Damian Kutryb came to Manchester to escape homophobia now he runs inclusive pole dancing classes for people of all sizes, genders and sexualities.
After years of living in fear of homophobic attacks, Damian Kutryb made the decision to leave Poland in 2010. The 28-year-old said he picked the cheapest destination and found himself in Manchester with no English.
Fast forward nine years and he’s the only male Polish pole dancer in Manchester, teaching pole dancing classes at his own studio, Gay Friendly Fitness Damian Dance Studio.
But many know him as Mr Unicorn, the star of a viral video that saw him effortlessly riding an inflatable unicorn around a pole.
“Everyone laughs when I say I’m a Pole on a pole, but it’s what I am!
“I have a better life in England, I’m accepted. They’re 20 years behind in Poland, if you’re gay it’s hard to be free, you can’t be yourself. I wouldn’t want to go out at night or to clubs because I was worried me or my friends would be attacked. Even walking around with dyed hair is dangerous.
“About two years after I arrived in Manchester a friend invited me a pole class and I fell in love with it. I started taking classes, then I started performing in clubs and people would come up to me after and ask if I gave lessons, which gave me the idea to open my own studio.
“I started with one room in the Northern Quarter, now I have my own studio with eight other instructors where we offer a range of classes that are open to everyone.”
Damian runs GFFDamian Dance Studio with fiancé and fellow dancer Biernat. The two met via Facebook and after spending a weekend together in Manchester, Artur packed up his life in Poland and moved to the city to be with Damian. The two work together at the studio where Artur teaches lessons in street dance, ballet and salsa while Damian handles the Pole classes.
“I wanted to get people from all communities in and show that pole is for everyone, all genders, all sexualities, all sizes, we don’t disqualify anyone.
“People get the wrong idea about the classes and think we are teaching people to be strippers. But the classes that we run are not sexual, it is about fitness.”
“It’s the best fitness activity out there – it combines acrobatics, strength and fitness and really helps keep you fit.
“Don’t be scared, come and give it a go! It’s an adventure and much more interesting than going to the gym. If you smile and have a laugh it’s 100 per cent more fun.”
Damian holds group pole dancing classes at his studio, GFFDamian Dance Studio, which is based in Parkers Hotel in Corporation Street. Classes are priced at £10 for an hour-long session and are available from Fever. For more information click here.
Also published on Medium.