Shattering the Stigma on Pole Dancing: Q&A with Miss Pole ACT Amy Truong
Pole Dancing is a sport which combines flexibility, acrobatics, grace, strength and choreography.
With over six studios in Canberra offering different styles and levels, Pole Dancing is becoming increasingly popular for any individual who wants to have fun and build strength, without the repetitiveness of going to the gym.
When pole dancing is brought up in any conversation, people’s minds can often wander off to women doing it as a form of entertainment in clubs. Although for the men and women who devote countless amount of hours to learning the different tricks and building up their fitness levels, pole dancing is a serious sport.
So what exactly does a pole dancing competition look like? I sat down for a chat with Director of Capital Dance Studios and the current Miss Pole ACT/TAS, Amy Truong, to get the ins and outs of competitive pole dancing.
How did you get involved in Pole Dancing?
I first started it in 2013. I decided to do it because, in Canberra, I found it was really hard to find adult dance classes which challenged me. When I started doing it, my upper body strength was terrible, so that gave me the initiative to continue with it. I started doing regular classes and never looked back.
Did you always see yourself competing in the sport?
Not at the beginning. I didn’t know that pole dancing was something I could compete in. After training for a year at the studio I went to, it was brought to my attention that I could compete and I thought it would be a really good challenge.
What does a pole dancing competition look like?
Pole Dancing isn’t exactly publicised as a real sport, but the competitions are extremely competitive and intense. The main type of competition consists of one dancer onstage showcasing their skills. There is one pole, which actually spins while you are holding it, so you have to do moves which show your fluidity, flexibility and strength. There is another pole, which isn’t spinning, and you have to do similar elements on that pole. In addition to this, you get critiqued on floor work, showmanship, stage presence and costuming.
Let’s talk about the stigma surrounding Pole Dancing. How is what you do different to the exotic dancing seen in clubs?
There are two main differences between what I do and what you see in clubs. The first one is that I don’t get paid. When I’m competing at a show, it’s me putting up the money and it’s me putting my time and energy into the show. The second thing is that it’s very athletic. I like to think of pole dancing as a type of gymnastics sport. Within gymnastics the athletes have their arbutus, ours is just vertical and spinning. Some poles dancers in the night industry don’t have to do all of the technical gymnast aspects of it all. They can walk around and do a few strength moves and that will be the end of their night.
I also think it’s important to understand that perception plays a huge role. A pole dancer in a night club can be appreciated in a non-sexual way if people would only choose to do so. Pole dancing isn’t all about being sexy, it’s about being strong, confident and empowering your womanhood.
“A Pole Dancer in a night club can be appreciated in a non-sexual way if people would only choose to do so” – Amy Truong.
How do people react when you tell them that you’re a pole dancer?
I’m very cautious to whom I speak about it because I own a dance school with minors. If I do have a conversation with someone about it, they are interested in it, which is nice. Sometimes people give me a weird look but I just brush it off.
What would you say the most important aspect of pole dancing is?
Confidence is the most important aspect to pole dancing. If you’re not confident in something, it makes it a little bit difficult for you to actually accomplish little things like a body role or pulling yourself up the pole. You just need that little bit of confidence to get you to do tricks without looking like you’re scared.
If you had one message to a young boy or girl who is interested in getting involved in the sport, what would it be?
You’ve got nothing to lose so just give it a go! You will be surprised how much fun it can be.
If you think that Pole Dancing might be the sport for you, click to find a studio near you.