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Watch: Pole Dancing in Tinley ... Hot or Not?

It's all about the twirl, girls. Judge the first-ever Midwest pole-dancing competition for yourself. Watch these video clips from the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Poler passion was on display Saturday and Sunday at the first-ever Great Midwest Pole Dance Competition and Convention. Hosted by Mary Ellyn Weissman, owner of Midwest Pole Dancing: Empowerment Through Exotic Dance in Chicago Heights, rookies and elite dancers alike took to the stage to show off their athleticism and style for the judges.

Judges included French pole-dancing celebrity Prana Ovide-Etienne, dancing champ Amber Richard and Collette Kakuk of California. About 300 dancers and spectators descended on the for competition, pole-dancing workshops, vendor displays and seminars.

Pole dancing has become a fitness craze, and Weissman offers lessons in the south suburbs in Chicago Heights and Frankfort.

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Charlie August 30, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Thanks for the comment, Russ- I can tell you're a news connoisseur by your 5 comments on this pole dancing article.
Dennis Robaugh (Editor) August 30, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Sorry Charlie, you must have missed this story on the convention founder and convention-goers: Want to Know More? Read "The Southland Hosts Midwest’s First Pole Dance Convention": http://tinleypark.patch.com/articles/the-southland-hosts-the-midwests-first-pole-dance-convention
Mary Ellyn Weissman August 30, 2011 at 05:26 AM
As the organizer of this event it was interesting to read the various responses. I must point out that women in strip clubs do very little pole work - they seldom do anything like what you see at a competition or pole fitness event. However they do plenty of dancing standing on their legs and walking around the floor so in actuality the style they use is also associated with the same dancing everyone does in clubs, bars and at weddings. It's also not a stripper pole if you aren't taking off your clothing. I am a bit disappointed that some of the videos were edited to show the errors and give the impression that those particular women were incapable of dancing well as the rest of their performances were very well done...but they simply edited out one mistake out of an entire routine. As for the fitness aspect of it...it IS fitness if it results in conditioning the body and all forms of dance do that. If this is a way to get women AND men to become more active then it's a worthwhile experience for the people who choose it. Pole dance traning ranges from simple cardio vascular exercise to body weight exercise depending on the type of class. Trust me...it's a tough work out. It may not be traditional but that does not make it wrong or immoral! It's all a matter of opinion and based on the number of people involved and supporting this dance sport it's become very successful. Thank you to everyone for your opinions!
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 30, 2011 at 06:58 AM
It looks like a lot of fun. And great exercise for the thighs.
DLC DAVE August 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM
There was no harm done in these videos,the only thing shed here was a few calories, the people who objected to these videos ,made up something trashy in their minds, it seems to me this society also likes to see people killed then something that may resemble sex in a way . But remember this without sex none of us would be here .
PD August 30, 2011 at 07:42 PM
I don't want to see people killed nor do I want to watch pole dancing. So I don't. I also don't want it in or near my community and that's how I feel.
Russ August 30, 2011 at 07:49 PM
well hurumph !! glad your not in charge.
Deb Melchert August 30, 2011 at 07:56 PM
DLC Dave said it best, like 2 knobs (knobs? Dave you're dating yourself ;-) ) If you don't like it, don't watch. This isn't to my taste, but neither is all the wrestling garbage on TV, so I don't watch it. Kudos to those fit enough to do this. Everyone has their own tastes, so do your thing and let others be.
Russ August 30, 2011 at 08:31 PM
well done deb
DLC DAVE August 30, 2011 at 08:50 PM
My Hero LOL yes I am getting up there in age and seen it all,with the way the world is going it really surprises me that people get offended by what others do, live and let live , if it doesn't violate your rights then leave it be .
Deb Melchert August 30, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Dave, don't feel bad. I was just reading the article about the video Dads. When I was a kid, camcorders, cellphones and computers were non existent. Think Polaroid! But I like to think I'm old enough to know better, but still too young to care. And never forget, youth and agility is no match for age and treachery!
Robin Randall August 31, 2011 at 01:56 AM
It seems like the story would be ok without the video. Patch is a community news website with a lot of stories about kids and local family activities and sports. It is not The Reader. Kids do go on the site to read about their school and see pictures of themselves and their friends and stores about their school. If the site had a log on for adults, it would be fine. But it doesn't and Patch needs to take responsibility for content on the site. Its not appropriate for Patch.
Steve Burke August 31, 2011 at 03:15 AM
I still don't get what's wrong with this. Kids would not find this sexual unless adults make a deal about it (e.g., commenting to them about profane language from a stranger in a shopping check-out line makes the words more interesting). Kind of like if I made a joke about DLC Dave's "two knobs" comment out of context; over the heads of babes (i.e., kids). Make no mistake, I don't like my kids watching some so-called family "tween" shows, but this video is far more G rated than a lot of things one could see on basic cable, even broadcast TV.
Maggie W August 31, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Many of the clips in the video are very similar to Cirque du Soliel, so I think the only thing kids would get from watching it is how to do acrobatics. As for some of the "racier" clips, there is far far far worse on the internet and TV, even on non-sexy sites and during primetime.
Robin Randall August 31, 2011 at 03:52 AM
Some of it looks like weightlifters doing pole dancing, but the 8" heels, trashy costumes and moves don't belong on a community news website. They would be perfectly fine in the right context... It is an amusing video.
Diana August 31, 2011 at 09:46 PM
