PSO National Pole Championships 2017

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.USNPC17-beginning

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.

USNPC17-reverse hold

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?

USNPC scores

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!