When I tell folks I am into photographing pole dancers their first reaction is generally a startled look that suggests they are wondering if I am hanging out in strip clubs. And I always have to clarify that while pole dancing may have gained some notoriety from being a standard feature in strip joints, it really is a form of athletic and artistic expression that has moved beyond all of that. Pole dancers are athletes and acrobats. Many have a background in gymnastics or dance. They train and work hard, and their presentations are magnificent.

I recently attended the 2016 Colorado Pole Dancing champions ships which were held at the Boulder Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. These images are from that event. I sat in the audience, so you are seeing here what I got to see. They were shot with a Nikon D750 and a Nikkor 85mm f1.4 lens. Reviewing the images for processing was an exercise in astonishment. It is incredible to see what these athletess can do.

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