Pole dancing used as therapy

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Dancers of the Moulin Rouge after a performance on 1 October 2014 at the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris.

CARACAS -  Pole dancing, for a group of Venezuelan women, has taken on an important role not only as personal therapy but also a way to break down several social prejudices in one slender swoop.

The women all hold a physical disability and form part of the Fundavida Venezuela Foundation, which works to encourage individuals with diverse disabilities and cancer survivors to practice sports.

One of the dancers is thirty-year-old dentist Carmen Hurtado, who had her left leg amputated when she was four years old due to problems in her tibia.

Hurtado is keen to demonstrate that these women&39;s physical differences do not hold them back from what they set their sights on.

"We show to ourselves that we can and we show to the world that we can do many more things, that we can do many things, that we are capable, that we have only one disability in particular, and only one difference in terms of how we function compared to the rest of the world," Hurtado told Reuters.

Simultaneously, these women have brought pole dancing out of the stigmatised shadows of the cabaret, hoping to share with others the physical and psychological benefits the activity has provided them.

"When pole dancing, one disconnects from the real world, from the world we live in, from the day to day, one disconnects totally, it is a form of therapy definitely," said cancer survivor and the foundation&39;s director, Zamira Blanco.

Training alongside Blanco is forty-nine-year-old Elizabeth Galea, who lost her left leg in a car accident when she was nineteen, but who despite this, lives for sport.

"Sport is a very important, almost fundamental part of everything that I do, this is my life. It is not part of my life, my life is sport," said Galea, who for the first time this year will represent Venezuela in the South American Body-Building competition, in the Body Fitness category.