This is my second time competing in Pole Sport Organization’s Nationals competition, though the first time was in the now defunct Artistic Pro Division. The last time I placed 4th, and even within a week or two afterwards, and definitely by the time I received the video about a month later, I was wondering why I chose that music and that style. I pretty much hate that routine now! Sometimes I just get an idea in my head that I think I need to do, and it doesn’t quite work out.
I’d had this song picked out for months, but I cut out a bit at the beginning that was somewhat repetitive, and I needed to add something else in to make it a more competitive length. I loved the voicemail at the beginning of the routine that qualified me for Nationals, as did the judges, so I wanted to find something like that and I was stumped for weeks. One morning I literally woke up with Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” going through my head and I had the answer! I wish everything was that easy. As an English teacher, it particularly delights me to have a poem in my pole routine. I found a recording of Frost himself reading the poem and combined it with Tsar B’s song Swim.
I was the last performer of 16 women and 9 men, so I can’t help but feel that the judges were probably somewhat exhausted by that point. I felt pretty happy with my performance when I came off stage, though I knew it wasn’t at a high enough level to place. Yet when the placements were published the next day, I was pretty upset. I placed 10th and tied with 11th place, which was very disappointing to me. Competitions are not all about placing for me, but I always make it a personal goal to place in the top half, and this was the first competition in several years where I hadn’t, and I really questioned my abilities after that. I wondered if I was good enough to keep competing at a pro level since my strength, flexibility, and tricks ability seem to not be growing at all, at least not with the others at my level. I wondered if I had totally messed up on stage and just didn’t realize it. When I got my scoresheet, I was even more confused: one judge had placed me last, tied with 3 others according to the placements, but I had very little negative feedback. How could I score so low but not have many suggestions for improvement?
I noticed that most of the non-positive comments (since nothing was really negative) was about my emotion, character development, and facial expression, so I tried to get more into the routine 3 weeks later when I performed it again at PSO Southeast. I did get more positive feedback and placed 2nd there (though there were just 4 us!)
When I got the video I was a little terrified to watch it, but overall I’m pleased with how it went! The video is gorgeous and Alloy Images got the most beautiful pictures I’ve had from a performance yet, so I’m happy. Onwards and upwards!