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By on December 25, 2012
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by Lori Myers Photography by AMIE NICOL

On, September 6-9, 2012, pole fans from all over the world gathered at The Palms in Las Vegas for a weekend of workshops, seminars and shopping at vendor booths. The weekend was topped off by the Pole Classic Competition and Showcase.
Pole Expo was created by Fawnia Dietrich, owner of Pole Fitness Studio in Las Vegas. Fawnia was the first to open a pole dance school in 1994 and is one of the pioneers of bringing pole dance to a mainstream audience. It is fitting that she has now created this event for us to celebrate all that is pole dance.

The main room of the Expo had vendors and free seminars throughout the day. Each morning would begin with a free stretch class with Amy Guion. Afterward, it was nice to be able to peruse the different booths while listening to discussions on various topics, from pole competitions to healthy eating habits. The non-pole workshops were held upstairs in the hotel, and included the Fly Gym Aerial Fitness workshops. It is recommended to anyone who wants a good stretch, or might want an alternative for building strength on the pole. Other non- pole workshops included Liquid Motion with Jeni Janover and Stephanie Skyy, Burlesque with Suwasit, Flexibility Training with David C. Owen, and Ass Class with Marlo Fisken.

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The pole workshops were held across the street from the hotel at Pole Fitness Studio. The main studio has 17 poles and almost all of the workshops sold out early. The Expo offered workshops from stars such as Michula Nunez, Veena, Nadia Sharif, Josiah “Bad Azz” Grant, Estee Zakar, KT Coates, Alethea Austin and Marlo Fisken, among others.

Pole-A-Palooza was held Friday night at The Bank Nightclub in The Bellagio. The competition was slated to start at midnight, so a lot of Pole Expo attendees decided to forego the event in lieu of a full night’s sleep. Although each competitor was only identified by a number, there were many recognizable pole stars competing against the amateurs that night, including Doneshia “Egypt” Crowder, Marlo Fisken, Alethea Austin, Leigh Ann Reilly,
and Charlee Wagner. After several 45 to 60 second rounds, the $5,000 prize money was split. Alethea Austin was named the runner-up and Charlee Wagner was crowned the queen of Pole- A-Palooza. Charlee is one to keep your eye on. She is rising in the pole ranks very quickly and won Pole Performer of the Year in the North American Championship Elite Division this past August.

The Pole Classic Competition was held at Rain Nightclub inside The Palms on Saturday night, and brought together great amateur talent from around the world. The evening began with a sneak peak at The Pole Life Documentary by Suzy Q Williams. The competition followed with performances by Alexa Lennon, Rhiannan Nichole, Amanda Gresco, Celeste Ayers (third place, female division), Tiffany Rose Mockler (second place, female division), Lindsay Green (winner, female division), Ferios, Accro, Mattcrobat, Alexandr Magala (third place, male division), Brandon Grimm (second place, male division) and Jimi Blu (first place, male division).

The overall winner of the evening was 50-plus-year-old, Jimi Blu.    Jimi was born in France but came to the United States as a teenager.    He has taught “Body Balance Training” for over 20 years, and is an instructor at Pole Fitness Studio. United Pole Artists sponsored the $1,000 prize, which was well-deserved. Jimi’s “old-man” routine – complete with a walker – was entertaining, impressive and fooled no one! Jimi’s strength is undeniable and his tricks were second to none.
The showcase followed and starred Alethea Austin, Josiah “Bad Azz” Grant, Nadia Sharif, Mina Mortezaie, Zoraya Judd, Flying Laura, Estee Zakar, Alesia Vazmitsel and Evgeny Greshilov. Nadia and Mina impressed the crowd with their jaw-dropping doubles stunts. Evgeny closed the show with a reprise of his Robot routine, which he performed at Pole Art in Sweden. It is a performance worth looking up on YouTube.

If there is anywhere in the world that one can be reborn, it is Las Vegas. Pole Expo was a great event – well organized and jam- packed full of pole dancing fun. If you are looking for pole events to attend in 2013, this is one to add to your list!