The Champion Pole Dancer With Only One Arm | BORN DIFFERENT

DEB ROACH: Being on the stage is electric.
I love it. I feel more alive in those 3-5 minutes than I do at any other time. DEB ROACH: I am a woman doing something taboo
and reclaiming my body for me in a safe environment, where I am not told that the fact that I am
pursuing my own sexuality means that I am lewd, crude or a slut. And I think that that’s
a really positive thing. COMM: Putting a positive spin on life, pole
champion, dancer and acrobat, Deb Roach was born without her left arm – but as you can
see that’s not held her back. DEB ROACH: I definitely wanted to have a go,
as a kid I loved music, I loved dancing. But at school kids were given the option to pick
people to join their teams. I was always the last picked, wasn’t particularly great at
ball catch or ball throw. Accessibility, inclusion and integration weren’t of strong focus
of the schooling system in Sydney, Australia in the 80s and 90s. I focused really on my
academic and my cerebral pursuits and got very trapped in my head from my teenage years.
It wasn’t until my early 20s when I was working and a couple of my colleagues started
to, you know, they were going to the gym at lunch or going for a run and they encouraged
me to participate. I very quickly became very addicted and I tried everything; I tried Kung
Fu, I tried Yoga, I tried Pilates. I just wanted to give everything a go and I started
to feel really strong, really healthy. I was stage dancing and DJ’ing at a nightclub
event when I saw this double pole act. They blew my mind and when we were back-stage and
I said, ‘You lucky girls, with your two arms and your fancy pole dancing, that was
insanely good.’ And they said, ‘Have you given it a try?’ And I am like, ‘Why would
a girl with one arm try and do what you guys are doing up there?’ And they challenged
me and they said, ‘Why not?’ It was a pretty good question. I was in the studio
the next Monday and never looked back. DEB ROACH: Pole dancers as a community are
really supportive and encouraging and welcoming. Things like climbing the pole took me a lot
longer because my teachers had always trained with two arms. It was still a pretty new sport
back then. COMM: Deb learnt a number of adaptations,
taking traditional pole moves and making them her own. Clearly showing talent for pole,
Deb quit her job and entered the fitness world full-time. She started winning local pole
competitions but there were bigger triumphs to come. DEB ROACH: November 2011, my phone rings and
a lady called Natalie Tikhonova introduces herself as one of the people working behind
the scenes for the International Pole Championships in Hong Kong in March. They said they had
a disabled division. I ended up going there, then I won. That’s when my mind was absolutely
blown. There was international coverage on a number of different platforms and recognition
that I had never dreamed of. I started receiving invitations to come and perform abroad. COMM: Deb now travels all over the world to
perform and to teach pole, including today at the London Dance Academy. DEB ROACH: I have taught women who were grandmothers. I have taught lawyers and doctors, uni-students, mechanics. DEB ROACH: Another thing I love most about
pole dancing is actually in teaching. It’s about seeing people who came in with fear
that they weren’t strong enough, the change in them. I don’t see pole as just a sport
or a hobby. I see it as a vehicle for personal growth and transformation. SHIVA MANOHARAN: So, basically I have learnt
how to do the inverts and the crucifix as well. It’s also something that I really
struggle with. I am just a beginner. So, it’s really, really hard for me to, sort of, do
all of these tricks and stuff like that. And she was really encouraging today. So, and
the fact that I was able to pull through some of her moves, was just really great, yeah. EMMA SYKES: I’ve never heard of her but
kudos because I can barely do it with two arms. So, the fact that she is doing it with
one arm is really, really impressive. DEB ROACH: There are definitely some shocked
reactions, students that can’t believe that they are in a room with a one-arm pole instructor. There is also this beautiful thing that happens with the student-teacher relationship. I get
loads of students every class I teach is that they forget to use both arms. I am like, ‘Both
hands. Both hands.’ And they will still be there just with the one hand going because
they are mimicking their instructor. So, that’s very cute. There are still people out there
that believe it only exists in a strip club. But there are ignorant people all over the
world. DEB ROACH: That’s not really my problem.
If they want to look at me and think, ‘Oh, she is a pole dancer that means she is a stripper,’
more is the pity because they don’t get me.

100 Replies to “The Champion Pole Dancer With Only One Arm | BORN DIFFERENT”

  1. Those girls that told her to try pole dancing deserve to be rewarded something HUGE because they changed her life.

  2. Wonderful! Really made me smile- feeling encourage to try something new! 🙂 Thanks and I thank the Lord for people like yourself who can make this type of impact on others… all others! 🙂 x

  3. She truly proves that the only thing holding you back from doing anything is yourself. If you put your mind to whatever you want to do, there is nothing you can not accomplish.

  4. She is so strong and beautiful but…….. her acrylic nails were so pretty but did she have to pay full price?( just a question not trying to be rude

  5. Damn she has to have hella upper body strength. Pole dancing is always hard as hell with two arms, but with one. She gets all my props for that! This is inspiring

  6. I go to her yoga and palates classes at fitness first in Sydney. She is the best teacher I ever have. Gorgeous voice and explain things very well. I see her as a genius.

  7. She is so talented because I cant even get on a pole and stay on there for about 30 seconds and if I am on the pole for that long then I still can’t move any body part without falling

  8. I love pole. I have fragile bones and ended up with stress fractures in my arms and had to stop. So upsetting, I loved it so much.

  9. It is kind of funny….we are all missing a part or two. Let’s realize that….
    I am missing all kinds of marbles….

  10. 00:43 only to see this exercise i feel pain because i fear that skin can dont flowing for friction…auch :)))However… really compliment to this marvelous and strong girls !!!!

  11. Any else think a prosthetic with LED's would be cool as hell for her shows? She's definatly got the skills to make it look absolutely amazing.

  12. Me to girl I do not have my left hand I was born with out it the doctors said to my mom that I would not be able to do any thing but they were rong me and you can do any we are strong

  13. God, I would love to do this. Just to feel strong, weightless. Right now I'm so sick that just sitting up in bed is hard. Maybe someday…

  14. Wow you're awesome , the next time I'm in class and I feel as though I can't do the move I will think of you . Thank you and keep up the good work 👏👏👏💜💜

  15. 3:03 look at her /his tail it's all bobble like a man it's a will you can clearly see that it is

  16. She's inspiring but a bit condescending towards the end…there is nothing "wrong" with being a stripper. One moment she says, "she can pursue her sexuality" and so…is she the only woman "allowed" to do that?? A bit condescending

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