This Saturday, the US Pole Dance Federation will hold its national championship competition at the Upper West Side’s Symphony Space performing arts center. The championship will feature two categories, amateur and professional, each showcasing moves US Pole Dance Federation co-founder Wendy Trakos describes as “mind-blowing.”

Though for a certain type of person, pole dancing might evoke images of seedy clubs and strippers, those involved in the competition insist they’re after something different. “A lot of people now have a friend that’s doing it for fitness or they saw it on Oprah,” says Trakos. “People tend to have more of an open mind now and associate it less with strippers,” adding, “Pole dancing is sexy and athletic and we’re not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but we want you to embrace the sensuality of women doing incredibly athletic things.”

Tickets run from $30 for the amateur division to $95 for the pro division, and can be purchased here.

(Photo/Alex Thompson)