network for pole dancers and studio owners in the US, providing a structured standard in the industry and serving as a source to exchange ideas and give feedback among pole dance instructors. They host competitions, workshops, and panel discussions, including topics such as safety, teaching techniques, fitness and dance, and style.
Yep – I know what your thinking. I’m most probably the luckiest guy on earth to be able to take his girlfriend with him to a two-day Pole Dancing Championship. Hell’s yea I am! It was pretty darn awesome, and I behaved myself. While most of the performers were in their 20’s and 30’s, there were some that were my age. How old is that? Well, let’s just say Nixon was still President. Pretty damn amazing that these ‘older’ women were able to do the amazing acrobatics on the pole that they did. There was even a male competition which, I have to admit, was pretty damn hot. Christopher Kyle puts Magic Mike to shame as his performance was over-the-top.
The female aerialists were all incredibly sexy and I have no idea how the judges were able to score them on their routines as I thought they were all incredible, but there’s actually a set of stringent requirements that all dancers must include in their routines that they’re judged on. First place in the Amateur Women’s division went to Sara Joel, with 2nd place awarded to Katrina Anderson and 3rd place going to Skittles. First place in the Professional Women’s Division went to Carly Child, with 2nd place going to Emily Sanderson and 3rd place going to Patricia Yndigoyen.
Not to sound corny here, but attending this championship really gave me an appreciation of the art-form of pole dancing. Many men have the misconception that Pole Dancing is simply what strippers do in dance clubs. While that may be true it’s much more than that. Performance artist Shay Williamson has a BA in Zoology, with a minor in Chemistry and Dance history and theory. She owns three successful businesses in the circus and pole community, Kairos Fitness, Dew Point Pole, and Aerialympics. Guess what else she does? She does exotic dancing. “It is wonderful”, Shay says. “It’s liberating and exciting and fun! It is incredibly empowering to people to get to feel sexy and confident no matter what they look like.”
Photos via USPDF and by Socially Superlative
2018 USPDF Championship Awards:
Below is a list of all the Pros who performed:
Below is a list of all the Amateurs who performed: