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World Pole Sports Championship preview with KT Coates

Posted: Jul 11 2013

The best pole dancers in the world will soon be descending on London for the World Pole Sport Championships. We talk to event organiser KT Coates to find out more...



1.The World Pole Sport championships will take place in the coming week. How is the event shaping up?
The event is shaping up nicely! Kate and I were saying it should have been easier than last year but for some reason we are working so much harder!

This year is all about change. We are changing the competition and defining pole sports. We have created a new, fairer judging system thanks to Florenza and our technical committee. We have added in two new categories, youth and masters. The best of all is we have three times as many athletes and audience members, which I am sure you will agree is unbelievable in just one year.

2.Tell us about the categories and competitors.
Senior women 18-39 years
Senior men 18-39 years
Mixed Doubles
Masters + 40
Masters + 50
Novice 10-14
Youth 15-17

We had over 120 athletes apply with 103 taking part in the qualifiers on Saturday. This is the largest number of elite pole athletes to take part in a pole event.

We have introduced the youth category to help inspire and develop a new generation of pole sports athlete. We want to demonstrate that pole is for everyone no matter what age. With this category comes a great deal of responsibility. We have created safeguarding policies and guidelines for the care of those under the age of 18. We have been working with the NSPCC and they have been very supportive of what we are trying to achieve. We were very surprised by how helpful they have been.

We have also introduced two masters categories to celebrate the dedication of those who wish to compete but find it challenging to compete with people who are a lot younger. We thought we would have 5 or 6 entries but we delighted to get 17 with the oldest being 62.

The men's and doubles category has three times as many with the women's having 40 entries. 

This is the only competition in the world that has the criteria that you must have placed top two or three in a competition in order to qualify. Next year we will only be taking winners of competitions that meet a higher standard as we have had too many entries. The competitions will be listed on the site in the next few months.

3.As well as all the amazing competitors you also have a panel of judges. Tell us about your judges and how the competitors will be marked.
We have created a new judges system which has led to three months of training for our judges. 42 applied and only 16 are down to the last training on 19th July. It's been really tough. Long gone are the days of the celebrity judge, our judges are now the best in the world bringing consistency and fairness to judging. All the competitions I have ever judged you just turn up, judge with what ever has been given and then discuss the results at the end. Why judge in the first place if you don't have faith in your criteria? Athletes invest everything into competing so it's only fair that we invest the same time, effort and money. Our judges training starts in October and anyone may apply for selection.


They are judged on technical ability, artistry and chorography. They are also given a pool of 10 flexibility moves and 10 strength moves which they must select 5 of each to add into their choreography. This helps us compare one athlete fairly against another. It’s our first step in removing the subjectiveness from judging. It’s only in our first stage, but as with any change within the pole industry it must be done gradually or no one will like it. Contrary to popular belief this makes the athlete more artistic and creative as they gain extra points for combining compulsory moves and making them spin.

4.Any other people involved that have helped make the event happen?
Firstly it has to be the whole if the IPSF committee. They have worked tirelessly for the last 5 month on the competition, rules, scoring and developing the federation to the best possible standard - they have been fantastic and without them we wouldn't be at this point today. 

I have to make a special mention to Florenza who is head of the technical committee and head judge. We met by chance and I thank my lucky stars. She is everything I am not which is fantastic for the IPSF.

Lastly my right hand woman, that not many people know and is never given enough credit and that's Kate Whitley. What this woman does not know is not worth knowing. She has created the foundation of the federation and for someone that does not pole she has an unwavering passion for it to equal my own. She is my voice of reason and the brain behind the IPSF! She has worked so hard on this and I feel sad sometimes that is people think it's me when it's not.

A quick thank you to our sponsors and our diehard supporters. Without their support and kindness we would have given up a long time ago. We really hope to make you proud!

5.How did you first get interested in pole dancing, what made you try it?
I have been in pole since my late teens and I am nearly 40 now. Back then it was completely different. I was part of a very famous dance troupe that had been running for 60 years. It was ironic as I am not a trained dancer or gymnast. I applied and got the job. They had 8 brass poles that had been there all those years and I got playing around and we ended up putting it into my solo performance. I was just good at it. My first move was a chopper. I had no fear... Sadly the show is no longer there but they are bringing a movie out about its owner. That’s where my passion started and it took me all around the world.

6.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
It has defined my body and me as a person and I love everything about it. I owe pole so much.

7.What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
Mmmmm......tricky question.....the ones I remember being the happiest about was the handspring. I got this move before the days of YouTube. I nearly cried.....fast-forward to now and some are categorising this move as intermediate.

8. What are your favourite strength training moves on the pole and why?
Pole leg lifts with ankle weights....there is no sweeter pain!

9.What pole dancers do you admire or inspire you?
Another tricky one......I recently judged Alex schuen who was absolutely breath taking! Not only that when I met him and his lovely wife he was so humble!

10. How do you think pole dancing has evolved over the past few years and where is it going?
This is a tough question for me as I often find it difficult to express myself in the written word. I have looked at pole over the years on how much it makes people laugh. Everyone laughed at me when I said I was going to open a pole fitness school, everyone laughed at me when I asked to host classes at their gyms, everyone laughed at me when I said I was going to write a qualification in pole, everyone laughed at me when I said I wanted pole in the Olympics. No one is laughing anymore! The laughing has all but died out. 

With the hard work and determination of every single person out there we have evolved pole into an activity with many different faces. That no one is laughing at now! We have pole fitness, pole sports, pole dance and stripper pole. All to be respected and all different. I think they are all going in a different direction and I cannot speak for anything other than pole sports as it's the genre that I work in. Pole sports is moving at such a rapid rate sometimes I worry that I won’t keep up! In two years time we will have reached our goal that everyone said was impossible. In a generation or two’s time we will have evolved so much people will have forgotten the difficulty so many of us older poles had.

11.Three words that mean pole dancing to you.
Pride Power Passion

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