Stereo­type and re­al­ity are poles apart

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SINOLWAZI APRIL

IF THERE is still a stigma at­tached to pole-danc­ing, then mem­bers of the SA Pole Dance Fit­ness As­so­ci­a­tion are de­ter­mined to change the per­cep­tions and pro­mote this form and dance and ac­ro­bat­ics as a sport.

They’ve in­vited all pole dance schools across Cape Town to par­tic­i­pate in this week­end’s sixth an­nual Pole Dance Show­case, tak­ing place at Camps Bay High School from 8pm to­day, and 7pm to­mor­row.

“We are try­ing to change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions,” said Sa­man­tha Smith, owner of Pole Dance Cape Town.

Pole danc­ing is a sport for men and women, which is get­ting more and more recog­ni­tion world­wide.

“De­spite the fact that we still have a way to go, it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see how far the sport has come over the last few years, and the united com­rades within the global pole dance fit­ness com­mu­nity,” said Smith.

At the first Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger Clas­sic Mul­ti­sport Fes­ti­val and Expo held in May in Johannesburg, pole was of­fi­cially recog­nised as a com­pet­i­tive cat­e­gory.

Just re­cently, the In­ter­na­tional Pole Sports Fed­er­a­tion ap­plied to have the ac­ro­batic form recog­nises as an Olympic sport.

Smith was hooked on the pole af­ter at­tend­ing the sec­ond an­nual show­case.

“I was so fas­ci­nated, think­ing this is dif­fer­ent. When I be­gan I couldn’t even lift my feet off the ground. Now I can do all sorts of tricks,” she said.

For rook­ies on the pole for the first time this week, the ses­sion be­gan with a 15-minute warm-up. Then it was time for the pole.

Up­per body strength is es­sen­tial, as stu­dents learnt four ba­sic moves – the step-out walk, pirou­ette, the fire­men’s spin and the chair spin. Wait for the next morn­ing though, be­cause mus­cles you never knew were there in your arms and legs are likely to be in scream­ing pain.

Among the ben­e­fits touted are weight-loss, mus­cle ton­ing and car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness.

This year’s show­case prom­ises to be an im­pres­sive demon­stra­tion of strength and agility, with 25 acts tak­ing part. The open­ing act is by world cham­pion Sherry Brem­ner.

“The be­lief pole danc­ing is just for women is start­ing to fade, with a grow­ing num­ber of males par­tic­i­pat­ing each year,” said Smith.

The event will also fea­ture strik­ing aerial silk and chore­ographed dance rou­tines, con- sist­ing of spins, climbs and tricks.

“We have a va­ri­ety of uniquely themed se­quences in store, with dancers per­form­ing to a range of mu­sic styles, from rock to the lat­est hits. The per­for­mances are guar­an­teed to cap­ture the beauty, flex­i­bil­ity and in­cred­i­ble strength of the sport as a means of stay­ing fit and hope­fully break­ing down some of the more neg­a­tive mis­con­cep­tions.”.

Tick­ets, at R150 each, are avail­able from Com­puticket. For more in­for­ma­tion, see www. poledance­capetown.co.za.

sinolwazi.april@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: LEON LESTRADE

Sa­man­tha Smith demon­strates pole danc­ing.

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