Samantha Smith demonstrates pole dancing. picture: Leon Lestrade

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, consisting 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.”.

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

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