Pole dance is steadily gaining popularity as a fitness and entertainment activity. It no longer just attracts females who wish to learn how to dance sensually using a fixed vertical pole. Athletes and professional dancers are also recognizing this field as another avenue where they can showcase their skills and physicality.

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Because of this shift in trend, a wide array of professional and amateur pole dancing competitions has been organized by different groups and federations all over the world. While most competitive pole dancing events take place locally, several international events attract the best pole dancers from around the globe.

If you have been practicing pole dancing for a while now and wish to take your artistry to the next level, there are numerous pole dance competitions that you can join every year.

What Is A Pole Dance Competition?

Pole dance competitions come in many forms. You can categorize them based on the size of the event. Some competitions are known as studio showcases because the only participants are the students from a particular studio. Others are bigger events that involve multiple gyms and pole dancing centers from the same locale.

Of course, there are city-wide and national competitions that you can join as well. You may have to go through these before deciding to compete on an international stage. The biggest events are typically sponsored by international federations such as the International Pole Sports Federation and the Pole Sport Organization.

Pole Dance Competitions

In general, pole dance competitions are judged events. Each organizer has its scoring systems and rules in place. Some require entry fees while others do not. Most competitions award winners with medals or prizes.

Showcases are typically more relaxed. If you are just starting your journey towards competitive pole dancing, this type of event may be the perfect starting point for you. With showcases, you will likely present a routine that you learned in class.

Competitions tend to have a more rigid set of rules to observe. For example, there is usually an assigned type of genre, music, costume, and more. Competitions may also involve various categories like sport, floorwork, or artistic. A lot of the local competitions serve as qualifiers for bigger events.

As mentioned, you may want to join a few showcases before attempting to join any major competition. This will enable you to build your confidence and tweak your routine for a bigger stage. It will depend on your skill level and motivation. For most elite pole dancers, the goal is to join world championships.

You can learn more about training for pole dance competitions here.

Pole Dance World Championships

The International Pole Industry Association lists 50 top pole-related competitions worldwide. These events involve pole sport, pole dance, pole fitness, and stripper competitions that are hosted by various organizations. The list contains competitions with their own set of rules and systems that you need to check before signing up.

Of all the competitions, three are considered to be the most renowned in the world of pole dancing: the US Pole Dance Federation Championships, the International Pole Championships, and the World Pole & Aerial Championship.


US Pole Dance Federation Championships

Founded in 2008, the US Pole Sports Federation was organized by Wendy Traskos and Anna Grundstrom. The USPSF is the first organization in the country to organize a professional pole dance competition that is based on a system of fair judging. Before that, every organizer had their own set of competition criteria for their events.

Pole Dance Competitions

The judges for this competition have extensive experience in pole dancing, fitness, gymnastics, professional dance, aerial work, choreography, and more. They follow a 10.0 scale and judge the performances based on the dancer’s coordination, fluidity, flexibility, strength, individual style, and creativity.

The competition is made up of two rounds. For the first round, the participants will need to present a compulsory routine. The next round is the presentation of the optional routine. The judges rate both routines and the participant who garners the highest number of combined points for the two routines wins.


International Pole Championship

The International Pole Championship is a yearly event that is organized by the International Pole Dance Fitness Association. This is a group founded by world-renowned pole dance performer Anna Przeplasko. This competition is open to both women and men. There is also a category for disabled pole athletes.

There are two main categories in this competition. The first one is the Pole fit where the judges score routines based on their fitness aspect. Each performer is judged based on the technical difficulty of the routine they performed and the execution of the various tricks.

The next category is Pole Art. The focus is on the artistic aspect of the performances. Choreography and originality make up for a large part of what the judges look at.

Additionally, performers get a high score if they can execute their routines well and if the tricks and movements are in sync with the chosen music.

For both categories, high scores are awarded to the performers who show clear and precise movements. The transitions must also be smooth. Judges also give more points to participants who exude confidence and stage presence as well as energy and enthusiasm.


World Pole & Aerial Championship

The International Pole Sports Federation, the group that is pushing for pole fitness to be recognized as a sport for the Olympics, also hosts an annual competition called the World Pole Championships. It was first held in 2012 and has grown into a network of more than 25 competitions.

Over five thousand athletes from more than forty different countries compete in this yearly event to win the title of national champion. Each participating country holds its own National Championship. The winners from the national competition get to represent their country in the prestigious IPSF World Pole Championships.

According to the International Pole Sports Federation website, athletes can compete in 18 different categories and disciplines in the World Pole & Aerial Championship. The categories include Senior Men, Junior Girls, Novice Double Mixed, and Youth Double Mixed. There are also disciplines like the Ultra-Pole and the artistic pole.

Other prestigious pole dance competitions:

·   Pole Championship Series

·   Pole Theatre

·   Exotic Generation

·   American Pole League


Who Is the Best Pole Dancer In The World?

There are several elite personalities when it comes to pole dancing. Among them are World Pole Dance champions;

  • Volaine Richard
  • Haruna Matsunami, and,
  • Ke Hong

However, the title of the World’s Best Pole Dancer has been unofficially bestowed on Anastasia Sokolova.


Violaine Richard


Violaine Richard is a pole dancer who won the title of Miss Pole Dance Japan back in 2017.

She then went on to win the 2018 World Pole Sport & Fitness Championship in China. She currently owns a pole dance studio in Japan.


Haruna Matsunami


Richard’s successor is Haruna Matsunami.

She not only won the 2019 World Pole championship, but she also got the top spots in the 2014 Miss Pole Dance Japan and the 2017 Asia Pole Championship.

She has multiple international championships under her name.


Ke Hong


Among the male participants, one of the most popular pole dancers is Ke Hong. He has several championships under his belt including the 2015 and 2016 China Pole Dance Championship. 

He is also the reigning Male World Pole Dance champion. He won this title three years in a row.

Ke Hong is currently the captain of the Chinese National Pole Dance team and is now a judge in the China Pole Dance Championships.


Anastasia Sokolova


Finally, there is Anastasia Sokolova.

While she hasn’t won any official pole dance competition, she may be one of the most popular pole dancers in the world.

She gained fame in 2013 when she became a contestant and an eventual runner-up in a show called Ukraine’s Got Talent.