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October 12, 2012 an anticipated day amongst the pole community. As I approached the Manhattan Center also known as the Hammerstein Ballroom, I was overcome by excitement by the intense pole dancing competition I was about to witness. It was time for the much anticipated 3rd annual American Pole Fitness Championships (APFC) presented by the American Pole Fitness Association (APFA). Doors opened promptly at 5:30PM with performances beginning at 6:30PM. The line moved swiftly, as the crowd was eager to strut their stuff on the red carpet, as the paparazzi snapped photos of the pole athletes and the dressed to impress audience members alike, myself included!

As my fellow pole dancers may know, there is an effort to recognize the young sport of pole fitness as an athletic activity. APFC promotes this awareness. Pole fitness is an athletic sport that incorporates dance and gymnastics with a vertical apparatus. The APFC brings pole athletes/performers from all over the world, to compete for various titles as well as to show their artistry. Thirteen nominees were chosen by the APFA, 8 women, and 5 men.

DJ Roger blasted dope dubstep beats throughout the theatre, as the show began. The performances were insane! Aerial flips, shoulder mount climbs, one-armed pull-up climbs, splits, one-armed spins, handsprings, flags, you name it. It was done. Names do not do the moves justice, just see the photos. Better yet, get to the next American Pole Fitness Championships! You will literally be left breathless. I know I was. The men started the show with some dynamic performances by Accro, Suwait, and Ravan. Accro stole the competition dressed as a ninja, throwing ninja stars at the audience, and performing moves never seen before. Then the women followed suit, exuding the same strength and energy as the men. Pink Puma won first place using ballroom dancing in her routine, using the pole as her partner! Samantha Star Cuomo won APFA Pole Athlete of the year, dressed as an Aztec warrior, and a warrior she was, on that pole! Heidi Coker won APFA Pole Artist of the year, beginning her routine with some breakdancing, doing windmills! All the performances were astounding, showing athleticism, strength, dance, gymnastics, artistry, passion, and flexibility incorporated in each performance.

Thanks to Tinu who organized a great competition and the performers who were absolutely amazing for lack of a better word. Unfortunately, APFC was not a full house, with many pole competitions popping up across the country because of the increasing popularity of pole fitness. But, hopefully, I will see you all there next time! Oh yeah, by the way, there are tons of free giveaways to each person in attendance, plus a happening after party with great music, and great people!

Review and photography by Tash Hall

This post originally appeared on Electronic Nightlife, now a part of beatcue.

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