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Pole Dancing is a Sport

May 5, 2011

I’m kind of old school so I am trying to embrace this concept. There’s no ball, no net, no referees; there’s no goal line, puck, or race car. (Yes, car racing is a sport but that’s another argument for another blog.)

But don’t get into this argument with the ladies from the U.S. Pole Dancing Federation (USPDF). From what I can tell, these gals know a sport when they see one. “We dun need no stinkin’ net…”

The federation held its third annual national championship in New York city this past Friday. Eleven of the organizations most talented pole dancers gathered to compete for a $5,000 grand prize and the dream of wearing the Pole Dancing crown.

When the competition was over, Natasha Wang wore the championship sash following her standing ovation worthy homage to the movie Black Swan.

“When I saw the movie, obviously it really spoke to me,” said Wang, “I’m very meticulous and almost driven to the point where I’m going crazy to try to make everything perfect, so I could just relate to it.”

Early in her pole dancing career, fearing the stigma still associated with the activity, Natasha kept her passion for the pole from her Los Angeles PR firm co-workers. As her talent, fan base and trophy shelf grew, the cat was out of the bag and her peers applaud her affinity for the flying arts.

The amateur champion was NYC’s Body and Pole dance instructor and Pennsylvania native, Michelle Stanek. For her part she  champions pole dancing as a fitness activity and avoids the comparisons to gentleman’s clubs and the strippers within.

“I totally separate pole dancing and stripper clubs,” said Stanek, who’s background is in contemporary and modern dance. “They’re two totally different things. I don’t have anything against dancers in clubs, but I’ve never been a stripper.”

The USPDF is moving pole dancing from the Bada-Bing to soccer moms from coast to coast.

Come to think of it, this must be a sport — they have coaches and fans. Congrats to the winners! (and the losers were pretty good too!)

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