WHEN Katy Eve started pole dancing seven years ago she says it was a bit more taboo than it is now.
“It was more of this secretive thing that you don’t tell your family or your work,” says Katy, 34, of Braddon.
But, mainstream or not, Katy is proud of her sensually-styled version of pole dancing, which stems from bars and burlesque, and is a big believer in empowering women through “sexy”.
A recent winner of the international competition Pole Theatre UK and a teacher and owner of The Brass Room in Fyshwick, Katy says it’s about being sexy for herself and not for men.
“There’s this big push with fitness-style pole dancing that downplays its origin,” she says.
“I think it’s particularly important for women to embrace their sensual side.
“But not in a way that they’re doing it for others, it’s for themselves.”
She first discovered pole dancing when a friend who had just had a baby and wanted to get fit took Katy along to a lesson with her.
“She asked me to come along and the rest is history,” Katy says.
While born and raised in Canberra, Katy spent three years in Perth and during that time trained at one of the “most prestigious pole-dancing studios in Australia”, Bobbis Pole Studio.
It was also in Perth where she was “blown away” and inspired by the dancers who competed in Miss Pole Dance Australia.
So she entered a competition and the second time she competed was placed third and was able to go to the finals.
“It all started from watching that competition in Perth,” she says.
Now, Katy has won Miss Pole Dance ACT twice and after winning a division in Pole Theatre Australia, was eligible to compete in other cities such as Prague and Majorca.
But, she says her recent win in the Troxy Theatre in London, which she describes as a shocking surprise, has been one of her most important achievements.
“It was pretty amazing, I didn’t go in with expectations to win, I was up against some of the best pole dancers in the world,” she says.
“I just went in with the mindset to perform well.”
It was even more special for Katy with her sister there and her mum, who was watching her perform live for the first time.
Now, back in Canberra, but still feeling proud of her win, Katy continues to teach locals the femininity of pole dancing until the next competition.
“When I moved back to Canberra, all the studios were very fitness-based but for me, I like the sensual style and to move and be sexy, not for men, but for myself,” she says.
That’s what really drew her into pole, so she started her own studio focusing on the sensual side of pole dancing.
At first, Katy didn’t really understand what her studio would bring to people but now, she sees people often with barely any self-esteem find confidence through pole dancing.
“It’s really nice to give that to people,” she says.
“I didn’t understand how much power pole dancing would have.
“There’s obvious benefits from pole dancing, like it improves fitness, increases strength, especially core and upper body strength.”
But for Katy, pole dancing is much more than that.
While The Brass Room is largely a female-based studio, which embraces everyone, Katy says she likes that it’s a place where strong women can come together.
“In my classes, I want students to lose themselves for that hour and have fun as well as get a workout and leave feeling good about themselves,” she says.
“As for my performances, I want to be able to inspire others the way I was inspired seven years ago.
“In general my style is sexy and sensual with flowy movements.
“It’s important for me to share pole dancing with more people because it has changed my life and I’ve seen it change other people’s lives.”
See Katy’s winning UK performance at vimeo.com/274233890
Photos by ANA STUART