Dancers competed in the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017. Combining dance and acrobatics, pole dancing, originally entertainment in strip clubs, soon became mainstream as a form of exercise and expression. Competitions are now held in countries throughout the world, and pole dancing has a participant level estimated at over 30,000 in the US.
An anklet decorated with bells jingles as Priyanka Jayanti, a dancer with the Laurel-based Jayamangala School of Dance, stamps her bare feet. The jingling grows louder as Jayanti, 20, quickly leaps toward her fellow dancers, sweeping her arms into the air and extending her fingers toward the ceiling. Jayanti is rehearsing “Prayer to the Sun God,” one of the dances she and nine other Jayamangala dancers will perform Saturday at the Atlas Intersections Festival, an annual arts festival in Washington, D.C., with more than 100 performing groups.