Photos: U.S. Pole Dancing Championship

  • Photograph: David Rosenzwieg

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    U.S. Pole Dancing ChampionshipsThere's fit, and then there's terrifyingly fit...

Photographs: David Rosenzweig

There's fit, and then there's terrifyingly fit. The ladies who competed in the annual U.S. Pole Dancing Championship 2010 fall into the latter category. Amateurs and professionals threw down and spun around a pole at Symphony Space on Saturday for a grand prize of $5,000. These safe-for-work-but-kinda-not photos from rehearsals and portraits of the competitors are proof of how incredibly strong, and bendy, you have to be to pull off a six-foot drop into the splits, seen in this USPDF pole dancing video (at one minute, 44 seconds). Truly mind- and groin-blowing (that's your groin muscle, thank you very much). So congratulations to this year's winner, Alethea Austin, and amateur winner, Mina Mortezaie.

If you pine for that kind of body (women—we're talking to women, okay?), TONY's already helped one reader learn how to pole dance, and we have five pole dancing classes in NYC to try. Men who are pining for that kind of body will have to make do with photos of the U.S. Pole Dancing Championship 2009.