Drum roll, please! The finals of the first annual US Pole Dance Championship were held yesterday at the Bleecker Street theater, where eleven female dancers competed for the coveted top crown. (It seems that not one man was able to shatter the glass heel ceiling to make the finals.) According to Time Out, there were originally 12 women chosen from more than 100 video submissions, but finalist Michula Renee Nunez of California tragically dislocated her elbow while rehearsing.

The winner, who will proudly represent the United States at the elite Miss Pole Dance Australia 2009 competition, was Jenyne Butterfly (pictured), a petite blond who's a three-time winner at the annual Pole-a-palooza in Las Vegas. Besides the Australia trip, Butterfly receives another trip to Jamaica to participate in the World Pole and Fitness Championship, and will appear on the cover of next month's Pole2Pole Magazine, to which she's also been given a three month subscription!

As you may have noticed, there appears to be a growing subculture of people who take pole dancing very seriously as an acrobatic art form, and according to Sports Illustrated, many of the dancers repeatedly emphasized that pole dancing is not stripping. Truth! The dress code from the USPDF rulebook states, "No nudity, no G-strings or thongs. Violation of this requirement leads to immediate disqualification." The Village Voice also has a report on the competition, which begs the question: Why weren't we assigned to cover this? Anyway, the video below, depicting Butterfly's breathtaking work at a previous competition, is probably not safe for work, unless your boss is Dov Charney (in which case he's probably already made you watch it).