2014 China International Pole Dance Championships: Perspective from a Hong Kong photographer
On the left, The 2014 International Women’s Champion
Zhanna Maylysh, Жанна Маглыш, From Belarus.
On the right, Silver medalist, Samantha Yee Mei-Er, from Malaysia
The 3rd China International Pole Dance Championship, and the 8th China Pole Dance Championship, was held in Xianghe, Beijing, on August 10, 2014.
The latter, showcasing some of China’s best young talent, and featuring over 80 contestants, is the venue for China’s novices, and amateurs to experience Pole Dance competition at the highest level.
The 3rd China International Pole Dance Championships had over 20 competitors, competing for Women’s, Men’s and Duals division titles, representing Hong Kong, Australia, Belarus, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China!
The 2014 International Women’s Champion.
Bronze, Amy Hazel, from Hong Kong and Australia.
I was able to catch up with Amy Hazel and ask her about her experience competing in this championship.
“This year I had the pleasure of participating, and placing 3rd in the China International Pole Championships’ held in Beijing!
Not only did I get to meet many amazing, international pole dancers, and share the stage with them, but I also got to have a real Chinese cultural experience!”
Amy began pole dancing four years ago in Melbourne, Australia, and fell in love with the sport straight away!
“I began competing in 2013, winning my first title in November 2013 PPS Aerial performance tournament Hong Kong.
Since then, I placed 2nd at Victorian pole championships and have been wild carded through to 2 major competition finals – Australia Pole Championships, and Miss Pole Dance Australia!
I plan to travel, tour, teach, compete and perform as much as possible, in the near future!”
The 2014 International Men’s Champion
Gold, Kyungmin Jeong, from Korea
Traveling to Beijing, for the 2014 China International Pole Dance Championships, was a a great and memorable experience. I will definitely go back for the 2015 competitions.
At the competition, it was nice, being able to meet with old friends, from previous events. I asked Kyngmin Jeong, the 2014 Men’s Champion winner, about his Beijing experience.
“I love dance, so am not involved with any other sports! I competed and have won competitions in Korea, Hong Kong and Vladivostok.
Of course I like Beijing! I love Beijing! I will definitely come back to Beijing, to compete!”
I asked Kyungmin if the secret to his, and Korea’s success, is there commitment to ‘stay in character’ at all times. His response, “I am sorry, I don’t understand the question.”
The four Korean competitors stayed in character not only backstage, while performing and when accepting awards, but even while taking pictures at the Beijing airport on their way home.
Weeks before we left Hong Kong, Narlton Tsang, Men’s Championship Finalist said, “Watch for Korea and the China competitors!” The competitors from Korea were fantastic; very strong and fast, performing many complicated holds, moves and tricks in their routines.
In Beijing I noticed that Pole dance competitions are unlike many other sports competitions. The level of camaraderie, cooperation, and lack of deviousness between competitors is refreshing. The previous night, Amy Hazel was not able to attend the pre competition practice.
I saw information passed amongst the competitors, informing each other about venue conditions, stage size, pole heights, type of materials used, change room facilities etc. And it didn’t stop there! On our bus ride heading to the competition venue, I noticed that Zhanna & Amy were discussing and refining their individual routines together. Even choosing and advising each other on their music selection!
Although the competitors were friendly with eachother, there was a big language barrier. Unless you spoke English or Chinese Mandarin, you were forced to communicate only with your teammates. The big ice breaker, and universal tool for friendship…selfies!
The best part of attending the Beijing Competitions was making new friends, meeting new competitors, breaking down communication barriers, and seeing new styles of pole dance. I was surprised at the level of competition in Beijing. China has an abundance of raw talent. The lack of Facebook and Youtube access (banned in China) doesn’t seem to be holding them back. These up and coming Asian countries are slowly becoming formidable competitors in the pole dance world.
Many thanks to Ms. LuoLan, from LoLan Beijing Pole Studios, organizer and superb Hostess of the 2014 International Competition. Ms. LuoLan hopes that more international competitors, will come to Beijing and compete in next year’s event.
Click here for more photos of The 8th China Pole Dance Championship.
Click here for more photos of The 3rd China International Pole Dance Championship.
Written by: Byng Hum, a professional sports photographer specializing in Pole and Surf. Byng currently resides in Hong Kong.