January 2011 - Destiny

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SA Pole Dancing champion Julie Swart chats to us about the sport that’s getting people fit and healthy.

Congrats on your achievement! How do you prepare for your events?

Thank you. A lot of planning has to go into the theme and costume for the competition. I decided on my theme – “The Matrix” – in September and then had to
work on the costume, which I’m proud to say has a lot of home sewing in it.

In terms of training, this is really happens all year round, but a few months leading up to the competition I increased my training to two to three hours a day,
about five times a week. This involved practising my pole tricks, going over the choreography and dance routine and memorising the music.

Does you fitness regime involve gym work and other training?
I do yoga as an added extra for flexibility. The rest of my training is all at the studio practising pole tricks, building strength using the pole, etc.

How is the sport perceived in South Africa?
It’s currently perceived as a new and upcoming fitness regime for women. It has taken a while to get to this point, but these days I can say I’m a pole fitness instructor and people respond very positively and are generally in
awe of the sport.

How can the sport grow?
The sport is just going to get stronger and stronger. Pole fitness is like the new gymnastics – gymnasts all over the world are taking to pole fitness with incredible finesse and agility. It’s changing so quickly that it’s
difficult for the industry to keep up. Men are also now actively becoming involved and there is a now a men’s division in some of the competitions. I definitely see this happening in SA, but it may take a little longer than
the rest of the world.

Is there a negative view at the moment and can it be changed?
Unfortunately, pole fitness in a dance studio environment will always be compared with pole dancing in clubs. The only way that it will change is when people learn to tell the difference and have a better understanding of the two entities. This will happen the more people talk about it, the more it is demonstrated on a fitness platform and the more competitions are held.

What makes it so special?
This sport is special to me because of how I have grown with it. I never knew that this would be my passion when I started five years ago and now I look back and I’m blown away. Finding your passion in life makes it all

Do you have a trademark move?
There are so many different pole gurus out there where we all get our moves from, so I haven’t invented any new moves (that I know of…). I think I just perform them differently, which is what may have set me aside from my

What was your best moment and most awkward moment?
Best moment: there are too many to describe, but my students definitely make every class worthwhile. Awkward moment: I don’t have any, unless that covers falling occasionally.