Contestants

 PRO division:

 

Hanka Venselaar (Netherlands)

Hi! I’m Hanka Venselaar, 28 years old, from Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In my daily life I’m a PhD student in bioinformatics at the Radboud University Nijmegen. I’ve always been interested in music, dance and acrobatics and I used to do competitive gymnastics for over 14 years. When I retired 5 years ago I was looking for a new challenge and I found poledance! I loved it from the start. This sport enables me to use my gymnastics abilities and combine them with my life for music, dance and show. When I started poledance I expected to do 1 or 2 classes a week, but before I knew I was teaching students, doing workshops, performing and yes…doing competitions again… In 2008 I won the Dutch Artistic Pole Dance Nationals, followed by the Benelux Championships in 2009 and 2010, and Europeans 2010. Poledance has brought me to the most amazing places all over the world. I’m truly honored (and still a bit surprised) that people invite me to do workshops or perform at their event. I’ve met lots of wonderful people in this world, everyone with the same love for this special sport. Since this year I’m the proud owner of my own little company Studio Ad Astra. I teach workshops and private classes (using Skype if you wish!) in both poledance and aerial silks. Have a look at the website: www.studio-adastra.nl

Rafaela Montanaro (Brazil)

Miss Pole dance Brazil 2009

Miss Pole Dance South America 2009

Best Tricks at Miss Pole Dance World 2010

3rd Place at Miss Pole Dance World 2010

Pole Fit Champion at International Pole Championship

I started my sports carrer at the age 3, when my mom needed to find an actvity that would make me spend all the energy I used to put the house down! So she took me to a gymnastics school…When I was 6 I received 2 gold medals  at national championship!

When I was 16 i joined a local circus school, and then I got a spot at école nationale des arts du cirque in France, The whole program was 4 years long but I only stood 1, due to financial and family issues. So when i came back to Brazil the gym I went to had Kung-fu classes, I started to play with it and the next year I made it to the national team! By the end of college, in 2008 I stumbled across Felix performing on Miss Pole Dance Australia 2006, and I imagined I could be good at that! 

 

Maria Luz Escalanta (Argentina)

I´m 31 years old from Argentina, South America . I started taking ballet lessons at the age of 5 and never stopped! From 19997 till1999 I played various key roles in Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Corsair, Carmen, Paquita, La Fille Mal Gardée,etc.

I have a Degree in Human Resources.At 23 years old I became a fitness instructor specializing in spinning, stretching, cardio strip dance, gymnastics located, reggaeton, Latin rhythms, pilates mat, etc.
In May 2007, I finally met the pole dance world and soon started to teach beginners level in the first school of Pole Dance in Argentina.
A year later I earned the title of “Best Pole Dancer” at the Pole Dance Championship Argentina -2008
In 2009 I won again in Miss Pole Dance Argentina 2009 and became the first runner up at the Miss Pole Dance South América 2009. Last year I took the 2nd place at the Miss Pole Dance World in Zurich, Switzerland and looking forward to a new challenge at the competition in Denver.

 

Irina Savina (Russia)

I live in St. Petersburg. Doctor-laboratory education, now go and teach Pole Dance. When I Was a child 4 years has been in the circus Studio like a aerial gymnast. In my life I had a First place in the Championship of Russia on the pole dance and fitness, fitness category, 2011. Third place award for adults, solo women professionals Russian Cup Pole Dance fitness 2011, first place in the category of Acrobatic Pole Dance professionals, solo, women Miss Pole Dance competitions Russia in the qualifying round in North-West Russia

I like riding a bike, swimming, knitting, crochet, acrobatics inside the ring.

 

Michelle Stanek (US)

Michelle Stanek’s pole dancing career began after her first frustrating yet intoxicating class at Crunch Gym when she realized it could be an incredibly fun and challenging and art form utilizing her classical and modern dance background. Four years later, Michelle is the 2011 USPDF Amateur champion and now a USPDF Pro. She also earned first place in the PFA’s East Meets West “Pole Drama” competition in September 2010 and also Polesque in January 2010. She is beyond humbled and excited to be a part of Pole Dance Universe and to have the opportunity to share what pole dance means to her—something inherently but unusually sensual, creative, unique and expressive. 

