[Thomas Manch | Nelson Mail]

“More than ‘just dancing around a pole’.”

Pole queens from around the country will battle for bragging rights at the inaugural Miss Pole Queen New Zealand.

Ten of the country’s elite pole dancers will compete for title and tiara at the event, which is being held in Nelson on Saturday.

The all-ages show was exciting for New Zealand’s growing pole community and, to be clear, it’s a “no nudity event”.

Miss Pole Queen New Zealand founder Trina Duffield said she wanted to create an elite competition for “the best of the best”.

Duffield owns the Dynamite Pole Dance and Fitness Academy in central Nelson and has seen the stigma around the performing art reduce considerably in the last three years.

“A lot of people might only know it from say, strip clubs, or that sort of thing,” she said.

It was a common misconception that the minimal clothing worn by performers was connected to the adult industry.

“When we’re on the pole, we need all these points of contact to grip to the pole … I need all this skin,” Duffield said.

More than “just dancing around a pole”, performances required intense strength and fitness. Tricks, such as the “iron-x”, where the body is lifted horizontal from the pole, are impressive feats.

Miss Pole Queen New Zealand will be a tough title to win, with judges ranking each dancer on their costume, dance, tricks, and most importantly, “x-factor”.

The dancers will first be introduced to the audience in evening gowns and will then have the floor, and the pole, for five minutes.

Miss Pole Queen will be crowned with a “full-on” tiara, of course. The winner will also receive a trophy and their own pole, Duffield said.

Other performances on the night include renowned Australian pole performer “Fontaine”, who will also teach four workshops over the weekend.

While the pole community was “really strong” and still growing, Duffield said there was a lack of competitions for performers in New Zealand.

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