Pole Dancing: It's Not Just for Strippers Anymore

"How pretty," one woman sitting behind me said of a dancer's outfit that looked more appropriate for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" than a strip club. But rest assured, there were plenty of outfits that could be described as beyond "skimpy."

The professional category champ, Alethea Austin, won a $5,000 prize, roundtrip airfare to perform at Miss Pole Dance Australia and a gift bag from the event's sponsors.

As the winner of the amateur competition, Mortezaie, who said she trained for two months for the event, moves on the professional ranks and gets a $500 check.

She works full time doing marketing for social media and gaming Web sites, and on nights and weekends she teaches pole dancing classes, a total of six each week.

She said the key to her success was to play off the vibe and energy of the audience and to "just relax."

"I usually have to explain that it's for fitness, fun and not in a strip club," Mortezaie said. "I'm working hard to bring it into the mainstream."

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