Pole dancing has moved away from being the female domain and out of the strip clubs and has now become a sport and fitness regime for men.
Asia Pacific Pole Dance Champion Toby J, who was in Perth to perform at the West Australian Pole Performance Showcase over the weekend, took up the sport two years ago and enjoys the performance and entertaining aspect of what he calls “pole”.
Toby J, whose real name is Toby Monson, said pole should remain a creative showcase of performance art rather than a regimented sport like gymnastics.
“Getting into the Olympics would take the creativity and theatrics away from pole, it would make it less entertaining,” the 36-year-old dancer and acrobatic artist said.
He said having pole dancing recognised as an official Olympic sport could also be a PR exercise in order to further distance the sport from its foundations in the adult entertainment industry.
“The girls in the clubs can get away with a lot of walking around but when you are performing true pole at exhibitions and competitions you have to be incredibly fit with a lot of high paced energy and creativity,” he said.
Monson discovered the sport two years ago thanks to his girlfriend, accomplished pole dancer Suzie Q and the pair has recently returned from the UK where they have been conducting training seminars for instructors.
Back home, the two perform as a duo where he incorporates acrobatic moves and ancient Chinese pole techniques.
He said there was an increasing amount of men becoming interested in the sport due to the opportunity to perform in groups and with partners.
Monson and Suzie Q were among the 12 pole professionals who displayed their agility and advanced core strength in front of a sell-out crowd at the WAPPS at Burswood.
The event, now in its second year, aimed to showcase how traditional pole dancing has evolved into pole sport.
WAPPS founder and Pole Fever Fitness director Sabrina Waller, who is also a member of the International Pole Sports Federation, established the public workshop in order to raise the profile of pole fitness.
“The practice of pole sports among male athletes is increasing because it is being recognised as a unique and physically demanding form of exercise. More and more people are finding it an enjoyable exercise alternative and most importantly they see the results in their physique,” Ms Waller said.