Lancaster poles apart in pole fitness

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Pole fitness is an emerging sport, although you could also call it an art. It’s a unique combination of dance, gymnastics and performance art, which happens to involve poles. It uses strength and flexibility, but most of all, passion.

Lancaster Pole Fitness and York Pole Exercise came together in a packed LICA building to compete in Roses for the first time. The audience were treated to performances from four different categories: group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. 

Group

3rd place was awarded to York Group 1, who gave a fierce performance to “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. This group also won a special award for having Best Costumes. Lancaster Group 1 claimed 2nd place for insane levels of chemistry and passion in their performance of “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. 1st place went to York Group 2, whose performance of “Creep” by Postmodern Jukebox was an incredible interpretation of the song’s lyrics, using levels on the pole to really bring home that all too familiar “pining for someone out of my league” experience.

Beginner

Katy Cundick from York won 3rd place; her performance of “A Thousand Miles” by Boyce Avenue was smooth, graceful and beautiful to watch. 2nd place went to Lancaster’s Lucy Edmonson,  who brought a skilled and stunning performance of “I See Fire”. York’s Sarah Ng won 1st place. She thoroughly deserved this win for her performance of “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace, which ended in perfect fashion with a backflip and a high kick.

Intermediate

In this category, 3rd place went to Sarah Hexeberg, Lancaster, who delivered the emotion of Sia’s “Bird Set Free” with her face as well as her body. 2nd place went to Lancaster’s Rosie Cullen, who injected tons of personality into her thoroughly enjoyable routine “I’m In Love With A Monster” by Fifth Harmony. To complete the set, 1st place was also awarded to Lancaster. Sabrina Ng brought so much energy to every aspect of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” – it’s clear that Sabrina is a natural entertainer.

Advanced

Finally, in the most experienced category, 3rd place was awarded to Natalie Jones, Lancaster, who delivered a killer routine to Florence & the Machine’s “Cosmic Love” despite recently dislocating her shoulder. Lancaster’s Philli McCormick won 2nd place –  her interpretation of “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! At the Disco wowed everyone in the room. Finally, 1st place was awarded to  Elly Sharrock, Lancaster, who used the theme to “This is England” to deliver a gritty, powerful and unique performance. Elly also won a thoroughly deserved Best Entertainer mention.

This made Lancaster the overall winners, with a score of 24-12. But both sides gave some truly remarkable performances and I honestly think the judges could have gone either way.

The atmosphere was truly amazing throughout, but not in the way you’d expect at a Roses match. Although every performance was scored by a panel of impartial judges, the whole thing felt more like a showcase than a competition. The atmosphere was one of support and encouragement, with everyone from both sides cheering for all performers. At one point as the scores were being counted, everyone seemed to forget that this was a competition, with the judges taking selfies and performers from both sides dancing together.

There was also a real sense of awe, with people in the audience wondering how on earth everyone was managing to pull off these incredibly complex routines and make them look easy. This was, first and foremost, a celebration of pole itself, and I’m fairly convinced that people who can do pole fitness must be some form of superhuman.

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