The University of Essex narrowly won the first ever Derby Day pole dancing competition by 866 points to 829.

poledancing whye tchien khor

Photo: Whye Tchien Khor

UEA’s Fatimah Braimah took top place in the beginners’ category with 110 points, her controversial “hello boys” move was technically not permitted but after a brief deliberation, the judges gave their approval.

Anna Kirton of the University of Essex won the intermediate category with 188 points and Essex’s Sophie Logan secured the top spot in the advanced section with 131 points. The competition was judged by “Bendy Kate”, national pole dancing champion who thrilled the crowds with an energetic routine at the end of the show.

This was the first time Essex have managed to provide a team for UEA to compete against, and the judges agreed that it was great to see so many students come out for the contest.  Buller said she was looking for a routine which “captures the audience and really moves you in the performance”.

The routines were performed to a range of tracks and making the routine fit with the music was a key consideration from the judges. Points were awarded for fluidity, poise and signs that the performer was enjoying themselves on the poles. Intermediate competitor Charlotte Silver, who managed to incorporate doing the worm into her routine, said “it was fun! I was nervous, but the main point of the day is to have fun in a friendly competition”.

Pole Dancing president Maria Dottin was pleased with the overall spectacle, saying the whole thing went “very smoothly. Usually we just have showcases, so this is great. I’m really proud of all the competitors.”

Lucia Halbherr, in the advanced class, pulled off a spectacular routine including an impressive superman to Gemini and a tricky inverted D and judges were also impressed with Emma Thomson, who managed to carry out her full routine despite having a foot injury.

Unfortunately it was an overall loss for UEA, but the competitors said they had a great time competing and look forward to next year’s competition.