Courtesy of American Pole Fitness Association
The 2nd Annual American Pole Fitness Championships was a smashing success! The event took place at the opulent Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom Theater, October 14, 2011 with hosts comedian Mona Cooper (her second time hosting the event) and TV personality Jenna Morasca adding their star power to the occasion.
The winners; Suwasit (3rd), David C. Owen (2nd), Derick (1st), Flying Laura (1st), Heidi Coker (3rd), Phoenix Kazree (2nd). Photo by Krisha Jung
Derick Pierson from Florida, took home the gold for the men’s division as the American Pole Fitness Champion and Laura “Flying Laura” Martin from California for the women’s division. Derick Pierson, just before the winners were announced declared to the championships' TV reporter, supermodel Sheryl Roberts and fellow athlete, Ravan, backstage on camera, “This is by far the toughest competition I have ever been in.”
Derick Pierson during his title winning performance. Photo by Ben Hall
Just before the very talented professionals of the Masters Division took center stage, the future champions of Pole Sport, Jasmine Dragons’ Youth Acrobatic team, ages 6-13 years old performed in what would be a historical and groundbreaking performance in the history of the sport. Not only were group of kids allowed to showcase a pole and aerial performance, kids of all ages were also allowed in the theater as guests –free! A first in Pole Sport, an event usually reserved for adults! American Pole Fitness Association, hosting the championships, has always been a barrier breaker, pushing the envelope promoting the art and sport of pole as being for all ages since its inception in 2010.
Guest performance by Aerial & Pole Youth Acrobatics. Photo by Ben Hall
APFA committee member Lauren Goldstein acted as the hands on stage manager who left no stones unturned. Her deputy, Tracee Kafer assisted in the efficient flow of the evening. They made sure all of the competing athletes, DJ Angela Pandelis music cue was well timed for the performance, backstage crew and staff were well taken care of and that all materials needed by all involved were in its place. The dynamic due worked tirelessly to ensure the event’s 2nd anniversary was a success!
New champion Derick Pierson with Masters Division Finalist, Faith Daniels. Photo by Krisha Jung
The 2nd annual American Pole Fitness Championships group of competitors proved to be tougher than the previous year. Competing for the coveted titles were Faith Daniels Sabrina Woods Heidi Coker (placed 3rd and took home the APFA Pole Artist of the Year™) Phoenix Kazree (placed 2nd and the APFA Pole Athlete of the Year™) Bunni Luv Winter Rainone Flying Laura who took home the gold and title American Pole Fitness Champion. In the male category were; Ravan, David C. Owen (placed 2nd) Mattcrobat Jungle Cat Suwasit (who also won the APFA Video of the Year™ awarded to the best video submitted during the application process, voted by fans) Philip Deal Derick Pierson who took home the top honor in men’s category as the American Pole Fitness Champion. The champions were also gifted copies of the newly launched IPFF's Pole Postures™ book, usually reserved for studio members who will start receiving them in their welcome package by mid to late November 2011.
The championships would be a first major championship for Philip Deal, Ravan, Suwasit, Phoenix Kazree, Sabrina Woods, Heidi Coker, Winter Rainone and Bunni Luv.
The international panel of judges who helped in selectingthe winners were; The California based online stretch class innovators and flexibility authority duo The Valentino Brothers Emil & Mario, the alluring and international award winning pole dancer performer, IPFF board member and TV personality Allegra from Australia, Cirque Du Soleil handstand balance artist Dima Shine (opening Shine Alternative Fitness gym in Las Vegas shortly) from Russia, Lucy Misch of Pole Exercise and Pole Dance Dictionary from UK, and international pole athlete Loic Lebret from France.
The Masters Division International Judges; Emil, Allegra, Dima, Lucy and Mario. Photo by Krisha Jung
Major sponsors included Pole Spin magazine, Mighty Grip for its world-class premier sports grip aid and wear. Joel Bretan. CEO of Mighty Grip and Becca Armijo for ThePoleDancingShop.com were both honored for being a loyal supporter of the American Pole Fitness Association from the very beginning. Other main sponsors were ThePoleDancingShop.com, a pole dance ecommerce website where everything from poles to shoes can be purchased; International pole and number one studio Vertical Dance Fitness in Venezuela. All five owners of the studio, including director and International Pole Fitness Federation (IPFF) board member Efrain Viva flew in from Venezuela for the extravagant event. The studio sponsored the official clothing of the championship which featured hand embroidered logo of the association as well as sporting wear used by David C. Owen, Laura Goldstein and Alicia Heaney in the modeling of the recently released Pole Postures™ pole movement book for IPFF’s professional studio members. The book was also gifted to the newly crowned champions. The Supporting sponsors included Pole Move Box from Holland, US based Pole Fitness Northwest studio by Tina Morelli, and the mega online software company MindBody, Inc which facilitates online bookings and scheduling for gyms, pole and yoga studios worldwide. The official event photographers were Canadian Toni Wallachy, US based Krisha Jung and Ben Hall who came with the Jasmine Dragons crew for their performance. All three helped captured the essence of the championships.
2nd Place champion (men) David C. Owen during teaching at the APFA Workshop Series. Photo by Krisha Jung
Derick Pierson during his APFA Workshop Series at Body & Pole Studios with deputy stage manager Tracee Kafer
The athletes and guests were able to unwind and let their hair down at the official after party hosted by Stitch Bar & Lounge only 3 blocks away from the theater. There, an array of guests including the championships Elite Judge Jenyne Butterfly, AnnMarie Davis, Erika Arconti, to name a few, were more than happy to show off their own pole dancing skills on a readily available free standing pre-erected for the affair. The night would not be complete without the astounding, jaw dropping ballet and theatrical fused pole performance by Marina Cavallini, the official guest performer of the party. She flew in from Sweden for the event. The after party also doubled as the official one year anniversary bash of Pole Spin magazine with committee board member, Lauren Goldstein doing the honor cutting the large cake of vanilla and chocolate layers. The cake featured the celebratory cover dedicated to cancer awareness captured by George Grigorian for the special edition. In lieu of gifting the special edition to all guests in attendance as it did in 2010, they were encouraged to buy copies at theater to help further the mission of the Pole For A cause charity initiated drive launched by Pole Spin magazine, where a portion of the proceeds could benefit American Cancer Society’s Making Strides breast cancer awareness program and Toto Love Children’s Foundation in Kenya taking care of HIV infected kids. For more details on direct donation to these organizations, please visit www.PoleForACause.com.
The total scores of the championships based on the athletes range of difficulty, originality, showmanship, flexibility, execution, and fluidity out of 100 points maximum, are as follows:
Men's Division: Derick Pierson: 84.6 David C. Owen: 82.7 Suwasit: 81.5 Philip Deal: 80 Ravan: 70.8 Mattcrobat: 67.2 Jungle Cat: 63.5
Women's Division Flying Laura: 95.4 Phoenix Kazree: 91 Heidi Coker: 85 Bunni Luv: 82.2 Winter Rainone: 81.5 Sabrina Woods: 73.8 Faith Daniels: 71.1
The championships' video highlight: