[Estel Farell-Roig | South Wales Argus]

“I never thought I would be able to lift my own body – the strength you get out of pole dancing is incredible.”

POLE dancing builds your strength, boosts your confidence, makes you feel sexy and, more importantly, it is fun.

These are some of the reasons why students at Siren Pole Dance, in Upper Dock Street, Newport, love the performing art.

Katie Bentley, who runs the studio situated in the centre of Newport, has been “poleing” for eight years and has been teaching for almost five.

The 32-year-old has had her studio in Newport for two years.

She said: “There are so many things I love about pole dancing. To start off, there are the benefits it gives me mentally and physically.

“I never thought I would be able to lift my own body – the strength you get out of pole dancing is incredible.”

Mrs. Bentley, from Crumlin, said she had wanted to try pole dancing from a very young age and that she ended up teaching herself.

“It was hard but exciting,” she said. “It is also a release – a lot of the people that come to my lessons have very stressful jobs.

“Pole dancing is an extreme sport and the higher up you go, the more extreme it gets.”

Mrs. Bentley said she teaches an extensive range of movements.

“The last time I counted, there were around 530 movements. I teach them across six different levels of difficulty,” she said. “The first couple of levels are beginners and then, it gets more technical and more difficult.”

She said there are different genres of pole dances and that it can be sensual, but that it doesn’t have to be. For some, it is more theatrical and for some it is about the gymnastics.

“It can be whatever you want it to be,” she said.

Mrs Bentley is also involved in the Pole 2 Pole competition, which is an annual competition. She runs the Welsh competition in her studio, before the final is held in Blackpool.

There are currently three categories – amateur, professional and mature, but next year they will be adding new ones, including a men’s category.

Mrs. Bentley sent several students to this year’s competition.

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