Michelle is one of three master trainers for the new instructor certification program, X-Pert, a partnership between Crunch Gym and X-Pole. Michelle cherishes every opportunity to dance—her childhood dream, finally realized, with the addition of a pole apparatus. In addition, Michelle earned her BA and MA in the theory, history and criticism of art and design. She taught art history survey courses at Pratt Institute, worked as the program curator of AIGA, the professional association for design, and traveled to Italy each summer to lecture and lead tours on Italian art and history. She also loves bonding with nature and seeking adventure.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Veronika Mikhailova (Russia)

I was born in Saint-Petersburg and I live here till now. I had never tried gymnastics or dance prior to my first “meeting” with a pole. Since autumn 2008 I begun to study pole dance under the art direction of Julia Irinina. Since summer 2010 I’m the instructor of Pole Dance and pole fitness in the “Julia Irinina’s Pole Dance Show Studio – Trash” and I’m second manager of  “Julia Irinina’s Pole Dance Show Studio – Trash”!

My dynamics, force, speed, fast rhythm, strong, endurance, expression, dramatic nature, skills of improvisation, feeling of a rhythm and little bit trash makes me the best candidate for the competitions and all of this a part of my personal style!

For me, First of all ‘Pole dance’ is dance and creativity, it is an art form, it is not only sports and gymnastics!

I have experience in competitions:

-”The Third Russian Cup of Pole Dance 2011″ – 2′rd Place (29′th April 2011)

-The finalist of Aerial Pole International 2011Championship March 19th Bern Switzerland!

-”The Russian Championship of  Dance and Fitness on the Pole” – 2′nd Place (9′th October 2010)

- “Miss Pole Dance Russia 2010″ North-West” – 3′rd Place (6′th June 2010)

-”The Second Russian Cup of Pole Dance 2010″ – 3′rd Place (29′th April 2010)

 

 

Anjel Dust (US)

I’ve been performing and teaching aerial pole in Hollywood for many years. I am the founder and organizer of the California Pole Dance Championship held every year in September. I am also a founding member and the manager of a Hollywood pole company called “Pole Revolt”.
I’m very excited to be apart of this competition and showcase. I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone to show their skill, strength, creativity, and most of all, their love for this art. I look forward to being surround by the all the talented performers. 

 

 

 Derick Pierson (US)

I started my pole addiction two years ago thanks to my friend Tara who got a pole. Less than a week later I was watching YouTube and attempting different moves on a pole of my own. I was hit by a drunk driver when I was younger. So when I found pole dancing and was able to do it without feeling pain I was very enthusiastic. Now I am teaching at Cheeky Fitness in Royal Palm Beach Florida. This is where I took my first real pole classes, and Michelle the owner encouraged me to enter my first competition IPC. In Japan I received second in pole art and can’t wait for the Denver competition. To see how I have grown in the past year is what keeps me motivated. Just never doubt yourself, and always remember you can do anything you put your heart into.

 

 

Carolyn Chiu (Hong-Kong)

Carolyn Chiu is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American who resides in New York City as a multi media artist with an early childhood background in gymnastics. Her experience and interest in performing arts started at a young age. It gradually developed while competing on a southern California gymnastics team. She continues to be inspired by teaching at Long Island Dance Fitness and at Shockra Studio New York City. Her current passion is producing photography shoots of pole dancers at her own company, PoleOgraphy, the art of imaging pole dancers. 

Carolyn’s primary focus is to spread the art of vertical dancing as a respected, graceful performance demonstrating health, fitness and balance as an artist and Yoga Pole instructor.

Julia Irinina (Russia)

I’m from Russia, Saint-Petersburg.

I dancing since childhood, chose this kind of activity for a lifetime. Pole is my passion. I think that pole it is hight art .

I’m holder and director of “Pole Show Studio – Trash” http://www.trashdance.ru, instructor of pole dance , choreographer, fitness instructor, I supervise first pole theatre in Russia. Every year, I participant and prize-winner of the Russian and World Competitions of various dance. And also, participant of dancing ballet. The actor of movies and the TV presenter. The active, creative and kind person!!!

