SHERRY Bremner is doing her PhD in physics at the University of Cape Town. But for now she has ditched her laboratory coat for something a bit more revealing.
Bremner and graphic designer Simone Hodgskiss are hard at work perfecting their pole dancing routine for the World Pole Sports Championships in London.
In April the Capetonians bagged gold in the duet division of the national championships, organised by the Pole Fitness Association of South Africa (PFASA), and qualified to take to the international stage next month.
But to fly the South African flag and perform on their spinning poles they have to raise between R20000 and R30000 to pay for accommodation, food and travelling.
“The exchange rate is messing with us – now it’s about R15 to £1!” Bremner said.
They have put on a few fundraising events but with a month to go she said it would be better to focus on their training with coach Cezanne Carstens than to worry about money.
Pole dancing is unfortunately, according to the duo, still associated with sleazy strip clubs. “We still have to shake that unfortunate stigma that is attached to the sport,” Hodgskiss said.
The women started pole dancing less than three years ago to keep fit. “I was a bit apprehensive at first because I did not know what to expect,” Hodgskiss said.
“I found it was a lot of fun and it turned out to be more athletic than I thought.”
Bremner said at the world championships they would be judged on creativity, technical execution and flexibility.
The International Pole Sports Federation is promoting this “as an athletic, gymnastic sport” and eventually they would like to see it being recognised as an official sport at global events such as the Olympics.
Donata Fell, owner of Pole Dance Cape Town, said while the sport was relatively new in South Africa it had grown dramatically in the past few years.
Tracey Simmonds, one of the founders of the PFASA, said she had “every confidence” in Bremner and Hodgskiss’s success next month. “Sherry and Simone are outstanding athletes as well as artists. We were blown away by their technique.”