USPSF 2016 Championships Thoughts

Almost exactly one month ago, on February 26th, I competed in the United States Pole Sports Federation Women’s Professional Division. I actually started writing a post a while ago about my process preparing for this competition because it was grueling – and not just physically – but I was so busy with life that I never finished it. The rules are extremely complicated and it took me several hours just to fill out the compulsory move and technical bonus sheets. Part of the requirement is music without any lyrics, and while I liked my music well enough, I wasn’t super excited by it so I was never particularly motivated to practice. I had many required moves to include in my routine, and while some guidance is definitely extremely helpful, I felt like all I was doing was trying to fit puzzle pieces of moves together, not create a performance. This competition is PERFECT for people like former gymnasts or ice skaters who like having points assigned to particular moves though!

Just 4 weeks before the competition, I couldn’t make it past 1:30 of my 3:56 routine. I could do the first part (which was all static), take a break, and then run my spin pass, but I couldn’t put the two of them together or add the last static pass on until just 2 weeks before the competition. While I know my cardio abilities aren’t great, I’d never had this much trouble just making it through a routine! I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the performance, especially since I was almost never hitting one of my compulsory moves (I didn’t during the competition, either), and another one was happening maybe 25% of the time (I nailed that one!)

This no-handed cradle was iffy the entire time I was practicing, but I got it!

For me, the training process for this competition wasn’t as enjoyable as it has been for others. There was a LOT of studying involved, and math, and figuring out how exactly to follow all the rules, and I just really didn’t care about it that much to put forth the effort. However, I did end up winning my division! I have some thoughts about the level of competition – namely, that most of the competitors did NOT do a very good job of self-selecting their level – but I don’t want to focus on that. I had a gorgeous costume created by Carolina Elaine Grundstrum and my hair was done by one of my students at Bittersweet Studios Palm Coast: she incorporated the gold tinsel into the crown braid beautifully!

This was also the first time my mom had ever seen me pole. I’d shown her some videos of me in the past, but since my parents live in a different state, she’d never seen me pole in person before. It was so awesome having her there when I won! She didn’t have much to say about the whole experience: I think she was still processing a completely new-to-her way of thought and life, but she was definitely proud of me and appreciated the art and athleticism that pole can exemplify, particularly Dmitri Politov and Pink Puma’s stunning doubles routine.

Anyway, here’s my video! I am currently working on my routine for the Florida Pole Fitness Championship at the end of April and beginning to dream up some ideas for Pole Sport Organization‘s Southern Pole Championship in June. Always something to look forward to!

Five Years of Florida Pole Fitness Championship Submission Videos

The Florida Pole Fitness Championship was my very first competition, less than a year after my first pole class. This year will be my 5th time competing in this competition, and I thought it’d be interesting to look back at the videos I’d submitted each year to gain entry. My first one is incredibly awful, but I’m glad to see how much I’ve improved since then! It was filmed almost exactly 9 months to the day after my first pole class.

FPFC Submission Video 2012 – Amateur Division

I filmed this at a friend’s house because the studio I was attending at the time had short, semi-spinning poles that couldn’t be made static.
I put together this routine for this video (though I used the song for my first-ever performance 6 months earlier) and never did it again, which is a good thing.
Why am I smiling the entire time to such a depressing song?!
Why is this filmed vertically?
My angles are awful!
At least my chopper inverts are smooth and graceful.
Back fart!
Why did I think it was a good idea to put in back-bendy moves when my back isn’t bendy?

FPFC Submission Video 2013 – Professional Division

Aw, look how bare Bittersweet Studios was! This was filmed just two months after it opened.
Why did I just walk into the video at the beginning?
Oof, that jade split and the subsequent drop to the floor out of it were really bad.
There’s some random taking-up-time movements in there…
What was that floorwork?
That last invert was… not good.
Just hanging out in that superman, clearly waiting for the “grand finale”: a dove drop!
I choreographed this routine specifically for this submission, but then I dilly-dallied around that year and never came up with anything better, so I used a very slightly-modified version of it for the actual competition, and it was definitely one of my worst. At least I still love the music!

FPFC Submission Video 2014 – Professional Division

Huh, I’m wearing a purple top and black bottoms again.
This routine was also created specifically for this submission video, though I had used the song before for a showcase with a completely different routine. Apparently I thought this was a better routine than that one?
I wait WAY too much for musical cues to move instead of moving with and through them.
I’m facing backwards for a lot of moves.
There’s some cool stuff in there that I should probably revisit.
Ha, I remember when I was obsessed with that shoulder mount pop into split catch. I really should’ve had a better angle for that ending.

FPFC Submission Video 2015 – Professional Division

This was a run-through of my PSO SEAAC routine, and it’s not too bad!
It’s funny to see the little things that were changed between this run-through and the day of the competition.
That vertical split is still really, really, cool-looking.
Woo, appropriate eye contact for once!
I haven’t done that thread-through to brass monkey half-split move in a while: I definitely want to try that again soon.
This is one of my favorite submission videos!

FPFC Submission Video 2016 – Professional Division

Yay, my first full-length routine recorded in the new Bittersweet Studios Palm Coast!
Huh, purple again. I never thought I had that much purple, but apparently I like it.
A lot of my submission video music is slightly dark music with heavy beats and male singers, which is usually not the same kind of music I use for competitions. Interesting.
I like that first spin pass. This whole thing was mostly free-styled just for this video, and it’s fun to see what I came up with off the top of my head…
… except that downsplit move, which really should not have been done in this routine. Not looking like that, anyway.
I kind of like the obvious switch of feet on the static climb, but I needed to make it more dramatic.
That ending floor stuff is pretty bad, but oh well.

So, that was interesting. I hadn’t watched most of those videos in months or even years, and it was interesting to see how my style has changed and what has stayed the same. I definitely tend to repeat a lot of the same things, but I guess it’s because they work for me. I’d like to work on better audience engagement and more floorwork/dance moves for sure. While I like the general fluidity of my movements, I’m kind of bored and I want to have more little, surprising moments throughout my routines. Lots of stuff to think about as I work on my routine for this year’s Florida Pole Fitness Championships!