By Dane Raymundo
TThe entire Teatrino Promenade in Greenhills sizzled as 21 sexy pole dancers maneuvered their way to take on the top spot in the first ever International Exotic Pole Dance Battle in the Philippines, “SULTRY: It’s okay to be sexy. Let’s Sexy Battle…” Sultry battle was held earlier this May, with pole dancers from various countries slaying it in 3 categories: amateur, semi-professional, and professional. Chrome Divas Pole Dance and Fitness Studio, the creative mind behind the event, promised not to disappoint, and true to their word, they never did!
The pole dancers in the amateur category chose their own motifs for their performances, with most of them embracing two major themes, the supernatural like zombies, vampires, ghosts, unicorn-transforming potions, and the other, embodying a strong, independent woman. The semi-professional category showed performances that focused on pain, courage, and hope, attesting to the adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Differing from the two other categories, performances on the professional level did not focus so much on themes and props, but the dancers were equipped with the best weapon for a sultry battle, their experience, technique, skill and sensuality, which altogether brought the house down.
Though categories may have been varied, there were two palpable characteristics in all the dancers. First was that they were evidently comfortable in their own skin and second, they all had the gift of conveying their emotion in their performances.
The competition was brought up a notch, as local and international highly-acclaimed pole dancers judged the prestigious event, Eva Bembo from Russia, An Dre from Australia, Melody Rose from Hong Kong, and both Christina Dy and Jamaica Jornacion from the Philippines.
Maniqueen exuded amazing strength and creativity in his performance.
Uniqbird K showing off her magnificent form. She won 1st runner-up in the semi-professional category.
Mykelle Black widow, from the Philippines, was the champion in the amateur category.
Linc Sparkle, from the Philippines, won 1st runner-up on the amateur category, sharing the title with Coyi Barbie.
Maniqueen, from the Philippines, was definitely a crowd favorite.
Coyi Barbie, from Hong Kong, with a cross-knee release. She was awarded 1st runner-up for the amateur category together with Linc Sparkle.
Suen, from South Korea, shows off a powerful closed allegra split. She was later declared the champion for the semi-professional category.
Mykelle Black widow ended her performance with a straddle split.
Aggy Pole Doll’s performance reminds us about the adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Russian pole dancer and 1st runner-up for the Professional category, Elena, made one remarkable performance.
Sultry Battle highlights an individual’s sensuality, grace, confidence, athleticism, artistry, and talent.
It was not surprising that the professional category had a lot of memorable performances. One of them was from a crowd favorite, Maniqueen from the Philippines. Deafening cheers can be heard as he chose a more unconventional entrance by emerging from the audience rather than just choosing to wait on stage, much to the satisfaction of the crowd. With his fiery headpiece and the first note of Britney Spear’s, “Toxic”, there was no doubt that the entire Teatrino Promenade was in for a ride. Expectations were set and his movements did not disappoint. Although he failed to bag the coveted title, he left everyone in disbelief with his sheer talent and what seemed to be extrahuman core strength. Performances by Elena from Russia, and Vylette from Singapore, also made a remarkable impact. Elena’s depiction of emotions, swift movements and smooth transitions created a beautiful performance. She had an excellent gift of drawing her audience into her performance, as if making them a part of her world. As Vylette danced to Ruelle’s song, “Madness”, you realize the amount of passion and hard work this dancer has put into this routine. The performance had the perfect combination of all the elements the judges were looking for: grace, sensuality, passion, talent and strength. The combination of straddles, locks, drops and spins contributed to the complexity of the routine that simply left everyone in awe.
In the end, even after each dancer exuded so much passion and dedication, only 7 awards could be given. A difficult task of choosing had to be done and only the ones who had the excellent combination of strength, confidence, rhythm, grace and passion, coupled with art, technique, and form, were awarded. For the amateur level, the champion was Mykelle Black Widow, with Linc Sparkle and Coyi Barbie tying for 1st Runner-up. For the Semi-Professional division, Suen was awarded as the champion, while Uniqbird-K placed 1st runner-up. For the professional division, Vylette was awarded as the champion, and Elena was the 1st runner-up. Overall champion was also given to Vylette.
Sultry Battle is one of the first steps in eradicating the stigma on pole dancing, not only in the country, but in the world. The competition showcases pole dancing as a sport and an art, highlighting impeccable timing brought about by skill, artistry and technique. With events like these, a paradigm shift slowly unfolds. Society is no longer here to judge and be quick to conclude that pole-dancing is synonymous to obscenity. It is no longer associated with strippers, but it is now being elevated into confidence, art, dance, and fitness. It’s insane to even think that 30 years ago, we won’t see as much openness, freedom, empowerment and outspoken expression from women (and men), moreover, see them dance with confidence about their sensuality on a pole. It brings so much pride that our society has positively evolved and we can not wait for what more is in store for pole dancing and the promise its future holds.