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Brooklyn woman crowned US national pole dancing champ

She’s a pole in one!

A Brooklyn-based artist and dance instructor is the nation’s newest pole dancing champion.

Donna Carnow, 28, took the top prize at the 2022 US National Pole Art Champion in Orlando, Fla., this month, earning a gold medal, a trophy and $1,000 prize.

“Still in shock, my heart is still exploding,” Carnow said in a triumphant Aug. 14 Instagram post. “I truly feel like the luckiest person in the world.”

To capture the top prize during the Aug 13 competition — sponsored by The Pole Sport Organization — Carnow bested 11 other finalists who came from an original pool of hundreds of competitors at regional events throughout the country.

Her winning routine featured an expressive Carnow as a marionette, breaking free of her strings while performing a dizzying array of complicated pole maneuvers. Video of the event shows she was frequently interrupted by audience applause.

Donna Carnow first started pole dancing nine years ago, while a college student.

“I was inspired by this image of a marionette and this idea of learning how to use the body and setting yourself free. That’s where the entry point for this narrative came from,” she said.

Carnow, who lives in Williamsburg, began her career in pole dancing nine years ago while a college student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Carnow beat 11 other finalists to take home the top prize.
Carnow beat 11 other finalists to take home the top prize.

“I loved it even though I was not very good, but I kept working at it. It started off as a hobby but it ended up changing the entire trajectory of my life,” she told The Post. “It’s single-handedly the most powerful thing that I have been able to be a part of.”

She spends six to 10 hours a day on the pole as a professional dancer and instructor at Body & Pole in Chelsea, she said. Carnow also performs at Big Apple venues like The Box, The Slipper Room, DROM, House of Yes and 74Wythe.

When she starred in the off-broadway production Seven Deadly Sins last year, Post columnist Cindy Adams remarked that Carnow’s pole routine was “so expressive she could end up with conditions only a gynecologist can cure.”

She’s found great kinship in the pole community, Carnow said.

“There are such a range of people who are so passionate about this form. It’s really fun where everyone can come together,” she said.

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