Fri, Jul 05, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Rock climber enjoys pole’s challenges

WINNING WAYS:Toy Wang took up pole dancing just six months ago at his girlfriend’s encouragement, but won the amateur title at a competition in mid-June

By Weng Yu-huang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Rock climbing and pole dancing enthusiast Toy Wang poses in a Taipei studio on Tuesday.

Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times

While pole dancing is mostly associated with women dancing at sleazy nightclubs, a male rock climbing instructor has shown that it could also be a masculine and professional sport by winning the championship at an international pole dance competition last month after only six months of training.

Toy Wang (王駿榮), 34, said he has been fascinated by the challenges nature has to offer since he was little and is one of the few rock climbers in the nation to have obtained a C Class Sport Climbing Instructor certificate from the Chinese Taipei Alpine Association.

Wang’s life revolved around rock climbing and students at his training courses at the Taipei Physical Education College and the Nangang Sports Center in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港), until his girlfriend, Lu Chung-pu (盧崇璞), a pole dancing teacher, encouraged him to try out some pole dancing moves six months ago.

With the muscular endurance and hand strength gained from years of rock climbing, Wang was able to master some of the more advanced poses after a few practice sessions.

“I had considered pole dancing a sport through which women showcase their sex appeal and flexibility. After giving it a try, however, I realized that through the dance, men could also demonstrate the strength and aesthetics of their masculinity,” Wang said.

Wang entered the 2013 Pole Stars Malaysia Pole Championship held on June 16 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the amateur group.

To a soundtrack that included songs from the kung fu classic Once Upon a Time in China (黃飛鴻), Wang won the judges over with difficult moves such as “the body flag,” “air walk” and “split.”

Wang said he plans to continue honing and sharpening his technique.

“Seeing how participants in the professional male group pulled off some highly sophisticated poses made me realize that there is still a lot of room for improvement in my skills,” Wang said.

Lu also took the opportunity during Wang’s interview to promote pole dancing, saying that Taiwan should hold regular international pole dance competitions to give the public a different perspective on the sport, which not only helps enhance physical strength and improve body shape, but also boosts self-confidence.

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