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Despite progress in the public’s understanding of what we do, many of us still fight stereotypes. Some of pole dancing’s loudest critics have never tried it themselves. Just last year, Marina Heck, a schoolteacher, was forced to resign from her position following controversy that she is a pole dancer. Even if what we are doing is completely athletic and far removed from the type of pole dancing performed in strip clubs, we still need to explain ourselves. Many times when revealing to strangers what it is I do, I find myself hesitating because I don’t feel like justifying my passion to a skeptic.
Wrap your leg around the pole. Bring up the leg on the same side of your body as the hand that is holding the pole. Then, bring your leg up to the pole as you wrap your other hand around it. Flex your foot and place it on one side of the pole, with your knee on the other side. You'll need to use this leg to really anchor yourself to the pole, and create a sturdy base for your other foot to land on.[13]
A wide range of amateur and professional competitions are held in many countries around the world. They are strictly non-nude and focus on pole dance as an athletic and artistic form of dance and fitness. The first "Miss Pole Dance World" competition was held in November 2005 in Amsterdam and Elena Gibson from the UK won the championship. The following day Elena was disqualified by the organizer John Benner amongst much controversy and the title went to the runner up Reiko Suemune from Japan.[citation needed]

The number of men pole dancing continues to grow every year. There are men’s divisions in competitions now, and I usually have at least one man in all the classes I take or teach. Men’s natural inclination toward upper body strength makes them ideal candidates for the sport. There are many ancient forms of pole dancing such as Chinese pole and Mallakhamb, which have been performed throughout history and almost exclusively by men.
K.T. Coates, a famed competitive pole dancer, and the International Pole Sports Federation, are currently promoting a campaign to include competitive pole dance in the Olympics and an application was made to the International Olympic Committee to recognise pole as a sport in September 2016.[15] Numerous competitions exist, including the World Pole Sport Championship, U.S. Pole Federation Championship, Pole Art, Miss Pole Dance America, and the International Pole Masters Cup Championship.[16]
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