1The International Pole champion who was born without her left arm (Australia)
Australian Deb Roach has always been drawn to defying the impossible, and with one arm and a pole, she has done just that.
Roach was born without her left arm and bullied for as long as she can remember. The bullying extended beyond being picked last and got to a point where her classmates force fed her cockroaches. Roach would confide in Fred, the name she gave to her shortened arm. She even gave Fred eyes and a mouth.
Despite her setbacks, Roach threw herself into dancing and worked extremely hard. When a peer told her that she might as well give up dancing because it is an aesthetic pursuit and her lines were broken, she opted to take private lessons.
Roach assumed that being a pole dancer was an impossible aspiration. However, with encouragement from a performer she seen, she took classes and began building up strength.
With the right amount of dedication and training, Roach went on to win the disabled division of the 2012 International Pole Championship as well as the disabled division of PoleFit in 2013. In 2014, she won a $10,000 Amplify You Art grant from Accessible Arts NSW for skills development in circus art.
Roach has now made roots in the UK after being granted an exceptional talent visa by the Arts Council England. Besides pole dancing, she works as a yoga teacher, personal trainer and public speaker.
2The mom who lost her leg in a crash and found new lease of life as a pole dancer (UK)
A mother of four from Wigan who lost her leg in an horrific car crash has found a new lease of life, thanks to pole dancing.
Lisa Eagleton, 40, had to have her right leg amputated below the knee following the accident in 2007. But, after months of rehabilitation and support at a specialist center, she regained her confidence and learned to walk again. She was offered a chance to take part in a photoshoot, which led to her becoming an alternative model and taking up pole dancing.
Lisa, who swims eight hours a week and does yoga to help ease the pain she still suffers, said: “There's always a way to do things to make you happy. The hardest thing is to take the first step.”
Now she wows crowds as Britain's only below-knee amputee pole dancer.
Well done, Lisa!
3The woman who dances with her two-year-old strapped to her back (US)
Ashley Wright, a California woman, got hooked on pole dancing after graduating college. To her, dance is an “organic” communication tool for expressing love with her daughter and, she insists, has nothing to do with attachment parenting, a philosophy that often involves extended breastfeeding and baby wearing.
This is not the first time that Wright has had to take a public stance regarding her dance routine. In February 2015, after Wright posted a video of herself pole dancing in her living room with her daughter Shannon afoot, online commenters called the interaction “inappropriate” and an example of “bad parenting.” Wright even appeared on the CBS show “The Doctors” to defend her dancing.
Wright continues to defend her right to pole dance with her two-year-old daughter strapped to her body, but is under fire from critics who have accused her of "endangering her child." after she released a new video of herself twirling around a silver bar in her underwear with her toddler secured to her back. Wright strapped her daughter in a six-yard-long wrap (with a technique she calls “double hammock with a chest pass and necktie”) to keep Shannon secure. Shannon slept blissfully on her mother's back while the pair twirled, bent backward and forward, and climbed the pole.
Take a look!
4 The 60-year-old acrobatic grandmother who became a pole dancer (China)
In 2013, an acrobatic grandmother proved you're never too old for a change of career after taking up pole dancing at the age of 60 and becoming an internet sensation.
Sun Fengqin, of Nanjing, China, decided to try the raunchy sport after watching several videos and becoming fascinated by the beauty and athleticism.
Because pole dancing is associated with strip clubs in China, Fengqin kept her desire to learn a secret from her family, but word soon got around, and her hidden talents were soon discovered.
To Sun's relief they all approved. Her husband Cui Lianhua was even on board.
Her instructor, Shen Ting, was a little shocked to be teaching a woman old enough to be her grandmother how to spin around a pole, but was happy to have her as a student.
5The former Playboy model whose fake boob accidentally exploded after a pole dancing fall (Venezuela)
Diosa Canales, a 28-year-old Venezuelan pole dancer and former Playboy model, was performing a pole routine when she lost her grip mid-performance and landed on her chest.
The impact was so hard that it ruptured one of her breast implants.
Canales was rushed to hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery. “I want to tell everyone not to worry about me , I'll be fine,” she said on Instagram after posting images of herself after the operation.
6The woman with cerebral palsy who uses pole dancing as therapy (Australia)
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder which can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance.
Kellie Leigh, a 26-year-old Australian with cerebral palsy has always fought for her independence and the opportunity to achieve her potential.
