TOPICS: In the pole position

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Topics, in the course of our duty, has chatted with a contender for Miss Pole Dance Australia.

Bella Rowland, who runs Bella's Pole Studio at Morisset, is vying for the title with her doubles partner Jaed Hardy. They'll compete at Sydney's Enmore Theatre next month.

The doubles is judged on things such as synchronicity, difficulty of moves and transitions from one position to the other. It sounds a bit like Olympic diving.

Previous winners have gone on to plum gigs such as roles in Cirque du Soleil.

"A lot [of pole dancers] are coming from a gymnastics or circus background," Ms Rowland told us. "There's definitely stiff competition."

Bella was a ballerina for 15 years before discovering the pole. Despite pole dancing's reputation as an activity played out in smoky clubs with sticky floors, she now admires its exponents.

As do we, and not for the reasons you're thinking. They train up to 10 hours a week and do it for love, not money.

Which brings us to the case of the classy-sounding strip club Nite Moves in Albany, upstate New York, which was taken to court to contest a claim for $124,000 in unpaid back taxes.

The club argued it should be tax-exempt because the dancing it hosts is, in fact, performance art.

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