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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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