To watch Daniela, perform is truly amazing. Pole dancing is not an easy sport. You must use all your strength, engage muscles you never thought you had and grip with your skin to stick to the pole.
But Daniela Pecinova, an amputee and Paralympian, looks effortless on the pole - and does it all only with one leg.
Performing in the uniform of pole dancers – a midriff-revealing top and tiny shorts, body confidence seems to be no issue for Daniela, who embraces her body as it is.
"You need to accept it and take the handicap as a part of you, your personality," she explains.
Listen to Daniela Pecinova's full interview with SBS Czech, below:
The worst attitude, according to Daniela, would be to sit at home in self-pity. "What's more important, is to start doing something. No matter what."
And apparently, it is not as hard as it may seem. Daniela believes that nowadays there are many possibilities for handicapped people, barriers are being taken down and the world is becoming more accessible.
“It is also great to get involved in the community of people with handicap. I met so many interesting people. Many say that the handicap in the end enriched their life. Many of them were actually pretty passive before the accident,” said Daniela.
It all started as a hobby three and half years ago, in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
“I first went to a class with my friend just to accompany her,” recalls the 24-year-old dancer.
The friend, who is a teacher offered to give Daniela the opportunity to try dancing and so she did - and has been dancing ever since.
As she was gaining strength, her confidence was also rising. She now trains every day and works at the studio as well.
At the beginning she didn´t even think about performing publicly. She says, “To do pole dance you need to be sort of an exhibitionist, but to do it with a handicap that is even more so.”
Daniela says that she never thought she was like that. But the reactions to her first show were overwhelming.
Since her first dance performance, where Daniela gained applause from the audience, she has inspired many people.
"People were saying, how inspiring it was for them to see me dance and that it made their problems seem smaller," says Daniela.
So, when pole dance championships in Czech Republic opened also a category of Para Pole, she competed, won and soon repeated her success at the world championships.
“The hardest for me is the floor work, so basically the stuff off the pole” Daniela said. “But my trainer, Zuzana Kellner, is a great choreographer and manages to find tricks that work for me.”
At the moment Para Pole is a very new sport, only starting to enter the competition world with more competitions every year and more athletes starting to compete. Would Daniela consider competing at the Olympics, as Pole dance may become an official sport in the future? “I am not sure, I have never been really ambitious in this sport, I would need to reconsider that,” concluded Daniela.
Olympics or not, pole dancing changed her life and now through pole Daniela inspires others too.
You can watch Daniela´s winning performance here: