Pole Theatre has made its mark in 19 countries worldwide and Egypt is up next.
Just a few short years ago, the very idea of an Egyptian woman grappling with a pole in the name of fitness and fun would have been preposterous. The pole arts are still viewed with a certain sense of scepticism around the world, let alone in a culturally-conflicted Egypt, the stigma still staining what has become a global phenomenon of fitness and self-expression that continues to grow.
One might scoff, maybe even indulge in a roll of the eyes, at what many considered to be just another fitness fad, but the growing number of pole fitness centres, classes and workshops have and continue to prove the naysayers wrongs – and so has the imminent arrival of one of the most prestigious global competitions in the pole world.
Pole Theatre is set to make its debut in Egypt on Saturday 14 July, having made its mark in countries as far and wide as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, South African, Switzerland the UK and the US since 2013.
Very much focused on the art of performance, Pole Theatre has been a unique and internationally recognised platform for pole-pros all across the world, making pole enthusiasts into bona-fide stars, which begs one question: what on earth is it doing in Egypt?
Well, it’s all the doing of Egypt’s original professor of pole, Manar ‘Mint’ El Mokadem – founder of Pole Fit Egypt. Having been a trailblazer in the early days of the pole craze, it was some two years ago when Mint found herself in conversation with Pole Theatre’s Ozzie sibling founders, Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle (yes that's Shimmy and Sparkle), when she hosted them at her studio, that it all began to take shape.
“They asked me why it is that I don’t post any of my videos or perform,” Mint recalls. “I told them that it’s just not accepted here – there are professional, cultural and societal consequences.”
Mint grabbing her foot from behind the back of her head because she can.
Impressed by her talent, as well as pole fitness’ growing local popularity, Shimmy and Sparkle decided that Egypt was ready for the spectacle of Pole Theatre – but with certain terms to address Mint’s, and every other potential Egyptian entrant’s, concerns.
While Pole Theatre has received unbridled coverage in its various renditions around the world, Pole Theatre Egypt will limit its coverage to ensure that those who are set to perform will do so comfortably and without fear – and only women can attend, too.
“We made it that way so that all pole enthusiasts have the opportunity to get on stage and share their talent, regardless of who they are, what they do or what their beliefs are,” Mint says enthusiastically.
Mint, Shimmy and Sparkle are SO good, that they don't even need poles to perform.
While the arrival of Pole Theatre signals a big step forward for Mint and her pole-pining peers, there’s no doubt that it’s still shrouded in a veil of stigma. But as the planning of Pole Theatre Egypt unfolded, Mint found huge support from the international pole community; the event has amassed a laundry list of sponsors and supporters from the pole world, while the competition itself will host pole royalty in the form of Portugal’s Joana Silva, Germany’s Rania El-Azzami and Greece’s Olga Spezia – all former champions who are set to perform and form part of the judging panel.
A host of other countries are set to be represented, too, with Mint revealing that competitors will be flying in from the likes of Philippines, Oman, Venezuela and Singapore and more. And while she’s weary of a still accepting Egypt, she sees this as just the first of several Pole Theatre Egypt competitions to come.
Pole Theatre Egypt is set to take place on Saturday 14 July at 6PM at the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski. For more information and to register to attend, head over to the Pole Theatre Egypt website.