The very best pole videos — these are the “must sees” for every fan of pole. We published the original group of 10 videos on January 1, 2020 in chronological order. Occasionally we might add more, but it will always remain an extreme short-list, featuring only the best of pole.*
Best of Pole: Anastasia Skukhtorova (Pole Art, 2011)Anastasia Skukhtorova has been an innovative leader and bright star in the pole industry since her debut on the international competition stage in 2009. Today, there is hardly a pole dancer that doesn’t recognize her name, or draw some inspiration from her performance style. Over the past decade, Anastasia has impressed audiences all over the world with routines showcasing her signature flexibility and graceful movement, often set to classical music.
However, one of the most beloved and impressive qualities about Anastasia is her determination to achieve whatever she sets her mind to. Many have heard that Anastasia has no background in dance, gymnastics, or any other sport – and yet she won her first national competition after only 11 months of pole training, and rose to international stardom in under 3 years. She says she believes anyone can achieve their goals, however unattainable they might seem, if they too believe in themselves.
Anastasia’s pole journey started like so many others’ – with a desire to take dance classes that focused on feeling feminine and elegant. Growing up in Moscow, she always dreamed of being a dancer; she loved movement but had no classical training. At the age of 18, after watching American movies like Step Up and Honey, she was inspired to take her first pole class at a studio in Moscow (Studio “Cindy”) on December 9, 2008. At the time, almost all classes at Cindy were taught in heels.
Anastasia was instantly hooked and started preparing for her first competition the following year. In 2009 she competed three times: in April as a beginner-level at Russia’s first ever pole dance competition; in August in the professional division at the Russian Pole Dance & Fitness Championships in St. Petersburg; and in November at the qualifier for the upcoming World Pole Dance Championship. Anastasia won her qualifier, earning her a chance to compete at the World Championship in Zurich.
The World Championship took place in October 2010, with only 13 dancers worldwide who had been accepted as finalists into Anastasia’s category (including the incredible Felix Cane, Alethea Austin, Jenyne Butterfly, and Zoraya Judd). Anastasia counts this experience as one of the most important competitions of her career, largely because of the opportunity to meet, perform alongside, and be inspired by these dancers whom she respected and admired so much.
The following year, Anastasia competed at the Pole Art competition in Helsinki, where she placed 3rd in her category. The video from her 2011 Pole Art performance, with over 4 million views on YouTube, helped launch Anastasia into super-stardom. Following this performance, she was immediately offered teaching contracts abroad, and decided to make pole dance her full-time professional career. And finally in November 2012, Anastasia won her first international title at the Pole World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she placed 1st in the professional division!
After achieving international fame, Anastasia fully immersed herself in the world of pole dance as a profession. She travelled the globe teaching workshops, judging competitions, and occasionally competing and performing. In 2014-2015, Anastasia toured with the company “Cirque le Noir – the Dark Side of Cirque” as a guest artist. Today, she continues to lead the pole industry, inspiring her students and audiences with her captivating pole style. Anastasia is now based in Denmark, but still tours the world to teach and perform, and is always trying to find something new to explore.
Most recently, she competed in the 2018 season of “Denmark’s Got Talent.” She says her goal was not to win, but to show new audiences how beautiful pole dance can be. She attributes her success to a combination of training programs, circus artists and pole coaches who have helped her along the way, and the desire to do something “different.” For example, when Anastasia started competing, she was one of the only dancers to perform barefoot or to perform to opera / orchestral music. She encourages her students to focus on what makes them unique in order to develop as artists.
Anastasia’s true love is performance for the pure joy of dancing. She has turned to exotic dance in more recent years as her “pole therapy,” which she does for her heart; to feel beautiful, confident, and feminine. Anastasia says that after coming home from a day of conquering difficult pole tricks, you can conquer anything else life throws at you. She has this advice for aspiring pole dancers: “Celebrate every achievement … no matter how small … and don’t forget why you started pole dance in the first place … believe in yourself, believe in something and you can achieve it”. Anastasia continues to be a world leader in the pole industry, and plans to keep dancing until she’s (at least) 90. The world can’t wait to see what she does next!
This bio was originally published as “Anastasia Skukhtorova: Performer Spotlight” by Lady Jane on PolePress.com.
Best of Pole: Natalia Tatarintseva, a.k.a. "TaTa" (Ukraine's Got Talent)Any list of the world's best pole performers is sure to include Natalia Tatarintseva. A former rhythmic gymnast, her mix of flexibility, dynamism, and choreography makes her difficult to classify, as her routines straddle pole sport and pole art.
ABOUT NATALIA TATARINTSEVA
Natalia Tatarintseva ("TaTa") started gymnastics when she was just four years old. In Dnepr city she trained until 13. All throughout this time, Nataliia trained and competed only in rhythmic gymnastics, and was awarded both champion of the city and a regional champion in her discipline. Between 2003 and 2006 Tatarintseva moved to Kiev to join a sports boarding school. It was while she was awarded a Master of Sports in Ukraine Rhythmic Gymnastics, was 7 times Ukraine champion, and the winner of both the European and World Championships.
