Pole Theatre USA 2015

It’s been over a month since Pole Theatre USA and I’ve had this draft sitting in my queue for weeks: time to get it written!

All the way up until I actually got there, I still couldn’t believe I’d been chosen to compete from all the submissions! My husband I flew in on Thursday night and rented a car so we could explore Denver on Friday. We went to Red Rocks and walked around for a bit, feeling out how the higher altitude would affect us (mostly me, for competing the next day). Thankfully, I didn’t feel any effects!

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After a little hike around, we went to the Denver Aquarium, where I got to pet stingrays! I absolutely love those guys and was so happy when we got through the whole aquarium and I realized they had a stingray petting pool! There’s one at the Jacksonville Zoo, but it’s been several years since I was there.

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My husband had to drag me away from petting them since we had made plans to meet up with two of my friends from high school who both now live in Denver, which is crazy because we all grew up in Ohio. It so nice catching up with them after at least 6 years: I went to college with one of them, but I don’t think I’d seen the other since high school 10 years ago!

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Senior prom with our dates
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Ten years later and 1200 miles away from that park

After catching up for a while, Justin and I headed back to the hotel to get ready for the amateur division, which was super fun to watch. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a competition or pole show where I was just in the audience! I particularly loved Harper’s Pole Art routine and Laina’s Pole Drama routine with ice skates! Apparently I would make a horrible judge because I chose different winners for every category except Pole Art, and I thought Harper should have won overall. The way the Pole Classique judging went did not bode well for my performance the next night, but at that point, there was nothing I could do. I did end up matching Nadia Sharif, which was fun!

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I also had a huge confidence boost when Adrienne, a follower of this blog, came up to me afterwards and introduced herself to me. It’s so funny, because I’m SO starstruck around polers I idolize, like Maddie Sparkle, Marlo Fisken, and Cleo the Hurricane, and I never thought anyone could feel the same about me! It was pretty awesome and felt great to have someone else in the audience cheering me on besides my husband. Thanks for saying hi, Adrienne!

The next day I took a workshop with Maddie Sparkle. Probably not the wisest choice to make the day of a competition, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to take the opportunity to learn from one of my favorite polers of all time who lives across the world from me! It was mind-boggling just being in the same room as her after seeing so many pictures and videos of her on Instagram and Facebook. She’s so tiny in real life! Of course, I had to get a bum picture with her.

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I hurried back to the hotel from the workshop, finished sewing my costume (yep, I didn’t sew down the straps until the day of!), got about halfway ready with makeup and hair, and headed to the theatre so I could run my routine on the stage. I ended up sharing some of the stage with Steven as we were marking out our floor parts. I feel like a lot of people see him in a particular light because of his performances, but he really is one of the nicest polers I’ve ever been backstage with.

Speaking of being backstage… it was crazy back there! We had a separate room outside the back of the theatre, but we were all pretty cramped in there and it was hilarious to see all the costumes, props, and makeup strewn everywhere. People were nervous and chattering, or nervous and silent, but the atmosphere was supportive and encouraging, with everyone yelling good luck as the performers were called in.

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Here’s a group shot to break up all of this writing

 

Pole Classique was the last division to go, which was actually incredibly nice. The four of us were the only ones in the room, which was suddenly quiet. We all had space to stretch and talk quietly with each other. I’d only met Steven once before when he judged my very first competition ever, and Dakota last fall when she judged my PSO competition. I got to know them a bit and meet Dalijah, and everyone was just so nice. I really enjoyed spending those few minutes with my other competitors.

Finally it was my time to go. I was pretty nervous, but excited to perform. Everything went well EXCEPT I turned the wrong way coming down from the spin pole and didn’t realize until I did a forward roll off and realized I was heading straight for the trussing! It ended up not looking horrible, but it’s frustrating knowing that the whole sequence could have been better if I’d just turned another 180 degrees.

Overall, it was a very fun experience. Now I understand a little more of what the judges were looking for, which is NOT what I performed, but that’s ok. I learned a lot about different styles and stage presence, and I’m going to try to put some of that knowledge in my next routine. I’m so thankful to Nina Reed for putting the whole show together, organizing it well, recording us, and taking photos! I’ll end with one of my favorite poses, but I had to edit it since my top got caught on my hand and pulled down – yay for pasties!

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Light a Fire – Rachel Taylor

I’m constantly looking for new music. I need music for different competitions and performances that isn’t super popular because the worst is performing or competing and hearing someone else use “your” song! One year for the Florida Pole Fitness Championship I used Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and the judges all made very clear that it was not a good song choice since it was SO popular. Ever since then, I’ve worked hard to try to find music that a) isn’t popular in the general public, and b) isn’t popular in the pole world. Those two areas don’t always overlap, so even when I find a song that I love that I know isn’t on the radio, I often stumble across it while watching performance videos on YouTube. Even for the Southeast Aerial Arts Championship, I thought the song I was using was totally unique, but right before the competition I was running through it with Shaina Cruea, and she said someone else had used it! It wasn’t a huge deal, just a little thing that I thought I was the only one.

I just recently went through the song selection process for Pole Sport Organization’s Nationals competition in August, and it was way more stressful than I thought it would be! Thankfully, I think I found a fantastic unknown song (it has fewer than 300,000 views on YouTube) and I’m excited to choreograph it. While I was looking for Nationals, I found this song, and while it wasn’t quite right for that competition, I thought it was beautiful and definitely wanted to do something for Poleography class. This is what I came up with: not super amazing, but I’m pretty pleased with it, and everyone danced so beautifully!

Down With the Sickness – Disturbed

I didn’t realize I’d already done this song not once, but twice before until I was teaching it in class. Oops! Oh well, it’s funny to see how I come up with totally different choreography to the same song. I had fun with this one, and I liked having another chance to freestyle at the end to a super hard-hitting sexy rock song. Since the silks class that normally happens at the same time was cancelled and there were just a few of us, I turned off all of the lights except the cool ones and it made the atmosphere just that more awesome to dance in. Yay for pole dancing!

Sand – Nathan Lanier (2nd version)

I’ve already done this song, but I wanted to revisit it because it’s just so awesome! I was super bored by my original beginning so I changed it up and added a little more to the end just to try to keep this style going since I have a harder time with this type of dance than others. Since I knew which students would be in my class ahead of time, I added a few pole moves into the choreography to challenge the intermediate polers a bit. :)

I broke one of my contacts a few weeks ago and since I wear rigid gas permeable contacts, it’s taken a while for them to come in. It’s been frustrating to have to wear my glasses all the time, but hopefully the end is in sight (literally)!