Studios & Instructors Pole Journeys

Limitless: Interview with Kaylinn Bezenar

Nov 01, 2022

By Sara Schreiber

For Kaylinn Bezenar, pole dance is the ultimate creative expression and the ultimate challenge to herself. After thirty competitions and performances, Kaylinn has certainly earned her place in the Professional category of competitions. Taking home the gold from MNPC in September was validating for her because her approach to her routines is unique and for a long time, she felt like judges just didn’t get her.

Her routine at MNPC was the same piece she did at PSO Nationals in August. Rather than starting her process with a character or a theme, Kaylinn had a single goal. “I wanted it to be visually interesting to watch because they [the audience] didn’t know what to expect,” says Kaylinn. “I wanted to have every move I did be a surprise or be sneaky. I just wanted it to be very unexpected.” For her, pole competitions are about bringing new things to the stage and for giving the audience a new experience. When she attended POSA World Championships in 2021, she found herself losing the thrill of watching competitors when everyone was doing the same trick. “Don’t get me wrong,” she says, “it’s still impressive, but if everybody here can do it, what are we competing at?” For Kaylinn, the excitement of competitions is in seeing something new. “It doesn’t even matter what level you’re looking at, but if you’re watching somebody and all of the sudden they do something you’ve never seen before, that’s what gets me going. That’s what gets me excited.”

Black background, Kaylinn is lit blue and one leg is bent up behind the pole, the other angled straight down to the pole in front and held by her right hand, her left arm extended behind the pole.

Early on in her pole career she struggled with getting judges to understand her performances. A routine for a pole competition generally has expectations for a certain number of strength moves and flexibility moves and Kaylinn ran into problems with staying true to herself while still delivering on judge expectations. “A lot of times when I do things on stage that aren’t traditional strength moves or traditional flexi moves, I felt like sometimes I got watered down a little bit because the judges didn’t understand exactly what the move entailed because they had never actually tried it,” Kaylinn says. At times, she thought she should just “put an Iron X in” or whatever the traditional strength/flexibility move at the time was, but instead, she kept to her vision. “I’m glad I didn’t fall into that trap because now it’s working out for me. For a while, it wasn’t. For a while…a lot of it [judge feedback] would be like, ‘You didn’t put in a strength move,’ or ‘You didn’t put in this,’ and I would look at my routine and be like, ‘What are you talking about? It’s right there.’”

In the same way that she refused to be limited by tradition, Kaylinn hasn’t let anyone tell her that she is limiting herself just because she won’t do things the “normal” way. “Back in the day,” she says, “we were doing a combo where you had to Shoulder Mount into Brass Monkey and I was sitting into my Brass Monkey instead…and this guest instructor told me that I was limiting myself as a dancer.” Kaylinn doesn’t see it that way at all. “Because I don’t Shoulder Mount, I’ve had to find different ways to get into the tricks I want to do….I think knowing what your limitations are and not being stressed about it and just using that as a way to find new and interesting workarounds is a really cool thing you can do with pole that you can’t do with some other sports.” When she first started pole, she remembers thinking that Ayesha was the peak of pole moves, but now, her ideas have changed. “With Instagram and more people getting into it, I personally haven’t found any limit…That’s why I did the routine I did. Some people said what they’ve taken away from it is, ‘I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to do the standard competition moves.’”

Kaylinn in an angular pose on the pole, one leg straight and the other bent over her head and held by one hand while the other hand is along the pole.

What hooked Kaylinn on poling in the first place was the pride and happiness that came with finally getting a trick and this blossomed into her creativity with moves. “I’m very much like a magpie,” Kaylinn says. “I like to collect things, so collecting a repertoire of what my body can do because I’ve put in the work is really satisfying to me.” She considers herself lucky to be at a studio with Schannon Hester, an instructor who encourages Kaylinn’s creativity when it comes to pole. When Kaylinn suggests new ideas for how to approach a move, Schannon is happy to indulge her. Kaylinn says, “I think the comradery of just coming together and creating things is very neat.”

These days, Kaylinn has a particular trick in her head that she is convinced can work, but she hasn’t seen anyone do it yet. “I have this vision of being at the top of the pole in your Iron X,” says Kaylinn, “and then letting go of that top hand and holding your plank and dropping it to land in another Iron X but facing the opposite way. I’m pretty sure it’s possible….I told Schannon, in like the next two years, that’s what I want.” As a tall poler, she knows that moves away from the pole are harder for her, but, as is her stance on everything in pole, she says, “I believe it’s absolutely doable.”

Kaylinn inverted and doing splits along the pole, holding her back leg and facing up on a red backdrop.

Despite roadblocks to training her routine for MNPC and PSO Nationals, Kaylinn is fairly happy with how it turned out. She set the routine up as a challenge to herself to create something that people don’t see on the stage all the time. “You shouldn’t be afraid of doing something different,” she says. Even though the routine fell a little short of her own expectations in terms of the choreography, she was proud of what she put on stage and the gold medal felt like a victory for her style of dance. “It’s validating to place with a routine that maybe isn’t on the standard side of things,” Kaylinn says. “That was what I set out for and it resonated in a way that I couldn’t believe it would resonate.”


Kaylinn Bezenar is heading to the Arnold Pole Championship Series thanks to her 1st place win in the MNPC Professional category. You can follow her journey on her Instagram @kbezenar