Meet the male pole dancing champion who wants to inspire more men to take up the sport
Pole dancing has always been a performance style associated with seductive women. And given the role it plays in strip clubs, it has developed something of a seedy reputation; a titillating ploy to get male customers to spend vast amounts of money.
However, the view that pole dancing is an inherently feminine art form - an expression of female sexuality - is arguably an outdated one. The fact is, the number of men taking up pole dancing increases every year. This trend is reflected by the men's divisions that have started cropping up in competitions. But few people know better than Damian Kutryb how popular pole dancing is becoming amongst men.
This is how Kutryb is encouraging men to take up pole dancing:
The 28-year-old pole dancing instructor took an interest in the sport back in 2013 when a female colleague convinced him to join her at a class.
Since then, it has transformed from a beloved hobby into an ardent profession. Kutryb and partner Artur have even opened their own own studio in Manchester's Northern Quarter where he runs regular classes for his 15 male attendees.
Not content with simply confining his role in the world of pole dance to that of an instructor, he is now hoping to debunk long-held myths surrounding pole dancing.
"Pole dancing is not just for girls, it's for men who want to build a great body," Kutryb said. "It doesn't have to be girly and sexual, it can be masculine and strength building."
Pole dancing is an intrinsically athletic activity. With a combination of resistance training and cardio, it is akin to a full body workout.
"With the male lessons, it's all about strength and core rather than slow sensual moves like the females," Kutryb said. "The pole builds confidence regardless of gender, so it would be great to get more men interested in pole dancing."
Kutryb describes the studio as a tight-knit family where they "cheer each other on and build each other up."