At a festival dedicated to contemporary underground music and art, in between the sets of two of the high profile headliners, a pole dancer makes her way to the stage for a performance that has everyone in the audience perplexed, if not aroused. With elegant tenacity, she whips her lean body around the pole and then inverts her thighs around the top, hanging upside down as if she is intent on yanking the pole from its base with just her legs. Fifteen minutes come and go too soon, leaving the males in the front row with their jaws on the floor. Determined to uncover the background of this unique showcase, I rush backstage to speak with the mysterious pole dancing siren.
I’m here with Zoraya Judd, the best pole dancer in the world and also the most beautiful woman in the world. What truth can you speak about that?
I went to Tokyo for the international pole art championships and I won the pole art champion.
When was that?
Just this year. Actually, December 2010 for the 2011 title.
Awesome. How long have you been dancing?
A little over two years now.
That’s very impressive. What area are you from?
Really? What else do you do for a living?
I am a mother of two and I basically just pole dance. My husband is my manager.
Were you born in Utah?
I claim to have been, but I was born in Porte Rico and raised in Utah.
Can I ask what your beautiful ethnicity is?
Half Swedish half Argentine.
Did you just arrive at Lightning in a Bottle?
We got here yesterday afternoon, then left, then came back today and made it more about the kids.
You just gave a inspiring 15 minute pole dance performance. Was that the first of this weekend?
I did a performance at the same stage yesterday at about 7 PM.
Sorry I missed that. What has been the lightning of this weekend for you?
The environment. Everyone is so free spirited and creative. It’s awesome.
Have you gotten a lot of invitations since winning the 2011 pole art championship?
Yeah, we travel about four times a month for performances.
What other places have you performed at?
In Florida, all parts of California, we’ve gone to Mexico City, Switzerland and Tokyo a few times. The upcoming ones include the Sydney Opera House in Australia and traveling all over South America.
Wow. What has been your favorite place to perform?
My favorite trip has been Mexico City, which we just got back from. Also, going all over the UK.
Now, are those pole dance oriented tours or music and art festivals as well?
It’s all pole dancing. I would do workshops and performances.
You do workshops where you teach people to do what you do?
Yeah, I teach pole dancing all over the world.
You better watch out or one of your students may just steal that title from you.
Haha! I’m not worried.
What other workshops do you do?
My husband and I teach pole studio instructors how to spot and the importance of warm up/cool down as well as nutrition and stuff like that.
Where is your husband right now?
He’s taking down my pole.
So he is your husband, manager, and assistant. You brought that pole here? Is it collapsible?
Yeah. We have that one with us at all times, then we have one here in California and then we have a bunch of portable ones at home.
Is there a noticeable difference between different pole materials?
Absolutely. I only work on X-poles. It’s a specific brand that is made for sport. That way someone as large as my husband can be on it, beat it up, and it won’t break. I don’t know what it’s made of, though.
Where is the X-pole company based?
They are all over, but there is one based here in LA. The guy who invented them, he is in the UK.
How did you first get into pole dancing?
I first got into this to lose the baby weight. A guy at my gym invited me to the class and when I went I was the only female in an all man class.
An all male pole dancing class? In Utah?
Yeah! It was pole fitness type stuff. A lot of hardcore holds and stuff.
How old are your children?
4 and 5. Noah and Israel.
Adorable. Where can people see you perform?
It’s never at one place. If you go to my facebook page, Zoraya Judd, you can find updates of my next classes and tours.
I have one in Australia at the Opera House, in Florida at the Pole Convention, Montreal in Canada, then back to Australia again.
Sadly no upcoming local shows, but everyone should follow your facebook to see where you will perform next, just like I plan to.