Deborah Roach, a one-armed pole dancer, has defied the odds and won first place in her division at the International Pole Championship in Hong Kong. The Australian started pole dancing and doing aerial acrobatics back in 2006 after she was inspired by a circus-themed act. Up until 2009, she had a full-time job in IT, but gave it up after she won her first general pole competition, where she beat out dancers with two arms and way more experience. She then became a personal trainer and was able to focus more on her pole dancing abilities. Although she has a prosthetic arm, Roach still likes to compete with only one arm.
According to the International Business Times, last week’s International Pole Championship focuses on “pole art,” which emphasizes the fitness and creativity components of pole routines. There’s four divisions, including men’s, women’s, disabled, and doubles. To receive the maximum amount of points, performances need to be well executed with dance moves synchronized to the music. Judges also put an emphasis on a dancer’s energy, stage presence and enthusiasm.