Meet the 55-year-old man with a bushy beard who’s also a pole dancing addict – and says everyone should give it a try
- Allan Reinikka has been pole dancing for five years and says he is now addicted to the sport
- He says that his beard gives most people the first impression that he is a biker not a pole dancer
- The Rockhampton resident’s passion for his sport surprises many people, he says
At first glance most people assume Allan Reinikka belongs to a motorcycle club but in reality he has a passion for pole dancing.
The 55-year-old man from Rockhampton in Queensland says he is addicted to the sport which he was first introduced to five years ago.
‘I guess most people see the beard and expect to see me on the back of a bike,’ Mr Reinikka said.
Allan Reinikka, 55, pictured doing ‘the flag’ – a move requiring a lot of strength – is addicted to pole dancing and is now in his fifth year of the sport.
The photographer first got into the sport after attending a studio to take photos of his colleague for a pole shoot.
He says pole dancing can be very painful at times, with each new move causing a new piece of skin to come into contact with the pole
Apart from the ‘odd chuckle’, Mr Reinikka says people are usually impressed by what he does.
‘Some people have said they are inspired by me and seeing my moves makes them want to get on a pole, or improve their own,’ he said.
‘Most are impressed and can’t quite believe I can do some of the things I do,’ he said.
Mr Reinikka is a photographer by trade and got into the sport after taking photos for his colleague, also a photographer, at a local pole dancing studio.
‘Everytime I went to do some shots the girls would ask me when I was going to try it out.
‘One day I bit the bullet and I have been doing it ever since.’
The pole dancer says his strength has improved since joining the sport and he is forced to use all of his core muscles.
‘It takes a lit of strength, I find it a good challenge and more interesting than going to the gym.
‘At the gym you can cheat yourself with weights, at pole there is only one weight – your own body.
‘I must admit it does inspire me to lose weight sometimes,’ he chuckled.
The dancer uses his pole skills in day to day life, and enjoys taking photos in obscure locations like this shop front in a country town.
The photographer says most people assume his hobby would include a motorcycle because of his overall look and long beard
The dancer enjoys being able to match 20-year-olds with his poses and believes age and gender are no barrier for pole dancing
Mr Reinikka doesn’t usually participate in the routine side of the sport but focuses on getting his movement right.
‘I am not very flexible so it doesn’t make for a good show.
‘Although we do have a Christmas party at the end of each year and I have been known to throw a few on-the-spot routines together for that.’
The dancer, who has his own pole in his garage, used to practice up to six hours a week but has recently cut down to two.
‘My body is a bit wrecked at the moment, it is hard on my shoulders and they don’t recover like they used to.’
‘I am going to have a bit of a rest in the next few weeks just because it does take me a little longer to bounce back from injury.’
He admits he is not as flexible as many of the other dancers so he sticks to learning moves over learning routines.
He also admits you have to be very comfortable with your body to be a pole dancer as sometimes to do moves you need a lot of skin available to stick to the pole.
He prefers pole dancing over going to the gym because he believes it helps develop core muscles better and ‘there is no cheating’
He isn’t quitting though, as he has caught the ‘pole-bug’.
‘I think if you ask anyone who has ever got on a pole they would tell you it becomes addictive after a while.’
Mr Reinikka is one of three men at Beyond Gravity Pole Fitness and currently trains with a group of women in the Intermediate level.
‘I think everyone should give pole a go. Gender or age shouldn’t be a barrier,’ he said.
This isn’t the first time Mr Reinikka has been involved in a sport not considered mainstream.
He used to play, and referee roller derby before moving his interests to pole dancing.
The pole dancer used to play in the roller derby league in Rockhampton, Queensland, this pole shoot was styled as a nod to that.
Three men are currently enrolled in the same dance studio as Mr Reinikka, he says it is a great sport for men
‘I guess with both sports you have to be comfortable in your own skin,’ he said.
When he refereed roller derby he would wear short shorts with black and white tights and a black and white shirt.
‘You need bare skin to grip to the pole so at times I wear very little.’
The pole dancer says he is best at moves involving strength rather than flexibility.
‘Everybody has the things they are good at, some people learn the moves straight away, others take a bit longer.
‘We all work together in the class at a different pace.’
With each new move comes a whole lot of physical pain, according to Mr Reinikka.
Pictured here on a lamp post in front of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton taking his pole skills to the streets.
‘The Flag’ is one of the hardest moves to stick according to the dancer who says he can hold this move for about five seconds.
The pole dancer is proud of his skills and says when people see him doing his moves they tell him how impressed and surprised they are. The move pictured above is Iesha, Mr Reinikka’s favourite move, he is holding himself on the pole with just his elbow
‘Every move hurts a lot at first until that patch of skin hardens up.
‘Most pole moves are pretty unpleasant.’
Mr Reinikka’s favourite moves include Iesha and the flag.
‘In Iesha your whole body is being held by your elbow which is the only thing holding on to the pole.’
The flag takes a lot of physical strength, he can hold it for about five seconds which ‘feels like eternity on the pole’.
Mr Reinikka sometimes uses his pole skills when he is out and about and has been pictured using a shop front and a light pole by the river to practice on.
The dancer who was into racing motor cars as a younger man says his two brothers think his most recent hobby is ‘great’.
The dancer admits the sport is hard on the body but says he will continue to practice and get better