Business World

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Polarity: The Polecats Manila 2nd Anniversary Show
‘A Ballet of Poles’
BY SAM L. MARCELO, Senior Reporter

Oct. 16, 7 p.m.
PhilamLife Theater, UN Ave., Ermita, Manila

FROM SMOKY bars of questionable repute, pole dancing has jumped, slid, and side-spun its way into “legitimate” theater. On Oct. 16, Polecats Manila is celebrating its second anniversary in Polarity, an hour-long dance concert featuring original choreography and orchestral arrangements of contemporary hits from local bands such as Urbandub, UpDharmaDown, Sugarfree, Pedicab and Pupil. Joining 10 dancers on stage as they twirl on their poles are Manila Symphony Orchestra and Parkour Philippines.

“The energy will be crazy for sure. We’ll be feeding off each other,” said Christina Dy, creative director of Polecats Manila, in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld. Ms. Dy (who is, in another incarnation, a Thirteen Artists awardee known for large-scale graphite drawings) remembered that when she co-founded the group two years ago, there were only a handful of students in a single class.

Interest in pole dancing has since exploded, aided by mainstream publicity from Ciara Sotto-Oconer and Sfazhiva. The former worked the pole as Mimi in a restaging of Rent while the latter became a Hall of Famer on Talentadong Pinoy, a TV5 talent show, after wowing judges with a pole routine.

“[Pole dancing] has been such a hit because it’s, one, new; two, fun; and three, an effective workout,” pointed out Ms. Dy, a former couch potato who lost 20 pounds and now has the “beginnings” of abs. Her chosen avocation strengthens the upper body and core muscles as it requires performers to lift themselves up along the length of the pole. These physical benefits are complemented by emotional ones as well: “You learn to accept yourself, yet push yourself at the same time,” she said. “You face your fears and conquer them.”

The curious don’t need to have any sort of background in dance or sports before taking a class. “We’ll teach you everything that you need to know. The important thing is the willingness to learn,” said the Polecats creative director. “It also requires a lot of discipline — you don’t master this in one day. It takes years of constant training.”
Polarity will give audiences a preview of the grace and athleticism their bodies could be capable of if they take up pole dancing in earnest. Polecats Manila is known for doing doubles — two people on one pole hanging off and stepping on each other, in deadly spike-heeled boots no less. “It’s a lot of strength, balancing and trusting your partner,” said Ms. Dy.

In a short teaser for the event, Ms. Dy compares Polarity to “a ballet of poles.” As two women execute complicated tricks (suffice to say that one of them is upside down), she continues that pole dancing is not just about arousal and sexiness: “We try to use the right amounts of sexy, gymnastics and dance. And we try to make people see that it can actually be as theatrical as ballet.”

In all, the dance concert will feature nine numbers — solos, doubles, pas de trois — that are all very different from each other. “We’re trying to infuse a bit of narrative in the dances,” she explained, adding that Polarity is composed of a series of vignettes. “It’s the first time something like this will happen in the Philippines, and I think everyone should come and witness that. It’s going to be pole dancing like you’ve never seen it before.”
(Tickets range from P800 to P1,500. For reservations, send a message to 0917-7017653. For more information, visit

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