US Pole Dancing East Coast Regional Championships - Charlottesville, VA

US Pole Dance Federation (USPDF) was founded in the beginning of 2008 and is the first organization in the US to host professional pole dancing competitions based on a fair judging format.  USPDF considers pole dancing a sensual athletic dance form that demands coordination, flexibility, fluidity, creativity, individual style, and physical strength. 

Quickly, and almost imperceptibly to most of the town of Charlottesville, it came and went. I was working on a hunch that this could be a great event for the AFP and I think I was right. With my audio recorder, I interviewed the competitors and tried to capture some of the sounds backstage to pair with the images.

As you can imagine there was some resistance to a young male photographer asking for behind the scenes access to a pole dancing competition. I called ahead and explained the concept of the AFP to the governing body and event host the USPDF, and thankfully was able to convince them of my purely photographic intentions.

I don’t think the description here needs to be extensive on the analysis. The women speaking in the video do a pretty excellent job of sharing the way they see it. But it’s a fine line between women who perform on the pole as strippers and the women who perform as artists and competitors. To the casual observer, the difference is negligible. It’s erotic, it’s high heels and tiny outfits, it’s women climbing on a pole. But when you actually watch one of these events, you can begin to tell that these women are pursuing something far beyond the agenda of the late night club girls. Take it for what you will. But no matter your position, you can’t argue the skill and strength involved. It’s simply astounding.