The International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) promotes pole dancing as a form of fitness exercise. The organisation acts as a supervisory body for the sport and annually organizes the International Pole Championship (IPC). It has a database of pole dancing studios and instructors around the world and also trains/accredits instructors. The organization was founded by Ania Przeplasko (pronounced pshe plaz ko) in 2007. At the time, pole dancing was gaining popularity as a fitness program worldwide, yet was not taken seriously as a recognized sport. This is partially because there was no international body that gave structure to the sport. IPDFA was created to organize the sport on an international level in both men’s and women’s divisions.
Membership is free, but to be an IPDFA member studio, instructors have to be First Aid and CPR-certified. They must submit videos of their classes so that IPFDA evaluators can review the instructors’ technical level and their teaching ability. Only IPDFA-certified instructors automatically qualify to be members. Member instructors are also given the opportunity to conduct workshops in member studios worldwide.
As the sport grew so did the demand for instructors. As most instructors at the time were performers, many did not have a full understanding of safety standards required to teach. IPDFA accredits pole fitness instructors; it concentrates on further developing their ability as a pole instructor. The course focuses on safe and responsible teaching techniques. The course covers:
Under the same umbrella, parent company Beauty Factor and Viva Vertical manages several pole, burlesque and aerial arts studios. These come under the brands Viva Circus, Tease and Aerial Arts Academy. Viva Vertical is a brand closely partnered with IPDFA.
The International Pole Championship (IPC) is an annual competition organized by International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA). It is the world’s first international pole dance fitness championship where winners are credited solely for their dance skills, trick techniques and overall showmanship. Winners of national championships are granted entry to this championship. Undiscovered talents can submit a video entry via the IPC website where the winner of online voting gains, along with the title Pole Idol, sponsorship to the Grand Finals.
Pole Positions is a book that has a complete collection of all the names of pole poses and tricks. Updated annually, this is the book used in instructor courses and by IPDFA member studios worldwide. The book is also used to standardize scores given at IPC competitions.
IPDFA has been covered by international media. Articles covering the IPC, interviews with pioneers of the sport have been reported on Associated Press, Reuters, Huffington Post and other international media. The event was covered by over 4000 media venues in 120 countries.
An effort to include pole dancing in the Olympics was initiated by K. T. Coates. Przeplasko strongly supports this idea and has in many interviews highlighted this cause. IPDFA seeks to gain the International Olympic Committee’s recognition of pole dance as a sport.