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Hawkes Bay Today

Corey Charlton | 24th November 2011

Pole dancers win national champs
Three of Napier’s best pole dancers have returned from the recent New Zealand Pole Champs with a clutch of winners’ medals.

Alesha Hunt, 24, won gold after first beating competition from throughout the country and Amy Bethune and Paula Seymour’s “cops and robbers” themed dance earned them silver medals in the pairs category.

Pole dancing had long been the victim of pop culture misconceptions but Ms Hunt said it was great for general fitness.

“I honestly think it’s the best and the most fun thing I’ve ever done. I definitely see it as more of a sport and I think ‘try it before you judge it’.”

Her routine was a mixture of pole work and dance, choreographed by owner and instructor Christine Crowe.

The international judges scored the contestants on an overall rating of agility, strength, tricks, flexibility and endurance.

Despite not necessarily possessing the best pole tricks, Ms Hunt thought her routine won because the other contestants’ “transitions weren’t quite choreographed”.

She discovered pole dancing after meeting someone at her cousin’s birthday, who suggested it as a fitness option “if you’re looking for something new”.

Ms Bethune, 22, said it was “just a lot of fun”, and it encouraged women to gain confidence and stay active.

Instructor Christine Crowe has three years’ experience in the job and choreographed all the routines herself. She came from a ballet background.

Last year a pupil from her business also won gold at the inaugural Wellington NZPC. She describes herself as “proud owner” of Napier’s Pole Secrets Pole Fitness.

Hawkes Bay Today

Andrew Neil | 29th June 2010

Competitive pole dancer Rochelle Blummont gave her coach and home studio a “huge birthday present”, by winning the Central Pole Dance Championships in Wellington.

“I’m just so happy I won – it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears – a few upside-down tears even,” she said.

Ms Blummont, an early childhood teacher from Haumoana, said she had been training in the sport on-and-off for three years but coach Christine Crowe put together a competitive routine for her just three weeks before the weekend event.

“They said I stood out because of my choreography and because I was more graceful and fluent,” she said.

Her home studio, Pole Secrets Pole Fitness in Napier which is run by coach Ms Crowe, is celebrating its first birthday this weekend.

“We basically had only a few weeks to turn my little star into a champion,” Ms Crowe said.

The sport of pole fitness was growing and the championships were very competitive.

“The rules were reiterated before the competition and included no stripper heels, no G-stings and no clothing was to be removed,” Ms Blummont said.

“Everyone was there to compete and have a good time.”

The event was held at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre and open to the public.

“It was all girls from studios around the country and there was strict entry criteria, ” Ms Crowe said.

Ms Blummont got into pole fitness after being inspired by silk tissue acrobatics, often seen in circus acts.

She said the dancing often combined elements of gymnastics and ballet, making it quite physical.

“It’s a highly disciplined sport it uses a lot of upper body and core muscles, it works your whole body.

“I was never into a lot of sport I was always a more sit on the couch and read sort of person.”

Hawke’s Bay Today was offered a quick lesson on the pole and can testify even basic moves work many muscle groups, especially the shoulders and abdominal muscles.

Training for the champs, she worked five days a week and gave “110 per cent”.

“I was crying upside down at one point, had lots of bruises and losing skin on my inner thighs, but I couldn’t have done it without Christine.”

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