However, in 2006, Ms. Tatarintseva suffered serious injury, and was forced to return home to Dnepr city, where she finished high school and started studying at University. So she has higher humanitarian education. In 2007, Natalia Tatarintseva started to compite in professional aethetic gymnastic, and her national team was 1st in Europe at many competitins during 2007-2009. Also at this period she started to learn different dance disciplines for fun, and started to perform like dancer in some small show groups around Ukraine. Then in 2010, she started to teach flexibility at one dance school, and this is where she tried Pole Sport for the first time. The following year, Natalia Tatarintseva started to compete in pole dance, and after just 1 year she became a national winner.
So now TaTa is one of the most popular pole dancers and pole models around the world, with honors and titles including:
- 1st pole dancer and pole coach in Ukraine
- Winner of many international pole competitions during 2011-2016
- World Pole Sport champion in London 2012
- Winner of Miss World Pole Dance & Fitness in Zürich 2012
- Best Performer of the 2012-2013 - IPS Award 2013
- Finalist of Ukrainian Got Talent Show 2015
- World Pole Dance champion 2016
- International guest and Pole performer
- Pole Sport/Dance instructor and the owner of several pole dance studios in Ukraine
- Pole model, contortion model, fitness model
- Professional nutritionist
Best of Pole: Anastasia Sokolova (Ukraine's Got Talent, Semifinals, 2013)Anastasia Sokolova's groundbreaking appearance on Got Talent was a pivotal moment in the history of pole dance. Her fusion of acrobatic movements and cirque-inspired theatricality first demonstrated the artistic possibilties of pole for a global audience.
ABOUT ANASTASIA SOKOLOVA
Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, Anastasia Sokolova started pole dancing at age 21. Now 30 years old, she has become one of the most sought-after pole performers around the world.
Surprisingly, Anastasia didn't have an extensive athletic or dance background prior to starting pole. Although she did briefly practice gymnastics at age 7, she soon had to stop because of health problems.
Anastasia's pole career began almost by accident, when she stumbled across a video of Allegra Pole Dancer. She was so impressed by Allegra's performance — hot, strong, and beautiful moves choreographed to Marilyn Manson's "Tainted Love" — that she was inspired to take a class at the nearby pole studio.
Within just a few months, Anastasia had learned everything those first pole instructors could teach her, so she switched to a different pole studio. But then the same thing happened at the new studio. And, since she had already started creating her own tricks, the second studio made her a pole teacher.
After only two years of pole dancing — and when the artform was still quite new as a mainstream activity — Anastasia appeared on Ukraine's Got Talent. In her audition, she performed using the same song that originally inspired her to pole dance: Marilyn Manson's "Tainted Love." Next, in the semi-finals she performed a cirque-inspired routine, choreographed to "Wake Me Up Inside" by Evanescence and using an oversized circus-wheel engulfed in flames. And in the final round, she performed the famous "El Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge.
Each of the three videos from Ukraine's Got Talent received millions of views online, quickly turning Anastasia Sokolova into the world's most famous pole dancer. Soon thereafter, she started receiving numerous requests from agencies, clubs, circuses, and pole studios, inviting her to perform and teach pole classes. In the past 9 years, she has taught more than 500 pole workshops to over 7,000 pole dancers around the globe.
Best of Pole: Pink Puma & Dimitry Politov (Pole Art, 2016)
Best of Pole: Olena Minina (Pole Art, 2016)ABOUT OLENA MININA
Born in 1992 in Kiev, Ukraine, Olena Minina started her career at the age of 3 with sport gymnastics. The result of more than 10 years hard trainings are some national titles and Candidate Master of Sport degree.
After she broke off with gymnastics, Olena found herself in figure skating and acrobatics on ice skates and rollerblades. For the next period of life she performed in the shows and small art projects as a skater.
Much later Olena visited her first lesson in the dance class. It became a new passion in a short time. She had tried a lot of dance styles ( Jazz-Funk, Jazz Modern, Broadway Jazz, Hip-Hop... ) before she visited her first Pole Dance lesson in 2012.
As Olena had a very good background it wasn't too difficult to master pole and started to create her own combos using acrobatic and dance base. In 2 months Olena performed first time on the stage as a pole dancer and became a pole dance instructor in Kiev, Ukraine.