The Participation in the Pole Dance Competitions:

The Pole Dance Championship of Russia semifinal 2009 – 1′st place

The Pole Dance championship of Russia 2009 – 3′d place

The Russian Pole Dance & Fitness Championships 2009/2010 – 2′nd place

Semifinal of competition Polepassion 2010

I’m a creative person in love with life and dance. When I hear music I can not stand without movement. I love to meet new people, new country, kindness and heat. I try to do my show very bright for spectators. I want stay long in their hearts.

Amateur division:

 

Lucille Holmes (US)

I am 27 years old and I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia.  I have been involved in pole fitness for a little over a year now and love everything about it. I was a gymnast for well over a decade. I love pole fitness because it gives me the same feeling and challenge that gymnastics did.  I am an Instructor at Esteem Fitness in my home town in Virginia Beach. 

 

 

Rhiannan Nichole (US)

Certified pole and yoga instructor, personal trainer for women, and proud owner of Rhiannan Nichole’s Premier Pole. After making a name for herself on YouTube, Rhiannan’s signature dance style developed into advanced transitions between sexy body movement and physically demanding aerial tricks. Already with an understanding of fitness and the human body through her personal training career, it wasn’t long before Rhiannan began teaching pole fitness at a prominent studio where she fine tuned not only her physical abilities but her instruction skills as well. Rhiannan soon realized that the health benefits of practicing pole dance fitness are just as much emotional as they are physical and her passion for teaching deepened as she was touched by the effect of pole on her students’ lives.

The women in her classroom; moms, professionals, old and young, of all body types and fitness levels, were losing weight, getting stronger, feeling sexier, and expressing themselves more confidently. 

Past competitions include Vertical Pole Challenge and the California Pole Dance Championships. Rhiannan is featured in the Platinum Stages catalogue as well as the Pocket Pole iPhone application and has performed consecutive years at the International Pole Performers Showcase at the Ink & Iron Festival in Long Beach, CA. Credentials and experience include 10 years of yoga, 9 years of pole, 5 years of personal training, and certifications in all fields. Rhiannan is married with a daughter and 3 dogs and looks forward to growing her already beautiful family.

check out Rhiannan Nichole here: http://www.youtube.com/user/RhiannanNichole

 

 

Phoenix Kazree (US)

Phoenix Kazree, a native of Los Angeles, CA, is married and the proud mother to a beautiful son.

She began her journey on the pole in September, 2010. Phoenix is a former gymnast and currently travels the US with the touring company of a hit Broadway show. With the constant traveling, Phoenix hasn’t had the opportunity to establish a home base within a particular pole studio. But, she has been welcomed to many studios across the country and would like to thank those studios and instructors who have helped her make it this far.

 

 

Sabrina Woods (US)

Sabrina Woods, Certified Personal Trainer, Aerial Dance Instructor & Studio Owner also performs on Lyra, Trapeze and Aerial Silks. In 2011 the North Carolina Pole Dance Champion became an APFA Masters Division Finalist shortly after gaining artistic pole experience by performing in Polesque. In 2010 Sabrina was delighted to place 3rd in the East Meets West Tri-Pole Challenge-Pole AM, to be a Trixpert Division finalist in their Polarity Competition and to become an East Coast Regionals Finalist for the USPDF. Sabrina is very grateful for every high and low she has experienced on her amazing journey through all forms of Aerial Dance, especially pole, and is sincerely honored to participate in the inaugural international event for Pole Dance Universe. She lovingly adores her husband Dave and acknowledges his support in her success. Sabrina also holds every one of her friends and their kindness close to her heart. Her efforts are relentless and her values shine through in her dance!

 

Ray Makino (Reiko) (Japan)

I come from a background in Hiphop and Jazz. I taught Hiphop in Japan. Later,I wanted to get more skills,and I began pole dancing and i have been  pole dancing for 5 years.I have performed in Japan, Korea, Shanghai and I competed the California Pole Dance Championship 09′ and 10′,I got 5th place most flexible award,Tri-pole challenge,Pole Vixen and Miss pole dance Japan. Also i am one of the principle dancers of Kelly Yvonne’s Girl Next

Door show at King King.

