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Displaying Strength and Flexibility

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Erin Ries Haydu of Fairfax competes in the April 28 Ms. Virginia Pole Dance America Fitness Competition held at the Hilton Crystal City. Haydu is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and was looking for a challenging workout: "I spend all day teaching others to be fit and I needed something for myself." She grew up dancing and pole dancing was a logical step for her. She started pole workouts in November 2011 and progressed enough in the following months to register for this, her first competition. Since she started her pole routines, she has lost 20 pounds and is the most fit she’s ever been in her life, "I can now do six pull-ups," said Haydu.

Twenty competitors — 14 amateurs and six professional pole dancers — participated in the Ms. Virginia Pole Dance Fitness Competition held Saturday, April 28 at the Hilton Crystal City. The event comprised three rounds, the compulsory round during which competitors performed pole routines without music to demonstrate strength, flexibility, stamina, balance and overall athletic ability; a second round during which competitors are interviewed and asked to answer questions posed by the judges, demonstrating their communication skills, and a second performance round with a longer routine set to music and judged on technique and theatrical skills.

Competitors use two poles in their routines — a static pole and a spinning pole. Certain skill sets and moves must be demonstrated during a routine on both poles for competitors to receive high scores, much like gymnastics or ice skating competitions. Winners advance to regional competition.

Moses Carroll, the producer of the event, said that pole dancing is a rapidly growing sport: "It is another way to do fitness and to do gymnastics," with numbers of fitness pole dance studios growing significantly in the past 10 years.