A "sporting" event we can all enjoy!
I'm fairly sure I've mentioned that pole dancing has become a "sport" and that in some countries (Australia, for instance, but as that was founded by deviants, I don't know if it counts) you can sign your children up for pole dancing lessons. Well, in "sports," you have to have a championship, right? Oh, wait a minute - don't read that line, Division 1 college football.
Wherever there's a "sport," Sports Illustrated is there! Here's their report.
While most sports fans eagerly awaited the NCAA Tournament bracket on Sunday, I headed over to the Bleeker Street Theatre in New York City for a very different sort of Selection Sunday.
The US Pole Dance Federation, better known to acronym lovers as the USPDF, was hosting the first annual US Pole Dance Championship. Twelve female contestants, chosen from more than 50 applicants, would be competing for the honor of representing the United States at Miss Pole Dance Australia 2009 [See? Deviants.] and for a spot on the cover of next month's Pole2Pole Magazine.
Pole2Pole Magazine? That can't exist, can it? Oh, wait, of course it can.
The dress code from the USPDF rulebook states, "No nudity, no G-strings or thongs. Violation of this requirement leads to immediate disqualification."
And yet it's still popular??????
As contestant Denise Brown a happily married mother of two from Tennessee said, "We are not strippers and it is not a stripper pole unless someone is taking off their clothes. Sure, a form of pole dancing is exotic, but that's not all there is to it. Pole dancing is really about fitness, athleticism and artistic design."
Yep, that's what it's about.
"It is certainly a great workout," said Carmit Bachar, one of the three judges and an original member of The Pussycat Dolls. "But there is a performance aspect to pole dancing as well and that involves sexy."
You know you're a legitimate "sport" when an original member of the Pussycat Dolls is judging you! No knock-offs for this competition!
The favorite entering Sunday's championship, at least according to the contestants, seemed to be Jenyne Butterfly, a petite blonde from Eastern Washington. Despite her diminutive stature, Butterfly had already won pole dance competitions across the nation, including the highly regarded Pole-a-palooza in Las Vegas, which she has won three years in a row.
If you aren't strippers, you should probably drop the stripper names. If Joe and Jane Butterfly are the proud parents, well, I apologize.
But a younger generation of pole dancers hoped to clip Butterfly's wings. Alethea Austin, a photographer from Los Angeles, and Sarah Cretul, a paranormal investigator who lives in Florida, each had the aerial skills and pole prowess to overtake Butterfly.
Pole dancing: For when paranormal investigating isn't fulfilling enough! (I looked her up at the official site, and she's only 21, so maybe she hasn't quite gotten the hang of ghost hunting yet.)
In the second round, the competition heated up. Cretul, the little-known newcomer, dazzled the crowed with a sequence of aerial moves while hanging five feet off the ground. Never one to be shown up, Austin then took the stage and, with Guns N' Roses blasting from the speakers, blew the crowd away with a passionate performance that utilized the entire pole and all 640 muscles in her body.
But catching a butterfly is a tricky task. The favorite took the stage as the night's second to last performance and showed why she truly is "The Pole Queen." Dressed in a white two-piece outfit and veil, Butterfly lived up to her name. She defied gravity. At times, one arm supported the entire weight of her outstretched body. Her moves were elegant, her transitions seamless. By the time Butterfly capped off her performance with her signature "flag move" -- think of her as the flag on a flagpole -- the capacity crowd was on its feet.
And while the judges took 10 minutes to give the appearance of a formal debate, everyone knew the winner had already been decided. Jenyne Butterfly was the 2009 US Pole Dance Champion.
In case you're interested in more, you can always check out the US Pole Dance official web site. It might not be safe for work, although everyone keeps their clothing on.
You know, it's great that these ladies are doing something they like, keeping fit, and competing for something. I still think that this is playing into the hands of men, who like to watch women dance with hardly any clothing on and have convinced women that it's "empowering." But if the women like it, more power to them. The woman who won "Miss Sexy," Alethea Austin, teaches pole dancing at this gym, where you can watch some videos like this one (again, this might not be safe for work, although there's no nudity):
So all's right in the world - we have a new pole dancing champion, and life is good! I wonder if Krys would mind if I installed a stripper pole in our living room ...