 

 

Michelle Shimmy (Australia)

Michelle Shimmy is the proud co-owner (with her wonderful sister Maddie) of the Pole Dance Academy in Bondi, Sydney. Shimmy has a background in rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, belly dance, and aerial circus. Shimmy took her first pole dancing class about 4 and a half years ago, and has been completely pole-crazy ever since. Shimmy was a finalist in the 2010 Miss Pole Dance Australia competition, and a semi -finalist in the International Pole Dance Fitness competition in 2010. She is a finalist in the Asia Pacific Pole Dance Championships 2011 doubles division. When she’s not wrapped around a pole upside down, Shimmy works as a lawyer. She believes she may be the first person to have put herself through pole school by working in a law firm!

 

Elena Shishkova (Russia)

She has been dancing since the age of 10. In 2007 she opened the 1st pole dance and pole fitness studio “POLEDANCE” in Moscow, Russia. And nowadays  she’s considered to be the founder of poledancing in Russia (www.poledance.ru) Since 2007 till 2010 she worked as a choreographer and a leading performer at the Moscow club DIVAS. Since 2010 till 2011 she worked as a choreographer and a leading performer at the Obninsk club Portfolio.

She took part in the World Pole Sport and Fitness Championship 2009 (finalist) and the World Pole Sport and Fitness Championship 2010. She is a co-organizer the Russian Pole dance unity.

She is an organizer of the Moscow monthly project Pole Angels. She is an organizer the Russian pole dance competition 09/10  and 10/11 (www.russianpoledance.com)

She is a performer in Ink-N-iron festival in LA, USA. She goes in for aerial silks.

She is an inventor of her own aerial loops.

«I love teaching –  develop students personality. I love dancing – open my heart.  I love performing –  try to be different.»   

 

  

Jess Leanne Norris (UK)

I have been doing Pole Fitness now for just over 3 years.  I am self taught and currently own 2 Pole Fitness schools (JLN Pole Fitness) This is my first pole competition I have entered into and I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to perform with likeminded people in the USA!   I live for Pole, I truly love all aspects about it, the training, teaching, performing and the rewards of seeing peoples progression through my school is overwhelming.  Pole fitness is my life without a doubt, I can’t switch off, I dance in my sleep too!  So looking forward to this experience!!

  

 

Waeli Wang (US)

Waeli Wang started pole dancing one year ago and is incredibly addicted. She has been dancing for over 10 years and spent a year living in Los Angeles pursuing her dance dreams, appearing in several national commercials. She is now a student at CU Boulder studying film production. Being chosen to be a part of Pole Dancing Universe to inspire and be inspired is very exciting for Waeli.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Nadezhda (Mexico/US)

I’m Nadezhda, I am a cheerleader and a senior in high school. I have been in the pole fitness industry since I was 15 and ever since then, I’ve loved it. I am currently a pole instructor, fitness trainer, and aerialist at OC Pole fitness. Although I am young, I believe age isn’t important, everyone has something to offer and an experience to share. I enjoy being around people and helping others achieve their goals. I am bilingual, fluent in Spanish, as well as English. I absolutely love all the benefits pole fitness has to offer; better health, great as a hobby, and creates enduring friendships. I am a certified in sports medicine and as an emergency medical technician. I will shortly begin my journey majoring in journalism and broadcasting with my life long aspiration of becoming a news anchor. I love animals, care for others, and strive for a better world. Pole fitness is for everyone.

 

Showcase: 

 

Victor Gathing (US)

I have performed as an acrobat throughout the world for over 10 years.  My first acrobatic show was at Sea World San Diego.  This was where I was introduced an act called the Chinese Poles.  I have performed Chinese Poles and the Pole Cube Act in numerous corporate and industrial shows.  I also helped develop several acrobatic acts for an aquatic based, Las Vegas cirque show called Le Reve.  I helped create a rotating Chinese Pole act that used a fountain to spray water on the pole and the performers throughout the performance.  As a result, this rotating, wet pole was dangerous and slippery.  So, it was replaced by an aerial Chinese Pole act that was shaped like a street lamp post.  I would perform on this suspended “Flying Lamp Post” as it would rise 65 feet into the air.

Unfortunately, Victor had an injury and can’t perform at the show this year.

