By Kristiana Hall and Rochelle Hughes
Meet the Pole on a pole – a 28-year-old who fled his native Poland over the fear of homophobic attacks and now teaches pole-dancing to dozens of men.
Instructor Damian Kutryb started pole dancing in 2013 after a female friend invited him to join her at her fitness class and he instantly became addicted to the sport.
Since then, Damian has opened his own pole-dancing studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter with partner Artur – where the pair even run classes for 15 regular male attendees.
Damian, who lives in Manchester, wants to bust myths around the sport and said men shouldn’t be embarrassed about wanting to take part.
He said: “In Poland, homosexuality is not accepted. I had to have two faces, one for my family and friends who know who I am and one to hide that I’m gay.
“People could tell I was gay and would verbally attack me, especially at school.
“They would swear at me and call me a f***ing c***. My friends were physically attacked and I was scared the same would happen to me.
“Pole dancing is not just for girls, it’s for men who want to build a great body.
“It doesn’t have to be girly and sexual, it can be masculine and strength building.
“I’m proud to say I helped start the male pole dancing trend in the UK – now I have straight men in my classes who use it for fitness.
“Pole is a full body workout and men appreciate how much work it takes to move on the poles.
“With the male lessons it’s all about strength and core rather than slow sensual moves like the females.
“The pole builds confidence regardless of gender, so it would be great to get more men interested in pole dancing.”
Together, Damian and Artur cover a range of dance genres as well as pole – including street dance, ballet, salsa and aerial.
The pole dancing classes include learning acrobatic moves and how to grip, twist and hang from the pole.
Damian said pole dancing is an especially good full body workout for men because it involves strengthening your core muscles.
His studio also teaches pole fitness for children, but without sexy moves and involving gymnastics and acrobatics.
And the pole fanatic even said he has previously turned down Britain’s Got Talent because he wants to show that he can do it on his own.
Damian said: “The second I touched the pole I fell in love. I’m so glad that I went to that first class, because it changed my life.
“After a year of training I took part in my first public performance and from then on it snowballed.
“Everyone asked how I’d learnt how to dance and wanted to learn, so I decided to open my own studio in 2014.
“Six years ago it was just me, one man and his pole in Manchester and I’ve built my studio up from then.
“We added aerial after The Greatest Showman was released, everyone went crazy to learn about it. A lot of men have tried this too.
“I have built my name and my reputation without a TV show and I’m not going to go on a TV talent show. I’ve heard what goes on behind the scenes and I don’t want that.
“The studio is like a family, we all get on. We train together and go out together it’s great. We cheer each other on and build each other up.”