[Lu Feiran |

LIFE is full of surprises. And so it was with 22-year-old Sun Jian, who quit school six years ago and left his hometown of Yibin in Sichuan Province to seek construction work in the bustling city of Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong Province.

He never dreamed he would one day become a national champion of pole dancing.

Sun today is a professional, with a slew of titles to his name, a position as coach of the national team and the founder of a pole dancing training school.

“Many people would think that construction work is a normal job, but pole dancing is not,” says Sun. “They might think, ‘Hey, there’s something wrong with this guy who likes pole dancing.’ But I believe that I and other pole dancers in China are making a history.”

Surprises often start with coincidences. And so it was with Sun. He toiled away on tedious construction sites, exhausted at the end of every day and seeking relaxation from watching videos on the Internet. One evening, he saw a pole dancing performance online.

Sun was fascinated as he watched a dancer in a professional competition.

“His moves were a combination of power and beauty, and I’d never seen anything more beautiful,” says Sun.

It occurred to him that he should try to replicate some of the moves he had seen on the video. Surprisingly, it was much easier than he thought.

“I never learned dancing or anything like that before,” says Sun. “Perhaps it was innate talent that suddenly came to life when I did pole dancing.”

He bought a proper pole from an online store and installed it in his dormitory. Online videos were still his only teacher.