Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Two Taiwanese take top male pole dancing prizes

By Wu Po-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Dancing duo Ian and Eric demonstrate their pole dancing routine in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Two Taiwanese men are drawing attention to the little-known art of male pole dancing after taking top prizes in international competitions in the US and Australia.

The duo, who identify themselves as Ian and Eric, began dancing together competitively a year ago, becoming Taiwan’s first male pole-dancing duo.

Pole dancing allows them to express both the strength and the beauty of professional male dancers, they said.

Eric was introduced to pole dancing by a friend while studying dance at Taipei National University of the Arts’ Department of Theatrical Design and Technology. The more he practiced, the more successful he became with the art, he said, adding that he was later encouraged to join three international competitions.

In April he won the top prize in the technical category at the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships in Los Angeles.

Ian, who is a graduate of National Taiwan University’s Department of Chinese Literature, also began pole dancing three years ago and won his first international competition this year in Australia, taking the Special Prize at the Mr. Pole Dance competition in June.

Looking back, Eric said his pole-dancing training went smoothly, but he always worried how his parents would react to his choice to be a pole dancer, adding that he only found the courage to tell them after resolutely deciding to make it his career.

His parents’ support and understanding were a big weight off his shoulders, he said.

“Training to be a dancer is very tiring, but with my family’s support, I can really share my enjoyment of dance. It [their support] also has become a driving force for me,” he said.

In the past pole dancing was always associated with stripping and sex, but that this image of the art is too stiff and incomplete, Ian said. Aside from sex appeal it is also about strength, technique and artistic expression.

The two are members of Taiwan’s first professional pole-dancing troupe, the Stainless Steel Dance Company (不銹鋼舞團), which has eight members including Eric and Ian.

The troupe, which is preparing to put on its first performance, said it aims to promote pole dancing in Taiwan.

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