- finalist of Pole Art Championship 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine;
- winner of Ukrainian Pole Sport Championship 2014 (Kiev, Ukraine);
- 2nd place on International Pole Dance Championship 2014 on Arnold Classic Europe (Madrid, Spain);
- finalist of International Pole Sport Championship 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation;
- finalist of Pole Art Cyprus 2014 (Cyprus, Limassol);
- winner of Ukrainian Pole Sport Championship 2015 (Kiev, Ukraine);
-competitor on World Pole Sport Championship 2015 (London, United Kingdom);
-3rd place on Pole Art Spain 2015 (Palma de Mallorca, Spain);
-winner of Pole Art Cyprus 2015 (Cyprus, Limassol);
-2nd place on International Pole Performance 2015 (Kiev, Ukraine);
-2nd place on Ukrainian Pole Sport Championship (regionals competition of central region, Kiev, Ukraine);
-finalist of Pole Theatre Paris 2016 Pro Drama Category (Paris, France);
-finalist of Pole Art Italy 2016 (Milano, Italy);
-winner of Ukrainian Pole Sport Championship 2016 (Kiev, Ukraine);
-Best Performance Award on Exotic Stripper Style Pole Dance 2016 2016 (Odessa, Ukraine);
-2nd place on Pole Art France 2016 (Bordeaux, France);
-2nd place on International Pole Art Festival Competition 2016 (Lisbon, Portugal);
-finalist of World Pole Sport Championship 2016 (London, UK);
-1st runner up on World Pole Dance 2016 (Bucharest, Romania);
-winner of Pole Art Spain 2016 (Palma-de-Mallorca);
-finalist of Pole Art Cyprus 2016 Stars Category (Limassol, Cyprus);
-3rd place on IPSAF World Championship Pole Sport 2016 (Florence, Italy);
-finalist of IPSAF World Pole Art Championship 2017 (Torino, Italy);
-winner of IPSAF European Pole Sport Championship 2017 (Budapest, Hungary);
-finalist of Pole Art Greece 2017 (Athens, Greece);
-3rd place on POSA World Pole Sport Championship 2017 (Vaduz, Liechtenstein);
-winner of POSA World Pole Art Championship 2018 (Turin, Italy);
-1st runner-up on World Pole Dance 2018 (Tianjin, China);
-winner of POSA World Pole Sport Winter Cup 2018 (Castelletto sopranos Ticino, Italy);
-2nd place on CSIT World Games 2019 (Tortosa, Spain);
-finalist of Pole Emotion 2019 in Exotic Supreme (Latvia, Riga);
-3rd place on POSA World Pole Sport Championship 2019 (Hameenlinna, Finland)
Best of Pole: Jazzy Alix (PCS at Arnold Sports Festival, 2017)Jazzy studied jazz dance for 8 years at the School of Performing Arts of Bordeaux, France, complimenting her training with ballet. Following a foot injury, she needed a change and pole dance was the perfect escape. Having good body awareness, strong determination and a perceptive eye, Jazzy progressed quickly, infusing everything she learned from academic dance into pole.
Her style is a mix of jazz, contemporary dance, ballet, and dynamic acrobatic movements on and off the pole. She likes to mix fluidity and sleek body lines with unique accents; for her, musicality is key!
Jazzy started to compete in 2014, at the professional or elite level, and has placed in all the competitions she entered since then, including:
- Pole Championship Series 2017 & 2015 : 1st place
- North American Pole Dance Championship 2016 : 1st place
Pole Classic 2015: 3rd place
- Canadian Pole Fitness Championship 2014 & 2015: 3rd & 2nd place
- Québec Pole Fitness Championship 2014 & 2015: 1st place
Ballet Pole Dance - Tara Meyer: OG Pole at Olympia, 1st Place (2018)Tara Meyer's 1st Place performance in the inaugural 2018 OG Pole Fitness at Olympia
Stairway to Heaven Pole Dance - Rafaela Montanaro: OG Pole at Olympia, 1st Place (2019)Rafaela Montanaro, Brazilian gymnast and 4-time Pole Sport world champion, wins 1st Place in Oksana Grishina's OG Pole Fitness at Olympia, held Sept. 14, 2019 as part of the Mr. Olympia Fitness Expo in Las Vegas
Music: "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, as performed by Ann Wilson (Heart)
Videography by Press Play Collective
Wonder Woman Pole Dance - Dineke Minten in OG Pole at Olympia (2019)Dineke Minten, current Ultra Pole IPSF world champion, competes in Oksana Grishina's OG Pole Fitness at Olympia, held Sept. 14, 2019 as part of the Mr. Olympia Fitness Expo in Las Vegas
Videography by Press Play Collective
Best of Pole: Bianca Breschi (Pole Sport World Championships, POSA, 2019)Italian Bianca Breschi's 2nd place performance at the 2019 Pole Sport World Championships
* Naturally, all lists of this kind — “Top 100 Rock Songs,” etc. — risk seeming idiosyncratic at best, or arbitrary at worst. So here’s a few remarks to clarify our intended aim and scope:
- Our goal is to show, not merely the best pole performances, but rather the best pole performance videos. Sadly, many of the best pole performances have been captured by videos whose quality was insufficient for inclusion.
- The unspoken and tautologous disclaimer is that our list only includes videos we know about. Although we have watched tons of pole videos over the years, we obviously have not seen all of them.
- We have limited each performer to a single video. So although (for example) every performance by Natalia Tatarintseva is a must-see, we only include one of her videos here.
- We have not included exotic routines, for two reasons. First, we lack the expertise to assess them. Second, exotic dance is sufficiently distinct as a genre that relative assessments of exotic routines and athletic routines are impossible. (“Apples and oranges,” etc.)