In recent years pole dancing has surpassed its risque reputation and become a sport of strength, grace and control.
At 71 years old, Christiena Bluett has proved that it’s not just for the young, progressing quickly into advanced moves after only beginning in September.
She first took an interest when brainstorming ideas for the annual variety show at Bridgewater Lifestyle Village, where she resides.
“I thought if I can get a pole organised, I can make it into a comedy, like an old woman who waits for the bus, and I lean against it… and this is how it started,” Ms Bluett said.
“I thought maybe I should learn a couple of spins, because on the website it looks quite… easy, simple. But it wasn’t.”
She began training in September 2015, and despite several injuries and illness, has become a star student at Fitzy’s Pole n Tone.
Her trainer, Kellie Murphy, said she is already doing better than a lot of the younger students.
“She could do stuff they couldn’t, even we’ve got students here who had been doing it a couple of years that can’t do some of that stuff she’s doing,” Ms Murphy said.
“She doesn’t stop. In class they’re normally whinging, this hurts and they stop and all that, and she just keeps going, keeps going. I’ve never seen anyone do what she does. All these young ones just don’t work like she does.”
Ms Bluett has kept fit, working out at the gym for the last 30 years, and has been training at the pole studio at least three times a week to get her routine ready for the show.
“It just proves that age isn’t a barrier, if you’re strong, and you can do it,” Ms Murphy said.
Ms Bluett hopes to be a role model for mature women, and said she found pole dancing good for the mind as well as the body, and empowering.
“My husband is really really proud of me, and my friends, and my family, when I send them photos, ‘good on you’,” she said.
Her husband is, in fact, part of the routine, which involves an elderly woman arriving at a bus stop, where she has brief interactions with a man waiting at the stop before beginning to dance.
“Kellie, if it wasn’t for her, I would never have gotten here… She keeps saying, ‘you can do it, you can do it’, and I just trust her.”
Ms Bluett will debut her routine at the Bridgewater Lifestyle Village variety show on Saturday May 21 and Sunday May 22, with doors opening for a 7.30pm start.
Tickets can be bought at the door for $10.