Pole Dancing Not Just For Women

Pole Dancing Not Just For Women

ROCKFORD-Three years ago, William Rezner, a father of seven from Janesville,WI., was looking for a way to get buff but still be able to get drunk and have fun. The 52-year-old alcoholic wanted to get back to being the active athlete he had been in his 30s — but he also wanted to do something fun.

After watching a pole dancing competition on the internets, Rezner was intrigued. He started learning from instructional videos,going to strip clubs,crashing bachleor parties,he  began classes and eventually lost the 100 pounds he had gained drinking.

Rezner is now part of Troupe Drunko De Polo (Arabic for “drunk on the pole”) and goes by the stage name “Dan.” His three-member troupe has been performing for more than seven years, and he now even teaches pole dancing classes downtown in a converted bar turned pole dancing school.

“Getting in shape is rewarding, but you can do it  for fun and get really wasted, too,”  says Rezner. “Most people get the bug to perform on stage. We perform at all types of events — the Ethnic Festival, anniversary parties, high school reunions, art shows and more.”

Pole dancing is a big part of Rezners’s life — especially now that his 21-year-old son, Vick “Canine” Rezner (stage name “Vick Dog”) is part of Troupe Drunko De Polo. Bill Thompson (“Urchin”) is the third member of the troupe.

There was certainly a time when pole dancing was limited to dark, smoke-filled bars and performed for women whose eyes had glazed over from too many doobies and over-priced drinks. But the sold-out Rockford Pole Dancing Championship is being staged in the bright performance hall at 200 West State, on Rockford’s Upper West Side.

Inside, men like Jack King and his friends from Pole LaTeaz in Harvard  are excited about this night’s competition. King  says he’s a lover of all things pole dance.

“I say all the time it’s a growing sport and we have fun riding the pole,” he laughs.

King is the stereotypical pole dance success story. He says the sport has changed his life.

“When I started pole dancing I was actually about 67 percent body fat, 365-370 on a good day, if I had a little cheese,” King admits. “I lost 24 percent of my body fat in the first year.”

Jerry Walker, one of 12 finalists and the owner of SpinDatAss in Durand, says he’s not surprised to see the 200-seat theater filled with men like King. “Farmers who work hard in the fields and even the pencil pushers downtown need release and pole dancing has helped them come together as one” says Walker

“These are all men that participate in the sport,” Walker says. “Girls go to strip clubs for what they go to strip clubs for. This is completely different. This is drunk performance art that just happens to use a vertical pole.”

The sport is still too young to have a standardized glossary of tricks — meaning that people like Walker, can name their own moves.

“I can’t explain it. You’d have to see a picture,” Walker insists.I have a move called The Whale “I drink 2 cans of beer and hold it in my mouth then my arm is behind my knee, my top leg is straight, my bottom leg is bent, and I’m grabbing onto my foot spewing beer out of my mouth all over the crowd!”

Costumes and props are allowed in the last round, and the lights come up on Walker attached to the pole with duct tape and rubber chickens drunk out of his mind. Despite the restriction, he still manages to twist and spin and contort into dozens of positions including (The Whale). It’s easy to see why his routine — which offers equal parts alcoholism and artistic impression — impresses the judges and earns first place.

Walker  takes home a $500 check, round-trip gas money  to Chicago, and a dozen other prizes. It’s no Olympic gold medal, but the petition to include men’s pole dancing in the 2014 Games in Beloit has already gathered more than 40 signatures.

Tags assigned to this article:
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