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Pole Dancing Looks For Olympic Recognition

Published: October 3, 2013 (Issue # 1780)



  • Russian pole dance hopes to achieve official recognition and enter the pantheon of Olympic athletics.
    Photo: Miss & Mr. Pole Dance Championship / vk.com

The finals of Russias Miss & Mr. Pole Dance Championship will take place this weekend at the House of Officers on Liteyny Prospekt. One of the most recently popularized sports, pole dance has grown dramatically over the past several years, with its advocates even pushing for its inclusion in the Olympic games.

Starting with the semifinals in the female solo category, the event on Oct. 5 will include a demonstration by the prizewinners in the childrens category of the World Pole Sport Championship 2013 and finish with the finals in three other categories: Female solo, male solo and duet performances. Prizes will be awarded the same day at 9 p.m.

The athletes who will represent Russia at the 2014 World Championship of Pole Dance in London will be chosen based on the results of this weekends competition.

Master classes by the stars of world pole dance, among whom are the head of the technical committee of the International Pole Sports Federation Florence Pizanis and dancers Olga Zhao Tong-kun and Natalia Tomashova, will take place the second day at Kats Dance Studio on Kazanskaya Ulitsa. Pizanis will also serve as the head of the jury of the competition.

Performances by the athletes are evaluated according to three main criteria: Technique, choreography and artistry, explained Irina Sokolova, speaking on behalf of the organizers to The St. Petersburg Times. Since 2013 compulsory moves were added to the program. The main reason for this is to balance the programs of athletes as well as to make the judging more objective and transparent. The rules used in the Russian competition are close to the IPSF system.

Whether it arose in circuses or strip clubs, the history of pole dance as a sport started in the 1990s, when pole dancing began to be taught as an art and used in fitness exercises. Now several confederations of the sport, including the WorldPole Dance Federation and the International Pole Dance & Fitness Association, organize such competitions as the World Pole Sport Championship, the U.S. Pole Federation Championship and the International Pole Masters Cup Championship.

Russian pole dance only began developing five years ago, said Sokolova. Nowadays our athletes are among the best in the world. In European, Asian and American championships participants from Russia are usually among the top five finalists. Many of the most difficult moves were invented by our countrymen and bear their names.

Though it has become popular in many countries, pole dance is still associated with striptease by many people, at least in Russia. Because of this association, the existence of a childrens category in the championships can lead to disputes.

It is time to abandon the stereotypes of mass consciousness and to judge adequately the experience of countries in Western Europe and America, said organizers. The World Pole Sport Championship 2013 in London saw the introduction of the childrens category, and the top three winners were athletes from Russia. IPSF has developed a package of regulations with regard to childrens sports. Professionals from other sports, child psychologists and tutors all took part in the preparation of those documents.

The issue of including pole dance in the Olympics is also challenging. On this issue, the organizers of the Miss & Mr. Pole Dance Championship are realistic.

It will take a long time, said Sokolova. First of all, pole dance needs to receive recognition in Russia and other countries. To achieve this, clear requirements and standards need to be set and sports confederations need to be formed in 40 countries. Despite the obstacles, many people hope for the inclusion of pole dancing in the Olympic program, including, for example, American comic book writer Stan Lee.

The Miss & Mr. Pole Dance Championship will take place on Oct. 5 at the House of Officers, 20 Liteyny Prospekt. Semifinals start at 1 p.m., finals start at 5p.m. For tickets visit www.pole4you.ru





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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