Thoughts of pole dancing often invites images of scantily clad women and ogling men at strip clubs. Not for Netherlands-based photographer Bart Erkamp. After Erkamp started dating a woman involved in competitive pole dancing, he was astonished by the power and agility of the athletes in the sport. He was so entranced that he even began to see it akin to artistic gymnastics, right alongside other Olympic sports. Soon, he began taking a series of photos of local pole dancing athletes to showcase their amazing talent to the world. Erkamp wanted to highlight how pole dancing is anything but a pastime for places of ill repute.

(via Feature Shoot)

The sport grows by leaps and bounds each year, from male to female, old to young. By showcasing his work, Erkamp and the International Pole Sports Federation hope to raise awareness and change minds across the globe. They hope to even have it included as an official sport in the Olympics. Should that happen, we”re all bound to be just as amazed as Erkamp was the first time he saw these people in action.