Over 30 competitors bent over backwards in a bid to be crowned the winner at the UK National Pole Dancing Championships – in a room full of 500 cheering WOMEN.
Hundreds flocked to the Telford International Centre, Shrops., to see performers from across Europe take part in the glitzy competition on Sunday.
And circus performer Bendy Kate – real name Kate Czepulkowsk – stripped off the competition by spinning and sliding her way to be crowned Elite Champion.
But surprisingly over 90 per cent of the crowd at the event – which celebrates the athletic discipline – were made up of females.
Audience member Paula Bowen, 30, said: “It’s like Cirque de Soliel meets Olympic gymnastics – there’s nothing seedy about it.
“Its pure athleticism, which is hard not to admire.
Dozens of pole dancers took to the 10ft (3m) stainless steel poles on a raised podium to entertain hundreds of people in the arena.
“There is the stigma of it being sleazy, but this is very professionally run and not like that at all. You won’t see many blokes here.”
With three categories – instructors, professionals and elite – each competitor had one music track to wow the judges during the competition.
Talented pole dancers wowed the crowd by contorting themselves into a manner of shapes – while defying gravity by anchoring themselves with their feet in the air.
Bendy Kate, 23, was eventually crowned the Elite Performer and also scooped the title for having the best tricks.
Kate – who has previously showcased her skills on Britain’s Got Talent – said afterwards: “I enjoyed gymnastics as a child and fell in love with pole dancing after joining a club at university.
“I am now a freelance circus performer and hand balancer and I teach classes.
“I was delighted to win.”
And the competition wasn’t just confined to female competitors as 25-year-old Dan Rosen, from Hemel Hempstead, Bucks., was crowned Mr Pole Fitness UK.
He said: “A lot of mums enjoy pole dancing as a way to keep fit and the teenagers also love it.
“I started after going into a club in Milton Keynes that had a couple of poles that people were messing about on. I had a go and thought, this is brilliant.
“I had some lessons and it went from there.”
Elite category: winner, Bendy Kate; runner up, Lisette Krol
Professional: winner, Leah Rose; runner up, Amy Williams
Instructor: winner: Annalisa Muresu; runner up: Laura Pearson
Best entertainer, Kristina Walker
Best choreography, Julia Borccetti
Best tricks, Bendy Kate
Best flexibility, Steph Foster
Sponsors’ choice, Dan Rosen