November 2010 - Go Travel

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Yes, it’s an official sport. But no, there is no stripping. Finalists in the 3rd South African Pole Dancing Fitness Championships recently battled it out to be the queen of the pole at the Vodacom Dome in Midrand.

Vibrant costumes, breath taking pole fitness acrobatics, and impossible balancing tricks were the order of the day and guest appearances where made by the World Champion Felix Cane from the US. View the gallery here

We caught up with the winner of the professional catergory, Julie Swart What made you decide to get into pole dancing and how long ago did you start?

Julie Swart: I started in 2005, I originally became interested while working in UK. I got the ‘Heathrow injection’ , as in I put on a bit of weight while there. When I came home and I continued with classes and eventually started training as a pole-dancing teacher. I’ve only competed in two of the three tournaments as last year a torn hamstring kept me from competing.

The SA pole dancing championship rules excludes those from the pornographic industry from participating, do you think there is a sleaze factor to the sport?

Pole fitness is quite different to what they do in the stripclubs, unfortunately it always gets associated with it. But I must admit the industry is quite different from when I started back in 2005. Now when I mention that I teach pole dancing people say, “Oh that’s so cool, where do you dance?” instead of giving me odd looks.

What was your theme and costume for the final?

Orignally I wasn’t going to go with a theme as I want to concentrate on the fitness and technique. I spent some time in New York where I trained with a couple of the America pole dancers and I also completed a yoga course. On the last minute I decided on the Matrix as a theme simply because I think it’s really cool.

What was New York like?

“Amazing, it’s the craziest city I’ve been to, you can experience anything and everything all in one go

What’s been the most positive aspect about pole dancing?

“Confidence that its gives you, like when you find your passion, whatever it is it gives you a new lease on life.

Name the two most challenging moves to perform on the pole?

“Twisted grip flag and the Allegra – it involves holding and balancing from the pole with one arm.

Complete the sentence, Pole dancing is…

“The most challenging, most exciting, most awesome sport in the world for me.

Who shouldn’t pole dance?

“I think grannies over 65, anyone else should, even guys.

Besides pole-dancing, what other activity could you recommend for a girl’s weekend away?

“Definitely some cocktails while relaxing on the beach”.