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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, Sept. 17


AmChams Investment and Legal Committee Meeting convenes this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center at 9 a.m.


Learn more about the science of teaching English at todays EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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