By Alix Norman
Whatever you thought you knew about pole dancing, think again. No longer the province of seedy clubs, these days the art of pole dancing is taking on a completely new image: that of a clean cut expression of dance practised by thousands of everyday women – and men – the world over. And now Cyprus will hold its second annual PoleArt event this coming weekend, down at Monte Caputo, and this year it’s bigger – and better – than ever.
Presented by Limassol-based Pole Dance Studio ‘MooN’, the international PoleArt championship claims to the biggest event of its kind in Europe, attracting performers from across the globe with its total prize fund of $30,000. Nationally televised and inclusive of over 100 participants (almost four times as many as took part in last year’s event), the contest will be a fantastic four-day festival of competitions, workshops and performances featuring some of the best pole artists in the world in the ultimate test of strength, flexibility and endurance.
Oh yes, make no mistake, it takes a lot of effort to make it all look that effortless! Exponents of the art may ensure their performances are a picture of grace and ease, but it takes years of work to attain the upper body and core strength required by the complex climbs, spins and body inversions needed in even the simplest routines. Hence the growing number of dedicated schools and classes focusing, on the main, as pole dance as a form of exercise; used both as an aerobic and anaerobic workout it’s a discipline which really will sort the men from the boys, the women from the girls.
“The main aim of the event is the development of pole dancing as a genre,” explain the organisers, who are looking to “represent pole dancing and pole acrobatics as a new sport while facilitating the increasing popularity of a healthy lifestyle. One of the main goals of the championship is to bring dancers together with the aim to popularise pole dancing among Cypriots”. A number of representatives from local dance schools, studios and organisations will be taking part in the four-day event.
With five separate categories spread over the duration (Professional category for men / Professional category for women / Semi-Professional category for women / Amateur category for women / Junior category), audiences will be treated to some spectacular performances. And at €15 per day, tickets for the competition section of the event won’t be too hard on the wallet. Come the final day, however, the price will increase directly in relation to the abilities of the performers, with ticket prices ranging from €25 to €90, depending on one’s seat.
But it’s most likely worth the extra cash, for organisers assure that the final Grand Gala Show will be an “extravaganza of grace, strength and jaw-dropping acrobatics”, which will include the award ceremony, an air silk show from an artist of the Cirque Du Soleil, and performances from both the reigning champions and the judges themselves: professional dancer, teacher and choreographer Anna de Carvalho; multi-disciplinary Spanish artist Saulo Sarmiento and American Pole Fitness champion (and finalist on America’s Got Talent) Steven Retchless.
So, if marvelling at something a little bit different (though possibly not for long: a group of advocates pushed – unsuccessfully, it seems – for pole dance to be represented as a test event in the 2012 London Olympics) is your thing, get yourself on down to Monte Caputo this week and enjoy being, as organisers suggest, “part of the art”. Not, of course, that you’ll be dancing yourself – applications had to close early due to the sheer amount of interested participants, so bringing your own pole is off the agenda, I’m afraid – but there will certainly be more than enough feats of dance, gymnastics and sheer strength to entertain you throughout. And who knows, you might just be inspired to take up the discipline yourself in time for next year’s PoleArt extravaganza!
Tuesday, October 28 to Friday, October 31 at Monte Caputo in Limassol. Tickets for all days are available from Pole Dance Studio MooN (25 320371), the RUS-Market shop in the Limassol Tourist Area, the office of media sponsor VestnikKipra and on the door. For further information concerning performances, prices and times, visit www.facebook.com/poleartcyprus , www.facebook.com/PoleDanceStudioMoon, email [email protected] or call 25 320371