Unusual You – Britney Spears

After last week’s rock routine, I wanted to do something different. I realized I hadn’t done a Britney song in a while and while this one’s a little different from most of her songs, I’ve always liked it.

I normally put together Monday night’s routine on Saturday or Sunday, but this past weekend I had workshops with Sergia Anderson on Saturday and Bendy Katie on Sunday, so I didn’t have a chance to do anything over the weekend, which left just the few hours in between work and class on Monday. Thankfully, I pulled this out in about an hour and a half and I’m not too unhappy with it! I tried to step out of my comfort zone with some more arm movement and I don’t think it was entirely successful, but it was a baby step towards trying new things.

 

Think Twice – Eve 6

I haven’t done a rock song in forever, so I figured I was due for one! As I was going through my iTunes, this song jumped out at me and I thought of some things I could do with it. The first day I worked on putting a routine together, I knew I wanted that Olga Koda-like backwards walk around the pole and the Eva Bembo-inspired shoulder knee-hook lift thing (yes, that’s the technical name). I recorded what I came up with, even though you can very obviously tell what I had practiced before and the moment when I started freestyling (the hesitance!). I kept most of it, but cleaned up the end a little. I’m amused the YouTube chose the same moment to use as the preview picture for both videos, though I’m sure there’s some algorithm that determines the times that they use.

I had two weeks off from teaching: not enough people were signed up the first week, and the second week was Labor Day, so the studio was closed. It felt so good to have class again this week! I found some new music and I’m excited to see what comes out of it in the upcoming weeks.

PSO National Pole Championship 2015 – Artistic Professional Thoughts

On August 14th, I competed in Pole Sport Organization’s National Championships in the Artistic Professional division. I qualified to compete in this competition by winning the Southeast Aerial Arts Championship way back in October 2014.  The artistic division is different from the traditional professional division in that there is an emphasis on the dramatic and emotional aspect of the performance over tricks. All components on the score sheet are 5 or 10 points except for presence, which is 25 points, so I really wanted to focus on the story and emotion in this routine. I think I ended up neglecting the technical parts of the routine because of that though. I definitely see things I would change about the choreography if I were to do this over again, but overall I was really happy with this performance. I’m frustrated about the lights coming on after I started because I really think my opening shape is pretty, and going to black too soon as well, but I held that end pose for at least twice as long as I ever did in practice! I was determined to keep holding it until the lights came up because I wanted to show it off.

The event was zippered with the Men’s Professional competition, which means that every other person who went was in the men’s division, with a separate set of judges. I really liked this because it gave the judges a few more minutes to finish their numbers and comments, and I wasn’t going directly after a competitor. I also loved having the energy of the men backstage: there were SO many different styles of dancers and they were all SO kickass! Brandon Grimm’s winning performance was stunning, and Sai’len Jaeger’s second place routine had me completely transfixed while watching from the wings (2:43 is EVERYTHING).

scoresheet

I have some thoughts about the judging that took place, but I won’t address it here (maybe in another blog post, because I have LOTS of thoughts). I didn’t think there was a clear winner in the artistic division or women’s professional division – I saw all but two of the artistic performances and all of the women’s pro the next evening – but I thought Brandon pretty clearly won the men’s. I did enjoy Maggie Ann’s winning routine, but I thought Angela Nelson’s was absolutely breathtaking. It was sointeresting to see all the different styles: no two routines were alike and everyone had such unique themes. There was a Mad Max theme, a ninja girl in a full bodysuit, a ballet/hiphop/sexy pole dancer, and lots of props. I was pretty disappointed with the turnout both nights, but especially the night I competed: we’ve had bigger audiences at my studio’s showcases. It was insulting, not only to me, but the men, who deserved a bigger audience. I can understand people not being interested in the artistic division since it was new and not as hard to place in as the women’s pro since there were fewer competitors, but the men are all AMAZING. There were around 50 people in the audience; it was a little shocking to walk out on stage and see such an empty theater (it seats close to 1500 ).

Overall, however, I enjoyed the evening and had fun on stage. I really wanted to place and trained all summer with that goal in mind, but I placed fourth. It happens. I understand the judges’ comments and wish I’d changed some of my combinations and choreography, but I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% happy with a routine. I’m not sure what my next competition will be, but I already have some ideas for music and themes, so I’m eager to start training again!