 

Matthew Martsolf/ Neft ali Munoz/ Luis Fernando Martsolf (US)

MattCrobaT –> Swift ALI -> B Boy  Fo Sho

The 3 Jasmine Dragons Performers run an Aerial and Acro Dance studio in Ohio. Their passion to share & work with today’s youth has given many kids the empowerment & confidence to perform in front of thousands of people without a glitch of who they are or what they can become in Life. “We believe a strong core comes out emotionally in many people of all ages. When kids can enter a dance circle or amaze themselves in an aerial art; all of a sudden, reading a report in school or coming across any obstacle in life becomes an uplifting, fun challenge.”  They work with all kids at every level, income, challenge or ability.

As a performance trio they have mixed there aerial acro dance into one for over a hundred thousand people in 2010.  Coming from the street; their style is fast, full of raw creativity with lots of amazing action. Their goals in 2011 are to show the world what they have to offer in the most simple and humble form by not only having fun but by defying gravity.  Inspiring all people that life is limitless at any age, they can do it while embracing life to the fullest.  They will continue to teach kids & adults their style both locally and across the globe.

 

Kazuya Naka (Japan)/ Masayo Okamoto (Japan)

Strengthened by Shoirinji martial arts since childhood, showing the joy of pole dancing through a variety of styles from those of the dark world through to pop – always unique.

2009 Studied under pole dancer Masayo, soon showing exceptional talent. Debut with the pole dance team P.L.D. after only three months. Subsequently formed a pole dance mixed pair with Masayo.

From July 2010 started instructing in pole dancing at Masayo’s Sweetpi-A Pole Dance studio.

Currently the top male pole dancer in Japan.

Competition Record

・2009 International Poledance Fitness Championship in Tokyo – Art section, 2nd place.

・2010 Asia Pcific Pole Dance Championship in Australia – Special prize (mixed pair with Masayo).

・2010 International Poledance Fitness Championship in Tokyo – Art section, 3rd place.

Interested in dance since early age Masayo tried many forms of dance.
She experienced synchronized swimming and drawn to the complexity of the way of expressing emotion which is different from that of floor dance.
At the year 2006 she discover pole dance, another form of dance that is not like floor dance. But this time is not performed in the water but in the air.
In December 2006 she started performing at many dance clubs and gained recognition as one of the pioneer dancers in Japan.
In May 2007 she established a pole dance team called PLD and began dancing professionally in Japan in many different genres of music.
Not just sexual appeal nor just a pole dance, she decided her own style to be an art form and acrobatic entertainment.
She established POLE DANCE FITNESS STUDIO Sweetpi-A in Nara in July, 2010.
http://letspoledance.web.fc2.com/
 
・2nd price of pole dance contest 2007(pair number) at Kansai
・Finalist of Miss Pole Dance Japan 2008
・Pole Fit 5th of International Pole Dance Fitness Championship 2009
・Pole Fit Runner Up of International Pole Dance Competition Pole Stars 2010 in Manila
・Sponsors choice of Asia Pacific Pole Dance Championship 2010(pair with Kazuya)

 

 

Brittany Rohr/ Derick Pierson (US)

Derick – see PRO division

Early on in college Brittany realized that many women lacked the self confidence to truly be themselves in today’s modern world. Fusing her lifelong love of dance with her lifelong passion for helping others she found the perfect way to give women around the world back their independence and self confidence. At InspiredByDance.com Brittany shares her passion of Pole Fitness with women in a place where they can be themselves; Live streamed Hi-Def lessons right to their homes.  As a student at the University of South Florida her time is limited. It takes dedication and strength to build on a dream of sharing her expertise to help as many women as possible meet their fitness goals. Unlike the gym Brittany’s dream includes smiles, laughs, and friendships. Brittany currently holds the title Miss Pole Florida and is one of the industry’s leading spokespersons for Pole Dancing to become an Olympic Sport. Driven by a strong belief that competition will only make her better Brittany opened Inspired By Dance Fitness Studios in Bradenton, FL and still personally instructs local women in pole fitness. When Brittany was growing up her mother was diagnosed with cancer so she spends her time and money fund raising for charity, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

Mina Montezaie/Nadia Sharif(US)

Mina Mortezaie and Nadia Sharif are the 2010 East Meets West Bi Polar Champions. They perform breath taking double pole routines for a variety of shows and venues including the playboy mansion, the improv, and the girl next door show. Specializing in theatrical displays of dance and gymnastics thisdynamic duo guarantees a good show. Mina and Nadia also perform as soloists and doubles for the aerial artist group Pole Revolution. See more of them at thepolerevolt.com.

