Amputee pole dancing world champion launches men’s class at London Dance Academy in Islington

Andrew at the world championships. Picture: @knockingbirdcreative

Andrew at the world championships. Picture: @knockingbirdcreative - Credit: Archant

An amputee world champion athlete has launched a pole dancing class for men in Finsbury.

Andrew on the pole. Picture: @elimoraphoto

Andrew on the pole. Picture: @elimoraphoto - Credit: Archant

Andrew Gregory runs his Pole Lads class at the London Dance Academy in Central Street

Andrew got into pole dancing after losing his left leg below the knee following a tragic motorcycle accident.

He recently won championships in Holland and Canada and was also named the International Pole Sports Federation's male athlete of the year for 2019.

Speaking about the start of his journey, Andrew said: "'My world was getting smaller, it's not been an easy ride.

"After my operation, I started looking for fitness classes and found a pole teacher who only had one arm. I thought if she could do it, so could I.

"I went back to pole even before the stitches came out from one of my operations.

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"It's been a journey on how to use my body again. I came in with no particular plan, now I'm leading a class of 12 people."

Andrew said that he focused more on pole "sport" rather than pole "dance", reducing the stigma associated with pole.

"When you mention pole, people think strippers but that's not right," he said. "It's a piece of equipment which has multiple uses. Pole takes a lot of strength, it's a great way to get fit and burn calories. There's a cardio element as well."

Regardless of the rise of men's pole sports, Andrew mentioned that many of his students were shy of having their pictures taken in the class because they didn't want to publicly associate with pole since it is a sport dominated by females.

There are fewer men in their 20s who are part of the class with men in their 30s being the largest group. One of the students who regularly takes the class said: "I was so nervous going to my first pole class.

"I was expecting a room full of super fit people and I would be the odd new boy in class. Instead, I met some wonderful, welcoming people of all shapes and sizes."

Andrew is currently working with the Alternate Limb Project to make a prosthetic limb specific for pole.

"I still can't grip the pole with my left leg so it's going to be a real journey of discovery for both of us," he said.