A young woman from Lisburn proved she’s got all the right moves as she danced her way to success at the All-Ireland Pole Dance Competition 2017.
Tanya Cheung won the Professional Female category and the overall title at the event, which took place at the Mandela Hall in Belfast on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old wowed the competition judges with her incredible three-minute routine - a beautifully choreographed mix of gymnastic ability, strength, stamina and dance moves.
“It is a really big competition and it attracts entries from loads of different studios from all around Ireland in the different categories,” Tanya explained.
“I feel really good to have won it. It’s been a massive confidence boost because I’m normally quite shy. I don’t usually enjoy competing because I know how stressful it is, but afterwards I was really glad I did it. The people in my category were amazing, so I’m really please to have won it.”
Tanya, who along with her sister set up Flyaway Aerial Studio in Crescent Business Park two years ago, was also delighted with the success of two of her students, Emily Strudley and Rebecca McWhinney, who took third place in the doubles category at their first ever competition.
While Tanya makes it looks easy, she acknowledges that a lot of physical attributes - and many hours of practice - are needed to be a good pole dancer.
“You need a lot of strength to be able to be able to lift your bodyweight. It’s gymnastics on a pole pretty much. You need dance, flexibility, stamina. It’s a lot of things,” she said.
Following her All-Ireland success, the former Fort Hill Integrated College pupil says she would love to make it to the World Championships, but knows the standard at such an event would be “extremely high”.
Tanya, who used to work as a piano teacher before setting up her studio, says she’d recommend pole dancing for anyone keen to improve their fitness.
“Pole dancing is pretty much for anyone. A lot of people say they would love to do it but they just don’t have the confidence or strength or whatever. But it is about getting out there and doing it. Everyone has to start somewhere and then work their way up,” she continued.
“We have constantly got new classes going on. It’s not just pole we do at the studio, we also have aerial silks and aerial hoops. We have classes for people of all levels.”
For more information about the classes Tanya offers check out the Flyaway Aerial Studio Facebook page.