 Because of  Mina’s injury we will not be seeing this performance. 

Timber Brown (US)

Timber Brown, most noted for his vocabulary and skill on pole, is a professional aerial and acrobatic artist. Timber has been a featured character and performer in numerous productions and special events around the globe. In addition to owning and operating “Anomalia Entertainment”, based in Las Vegas, Timber primarily performs as an independent contractor in association with several entertainment companies worldwide. “I love the companies I work with! On most contracts I feel like I am visiting my second family…there is an unconditional, subconscious amount of trust we all have with each other. Without this trust the show would never be a success.”

As well as performing Timber loves apparatus concept creation and acrobatic vocabulary research…”This is what I really love and enjoy…it’s difficult enough for me not to climb anything I see that peaks my curiosity. Especially if it has an interesting shape or I see that something amazing can be done with it… I am very fortunate that this is my livelihood.” This will be Timber’s debut at a major pole fitness event. “I am very excited to say the least! Every person has their own style, vocabulary and movement quality…in the end we are all exercising, sharing, and performing the same thing…Pole. I’m very happy and proud to be participating in an event that is integrating like minded people and giving us all the opportunity to share, perform, and have friendly competition with each other. Thank you!” 

PERFORMERS…WHO EVERYDAY, WHEREVER THE WIND MAY TAKE THEM, RISK THEIR LIVES TRYING TO ATTAIN THE SUBLIME-TO TOUCH THE SKY-TO DEFY THE LAWS OF GRAVITY AND TO DANCE IN THE FIRES OF VOLCANOES…SO THAT THEY CAN TELL THE WORLD THAT SOMETHING ELSE IS POSSIBLE

 

Suwasit (Thailand/US)

Born in Udon Thani – a remote town in northeastern Thailand – Suwasit now makes his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he has professionally pursued dance and the art of movement since 1998. An extensive training in: Hip-Hop, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, African Dance, Acrobatics and underwater performance landed him roles in the long-running shows such as; Splash! at the Riviera Hotel, “AZURE” an Underwater Show at Silverton Hotel, as well as a nine-year stint with the Culture Shock Las Vegas Dance Company.

Since Suwasit has conquered three elements of performance on LAND, WATER, and defy gravity on Aerial apparatus.  His ultimate GOAL and DREAM is to become  Cirque du Soleil feature Artist & a Pole Dance&Fitness Champion.

To learn more please visit: SUWASIT.com

 

Lesley “Leesi” Ruskaup

At 45 years young I am the proud owner of L’Ru Studios in Denver,

Colorado. I have worked as a professional entertainer in the exotic dance industry throughout the US for 17+ years. I have also been dabbling in trapeze and other circus arts since 1990. I began sharing my love for exotic dance and circus arts when I started teaching hula hoop and pole dance in 2004. I hope that all women will find that they have a sensual, erotic and creative side within them.

Holly Mischell Miely ~ Honey

Holly started ballet, dance and acrobatics classes at age 4 and began teaching at her dance studio at age 12. She went on to receive a minor degree in dance from the University of Arizona and has been teaching spinning and other group fitness classes since college. A self taught pole dancer since 2005, Holly was hooked from day one. Holly is now a certified master pole dance instructor with the Pole Fitness Association (PFA) and owner of Honey’s Pole Fitness Studio near Aspen, CO. She feels pole dancing is one of the most beautiful expressions of the female form through strength, flexibility and grace.

Holly created & founded Honey’s PoleCat Revue, a mixed dance performance group in 2008. She is the Founder, choreographer, artistic director & lead pole dancer of the group which incorporates pole dance, group dance, belly dance, fire & sword dance. Holly continues to teach and perform around Colorado and beyond.  http://www.honeyspolefitness.com/

 

 

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