Instinct Interviews Evgeny Greshilov, International Pole Dance Champion
The men of pole fitness and pole dancing may immediately capture the eyes of anyone with a pulse (we've posted their videos many times on this here blog thingy). But those who stick around for their full performances are rewarded with outrageous athleticism and artistry, and will likely be cemented as fans of the burgeoning sport. With the very first pole fitness awards show having handed out trophies last month by Pole World News, it became official: the pole is here to stay. Who better, then, to acquaint us with pole fitness than Evgeny Greshilov, a Moscow-based international athlete who recently took first place at the Pole Fitness Championships in London. We caught up with Evgeny to ask about his feelings on the push for pole fitness in the Olympics, the stigma surrounding the pole, his gay fans, and more!
Jonathan Higbee: How'd you get started in pole athletics?
Evgeny: My first meeting with pole dancing happened 12 years ago in one Siberian nightclub where I worked as an aerial gymnast. But the moment when I really fell in love with pole athletics was in 2010 during the preparation for my first pole competition ever. At that time I already had big experience as a dancer, choreographer and aerial performer, and I was ready to combine all of that in a pole routine.
Would you say it's difficult being a straight male athlete in the industry?
I can't say that and never felt any pressure.
Your routines that are available on YouTube are incredible. What's your creative process for coming up with them?
It is all the time, a long process, which is going on for a few months.
It started in different ways. First of all—this is a common situation—I'm choosing a character and after this I'm building a storyline, looking for music, costume and creating pole combos; but rarely, first of all is the music—it should be really good, inspirational music—and after this I start to collect everything together.
Little bit more about the process:
Any music I'm going to use I'm translating the text, if it exists. It should be the same sense as in my storyline, or, if it's instrumental, a similar feeling and musical atmosphere.
Also I'm hiring special people who create my stage make up, if necessary, exactly for my character. The same with costume, it's all the time hand made.
And the most important for me is a storyline which I'm hatching a long time and realizing on the stage.
What's your favorite part about performing?
My favorite part in performance is the finale of the routine, when I just finished. That's all! I've done my long, long preparation and practice. And now it's time for relax.
Have you ever experienced a serious injury while performing or practicing?
Last spring I got a neck injury during my work in Macau. Sometimes it is coming back to me, and I need to be more careful in my practice now. Actually, I was forced to cancel my participation at International Pole Competition in Singapore last November because I got a relapse of this injure.
What do you think of the movement to have pole fitness included as an Olympic sport?
It depends how it could be. If it will be really sporty and very strict with rules about music, props and a list of tricks, I don't think so. For me it's more art. I want to have possibility to create there, which will be hard if you bond with the rules and conditions.
In total, for growing the pole industry I may say yes, but moving in this direction we should save all that beautiful and unique art we are having now.
Do you think pole athletics suffer from a mainstream stigma?
I think you are talking about striptease and stereotypes from which are touching the pole athletics.
I think—and I hope—at this moment much more people can understand a difference between pole athletics and striptease.
It is becoming more and more popular. For example, in this year Russia's Got Talent won a young girl with a beautiful and gorgeous pole act!
What advice do you want to have for other men who might want to try their hand at pole fitness?
If you want to try pole dancing just do it. It's better to try and realize your wish, when do nothing and just thinking about how it could be.
Any last message for your many gay fans?
Thank you for your support and for appreciating my style and pole work!
(Images: Sergey Nemanov Photography)