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Pole dancers swing into Sussex theatre for world championships
More than 50 men and women from 26 countries descended on a Sussex theatre to compete in the pole dancing world championships.
Competitors from as far and wide as the United States, Russia, China and Italy wrapped themselves around a vertical metal pole in a bid for glory.
In the end it was Kate Czepulkowski of the UK who walked away with the women's title while Kristian Lebedev returned to Russia with the men's title.
Steve Penney, co-organiser of the event, said: “This is the first time the championships have been held in the UK, so it was quite an occasion.
“This is completely different to girls dancing in strip clubs. This is an art form to our competitors, they are so fit. Club girls wouldn't stand a chance against this lot, they are incredible.”
Pole dancing was first seen as a performing art in the 1980s.
Since the mid 2000s it has been used as an exercise and fitness technique with instructors attempting to change its perception from a sleazy form of entertainment to a non-sexual style of dance and acrobatics.
The World Championships, which were first held in 2009, provided a huge step forward in that quest.
And having previously been held in Jamaica, Switzerland and Hungary, this weekend saw the first UK outing.
Crawley's Hawth Theatre was the venue with punters coming from far and wide to witness the world's best.
Mr Penney added: “It isn't about g-strings and flashing body parts, this is a skilled competition.
“There is no nudity and even a slight wardrobe malfunction could see competitors disqualified.
“Our competitors come from all different backgrounds, one of the top males at the moment is a former lawyer.”
The three categories saw men, women and synchronised pairs battle it out for the honours.
Judges scored the dancers in a number of categories including moves, originality, costumes, use of props and their ability to tell a story.
Mr Penney said: “It's great fun and is growing in popularity all over the world.
“As well as putting on events like this, we want to promote it as fun way of getting fit.
“There are loads of ways to get involved and I would recommend it to anyone.”
For more information and to get involved visit www.polepassion.com.
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