Pole Dancing: It's Not Just for Strippers Anymore

Women are finding pole dancing to be a wonderful workout.

ByABC News
March 22, 2010, 9:29 AM

March 22, 2010— -- I've seen my fair share of Broadway shows and rock concerts, even the opera and philharmonic. But the other day I attended for the first time a pole dancing competition.

It was an afternoon watching a group of women spinning around brass poles and performing incredible tricks with their bodies.

No, this wasn't some trip to a seedy strip club. It was a national championship competition sponsored by the official-sounding U.S. Pole Dance Federation, which backs pole dancing classes and tries to legitimize the "sport." (Yes, they call it a sport.)

The group, who motto is "the Sleek, the Strong, the Sexy," says five minutes on a pole can tone your body and get your heart racing as well, if not better, than any gym workout in the gym.

"You really want to get up that pole. You're lifting a lot more than 5-pound dumbbells at the gym," explained Wendy Traskos, who co-founded the group along with Anna Grundstrom.

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Hundreds of people packed into a New York event space that normally hosts comedy shows, lectures, jazz, opera and other musical acts, It was a pretty large turnout for a midday event.

"Because it's pole dancing," Traskos said. "It's athletic women doing mind-blowing moves."

The moves would have impressed anybody on the dance floor, except these women were dancing 10 feet off the ground hanging onto a pole -- clad in 6-inch heels.

Mina Mortezaie, a 26-year-old marketing professional from Los Angeles who won the amateur division, hung upside down, supporting the weight of her body with just one leg wrapped around the pole . And the other leg? It was bent back behind her head.

It's sort of like Cirque du Solei... just with less clothes.

"It can be addictive," Traskos said. Some people spend up to four hours a day training.

But unlike the strip clubs, she said, "We keep it PG rated."

Grundstrom added: "No nudity. No excessive booty shaking."