What do you get when you take a soft-spoken Vancouverite - a former rhythmic gymnast and Chinese dancer, with a heap of athletic talent - and introduce her to the sport of pole dancing?
The answer: within two years she is crowned champion at the U.S. National Championships. Meet Rosalyn Mow.
People come to Pole Dancing from a variety of backgrounds: gymnastics, dance, martial arts, couch potato. They also come for a variety of reasons: exercise, competition, challenge. Rosalyn Mow is no different. After many years as a competitive rhythmic gymnast and Chinese ballet dancer, Mow felt a little burned out and stopped for a couple of years. Then in 2012, looking for a new way to get in shape, she walked into Tantra Fitness Studios.
"I was always interested in 'circus' stuff - hoops, aerials and that kind of thing," Mow recalls. "So when I first went to Tantra, I was looking to take a class in that area, but I ended up taking a pole class, and the rest is history."
Enamoured with the sport, Mow trained hard, and began competing in 2014. Although her background in dance, gymnastics, and choreography certainly helped her become a top pole dancer, her commitment to the sport and the support of her studio have also played a major role.
"It is not easy learning a new sport and training as hard as you can," Mow says. "I think a lot of my success is due to my commitment to training and working hard, and without the training and support of Tantra, I would not be where I am today."
And this is where a little bit of irony enters Mow's story: she is actually allergic to nickel, the material of which poles are made. Imagine a tennis player allergic to his racquet, or a football player allergic to the football. That is what Mow is exposed to. Prolonged exposure to the pole gives her a serious rash. So although she wants to train as much as she can, Mow has to adapt her training to account for her allergy. But it does not deter her at all, and her success speaks volumes about her determination.
In fact, Mow's success comes at a time when pole dancing has quickly transformed itself from an often misunderstood, niche activity to a fully legitimate sport. Mow believes this is due to more and more people working hard to give the sport public exposure. And she is proud to play her role.
"The legitimacy of pole dance comes from bringing it to the public, and showing them what the sport can be," Mow says. "I've performed at corporate events, weddings, the Richmond Night Market, and a lot of those performances were for children, and the feedback has been all positive. It is opening people's eyes to the sport, that there is more than just the sexy side."
"It's a beginner level class and the students are so keen," she says. "There are eleven students in the class, a mix of girls and guys, a mix of ages, a mix of levels. It's awesome. It shows that you don't need a background in dance and gymnastics to do pole."
There will be no teaching next week, however, as Mow will be heading to Las Vegas for the annual Pole Expo, and Pole Classic competition, featuring dancers from around the world. Only the top ten girls and top ten guys were chosen from hundreds of applicants, and Mow will be the only Canadian competing at the event.
Based on her dedication, her determination, her hard work, and her success, there is no doubt that Mow deserves to be there, and that her future is definitely a bright one.
Winning Performances: Rosalyn Mow
2015: BC Pole Championships: 1st Runner Up
2015: Canadian Pole Championships: 2nd Runner Up
2016:Canadian Pole Championships: 2nd Runner Up
2016: BC Pole Championships: 1st Runner Up
2016: US National Pole Championships: 1st Place