I was 8, I might be a "joke" to you but I placed third in my division and took home a shiny trophy. I was also hand selected to be in this competition over other girls that didn't get chosen, maybe you should go out and find a date/learn something about this sport before you go sharing your unwanted critiques.
Diana August 31, 2011 at 10:15 PM
I am #8 on the video and I am quite disappointed that they chose to only show certain clips of everyone's performances, there was a reason I was changing costumes but you wouldn't know that because you can't see the entire video. Every one of the girls did awesome and the haters need to keep their comments to themselves if you don't like it then don't watch it.
Mary Ellyn Weissman September 05, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Robin your comments are a bit exaggerated. None of our competitors had on anything above 6 inch heels which are actually becoming quite common in every shoe department you walk into today! As for "trashy costumes" the competitors wore nothing less than swimsuit coverage and in fact our costume guidelines were so strict that most of what you find in the swim department would not have qualified. The US Olympic volley ball team showed more skin than these competitors did. There were no trashy moves either! Spins and inverts are not trashy and body rolls and leg splits are seen in many disciplines of sport and other styles of dance. Have you watched much hip hop? Which is being taught to children in dance schools across the country? If someone wishes to hate something they don't have to look very hard to come up with excuses to back up their biased opinions. However, this video doesn't show very much of what actually went on that day. I invite you to view the videos of the competitors on our facebook page for the Midwest Pole Dance Competition.
Robin Randall September 05, 2011 at 09:36 PM
They are stripper poles. End of story. I'm not telling anyone what to like or not like. There is responsible journalism and irresponsible journalism. Would you find it in the Chicago Tribune? Don't think so.
Deb Melchert September 05, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Robin, the Tribune saw fit to put it in their local editions, online and in print.
Robin Randall September 05, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Ok, TribLocal had a well written article, pointing out many sides of the argument about the sport. They included a picture which is appropriate but not a video, which is still inappropriate. The article also said that some of the contestants are actual strippers. My opinion is that a video about an event that includes strippers is not appropriate for a community/family oriented news site. I am in no way against the sport or event.
Deb Melchert September 05, 2011 at 10:35 PM
I read both articles but didn't bother with the pics or video because it simply didn't interest me. And honestly, I find the daily reports of murders or articles about a 16 year old who had no problem cutting a dog's head off with an axe a whole lot more disturbing. Some consider it stripping, some a sport. To each his own.
Mary Ellyn Weissman September 07, 2011 at 04:53 PM
So exactly WHY are they "Stripper poles"? Poles have been used in dance and fitness formats long before they were ever used in strip clubs. Mallakamb and Chinese pole have been around for centuries. So why are these stripper poles instead of chinese poles? As for strippers being part of the event, that shouldn't matter as long as they aren't stripping at the event. We did not adverstise who were strippers and who were not and we did not use that to promote the event. The fact is there are teachers in schools and waitresses in restaurants and a few dental hygienists I know of who also work, or have worked, as strippers which doesn't make their day jobs any less respectable either.
Patti Lavin August 29, 2012 at 11:21 AM
I'm sure all their dads are soooo proud! :/
Teg August 29, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Fantastic!
Teg August 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Stop being so judgmental and appreciate the artistry.
Geena August 29, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Yay - I no longer need to dance in the city, I can dance in Tinley Park! I dance for a living downtown and also work for an agency dancing at parties and topless waitressing. We go to car dealerships, businesses, sports events, restaurants all over the city and suburbs for our shows. A lot of these women who are being rated here as 'hot or not' are basically doing almost the exact same thing we do when we dance at the club. The difference is that some of the women on the video are a little too heavy or old to be working at a club. Nothing different short of taking off their clothes. As a dancer, I don't call it artistry, I call it dancing. I am surprised to find that my city now has found a way to have a strip club without having it been called that. I really don't want a club, convention or this kind of stuff in my neighborhood since I work very hard to hide what I do. That's right, hide. I would not be proud letting friends, neighbors, family snicker about me knowing that is what I do. In fact, I bet a lot of men who attended this/or watched the video are snickering at their clueless wives just as they do when wives think nothing ever happens at bachelor parties, golf and retirement parties (ever wonder why they don't invite you?). I read also they might turn this into an olympic sport. Gee - what fun! What they'll have will be mostly professional dancers (strippers) like me who can be on that pole for hours on one hold. Enough said.
SouthSide August 29, 2012 at 07:48 PM
The pole dancing is art, exercise, dance, certainly NOT porn. The ladies are not naked, not topless, and not wearing thongs. They are not strippers. They are not prostitutes. They are dancing, exercising, and otherwise engaging in an art form that is not immoral. I wonder if the same people poo-pooing the video are the same people who think the women's Olympic beach volleyball was obscene. Sheesh.
Geena August 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I don't consider it a news story when they are asking people to watch and rate as hot or not. It's only meant to draw attention. Would have been great to have the writer ask around the neighborhood (and not those attending, obviously) what people thought of this - I bet they would have a lot of people saying that they were fine with it - but not in their neighborhood.
Tired of the B.S. August 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I'm glad you don't consider yourself a prune. I believe the word you were looking for is prude.

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