Queenstown Pole Studio, which produced another national champion last Saturday, farewells its founder with a pole jam Friday night.
Anna Ashton – who’s leaving town after 12 years to travel around the country in a house truck – started the local pole dancing craze in her Arthurs Point home six years ago.
“I converted my downstairs into a studio, then it got really busy.
“Everyone got really good and started hitting the ceiling all the time so it was time to move into town with some higher ceilings and much more space.”
Ashton sold her Gorge Road-based studio to her “pole star” Raha Sangsari two years ago but has remained active.
“I had my twins 21 months ago and then I was competing in Miss Pole Dance NZ when they were 10 months old.”
Ashton says she’s created a Queenstown pole family – “lots of them have gone off and started their own studio”.
She believes pole dancing provides the best all-over body workout: “It’s the combination of strength, endurance and flexibility.
“I reckon we’ve got the fittest ladies in Queenstown.”
Ashton – who’s taking her pole with her when she leaves town – is also proud that the studio regularly turns out national champions.
“For a small town we do really well in competitions.”
Last Saturday, studio member Lydia Barbour won NZ Amateur Pole Performer open category in Christchurch.
Last year she also came third in the elite category of Miss Pole Dance NZ, her first competition.
Barbour and Sangsari have both qualified for category finals at the Pole Theatre Sydney competition in Australia in October.
Meanwhile a pole jam will be held tomorrow to honour Ashton’s contribution to the local scene.
Studio members will dance to music by local rock band Whisky Blackout at the Vinyl Underground nightclub.
The jam starts 10.30pm