She was first introduced to the concept of pole dance fitness as a sport on TV, and it wasn't long before Kellie was taking private lessons in various pole dance studios.
This is the first time Kellie's intsructor, Sharon, has worked with somebody with cerebral palsy, and due to their tremendous success as a team, she wonders how much more is possible for Kellie in her pole dancing journey. Kellie says that pole dancing acts as physical therapy for her, and the results have been significant.
7A three-year-old is third generation in her family to take up pole-dancing (Canada)
Little Leanna Parent, 3, has become the third generation of her family to take up pole dancing.
The girl has been watching her mum and grandmother on it before she could even walk. Now, she is able to shimmy up an 11' pole on her own and performs all sorts of manouvers which she copies from her family.
Her mum, Lissa, 24, and grandmother, Julie Marois, 44, insist pole dancing is healthier for Leanna than activities other toddlers her age do. The family, from Sainte-Christine in Quebec, Canada, run two pole dancing schools called Vertical Studios. Despite being considered an act associated with strip clubs, the pair believe more children should practice it and claim the benefits are real.
Not everyone's a fan, however. Rachel Burrows, editor of parenting site Netmums, believes encouraging children to pole dance is a mistake. While she agrees it's a great way for adults to keep fit and have fun at the same time, she doesn't believe it's appropriate for children. "Young children don't understand the sexual overtones of the moves and copying them could leave them very vulnerable to exploitation," Burrows said.
8The exotic dancer who lost her thumb during scripper contest (US)
At the 9th annual Delilah's Diamond G-String Competition, dancers used all kinds of props – swords, footballs, hula hoops, poles and of course, g-strings – to prove their sex appeal in hopes of winning a $10,000 cash prize.
Sarah Berry used a "half moon aerial apparatus," but her thumb was amputated while during rehearsals before the July 20, 2011, contest.
The digit disaster occurred when a sharp edge on the apparatus – a crescent-shaped metal bar suspended from the ceiling – severed her thumb.
Berry, who works as a photographer, wasn't a professional exotic dancer, but entered the contest at a friend's invitation. She claims that Delilah's, the competition's host and creator, failed to ensure that the apparatus was properly designed, built, inspected and tested, and didn't warn users of its dangers. According to her attorney, James D. Golkowhe, she was seeking more than $50,000 in damages for "pain and suffering, disfigurement, humiliation and embarrassment."
Freak injuries at strip clubs aren't as unusual as you might think. Earlier that year, a Lansdale man sued the Penthouse Club, after claiming that a dancer slid down a stripper pole and landed on him with such force that his bladder ruptured.
9The tiny 2-years-old girl who prefers giving the pole a whirl on video (Australia)
Two-year-old Rylie has become a social media sensation after making guest appearances in her mum's pole dancing videos.
Rylie had been “bopping” to music since birth and it wasn't long after learning to walk that she discovered she could twirl around the pole at her mum's teaching studio.
As expected, the negative comments came quickly, but Kristy Sellars, 28, an internationally-renowned pole choreographer, has defended her daughter's involvement. She said, "For kids there is no difference between a vertical pole or horizontal gymnastics bar. They (children) have a lot of strength and don't have any fear. A lot of women start doing it to increase their own self confidence, and their kids see their parents having fun and want to be part of it.”
Take a look her video on facebook https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=783260281706319&set=vb.447505645281786&type=3&theater
10The slow loris pole dancer (Russia)
If you thought you had seen it all then prepare to be mistaken.
Instagram celebrity Irina Goncharova showed off her poledancing slow loris in Perm (Russia) on March 20, 2015 after training it to hold onto a metal pole and swivel around, attracting almost 70,000 viewers online.
The wide-eyed primate wears a cross between a nappy and a pair of shorts and picks up speed while spinning, becoming dizzy. It catches it's breath, then swivels back in the other direction before climbing further up the pole.
Of course, the pole is being turned and the poor little creature is not really pole dancing but hanging on for dear life.
The slow loris has become increasingly popular as a pet among people who adore it for its cute behaviour and large eyes. Unfortunately, this is considered to be, along with deforestation, the main threat to the species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates well over half of the slow loris population is either endangered, at risk or vulnerable.
What is there even to be said about this, other than it probably constitutes some level of circus-style animal cruelty?