A student recommended this song to me, and I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it ended up being perfect for a nice simple and slow routine so that we could focus on being controlled and clean. As always, though, even though I thought it was a simple routine – all very basic pole moves, with a few exceptions – I still had students struggle with some of the choreography. One even dropped out before filming the video because she was struggling with it. I tend to get frustrated when this happens instead of taking a step back and realizing I need to go back and teach some of the basics again, and not just move on to harder moves because it’s been years since we did the basics. We don’t spend a lot of time on beginner spins in class unless they’re in a routine, so sometimes I just assume everyone remembers how to do them and throw them in. I also do the choreography many times before teaching it, so I forget how it might be harder the first few times going through it. Definitely a lot of lessons for me to learn as a teacher!
From the moment I saw Pole Theatre USA announced, I knew I had to submit. It’s a competition that originated in Australia and was founded by sisters Maddie Sparkle and Michelle Shimmy. Since it’s first event in Sydney, there is now Pole Theatre Ireland, UK, and South Africa. There may be even more, but those are the ones I’m aware of that are definitely related to the one originally founded in Australia. There are four different categories: pole art, pole drama, pole comedy, and pole classique.
From the Pole Theatre USA website:
Pole Art is for performances incorporating another dance style (e.g. lyrical, contemporary, latin, ballet, etc.). Contestants will be judged on musicality and flow.
Pole Drama is for performances that tell a story. Contestants will be expected to build a clear storyline in their performance.
Pole Comedy is for performances that incorporate humorous and comedic elements.
Pole Classique is for performances that celebrate the beauty and art of sexy/sensual style pole dance and striptease.
Maddie Sparkle is one of my absolute favorite pole dancers and I’ve dreamed of meeting her, but figured it would never happen since we live on almost opposing continents. When I saw that she would be judging Pole Theatre USA, I had to apply. The application consists of two parts: a submission video in the style you’re applying for, and a description of your performance should you get in. I really wanted to do pole classique, but I didn’t have any videos of that style! I ended up filming a couple of freestyles and picked the best one. I came up with my idea for my performance one Saturday morning while proctoring the ACT exam, since I’m not allowed to do anything but watch the students take the test for four hours. I had tons of time to think, so I created the whole story in my head and wrote it down the minute the students had left the room!
The guidelines for amateur vs professional included having placed in the top 3 for a regional or national competition, which I had at PSO’s Southeast Aerial Arts Championship, so I submitted for the pro division even though I don’t see myself as a pro whatsoever. I submitted my application about a week before the deadline, and there were several posts by the event organizer about the pole classique division receiving the most entries. Well, that was it for me, I figured. The competitors for Pole Theatre UK were announced, and Bendy Kate was one of the finalists for the professional classique division. I am nowhere near that caliber of ability, so I assumed I had a snowball’s chance in hell of making it in.
After submission, all applicants received an email that we would hear back either way the first week of March. Friday came and went, Saturday came and went… Sunday ended and still no email. I was dying! I didn’t think I’d gotten in, but I just wanted to know for sure.
Then Tuesday night in between teaching pole classes, I checked my email and saw this:
I immediately took that screenshot and sent it to my husband, who was the only person who even knew I’d applied. Once he’d replied (by saying “Told you”), I turned to my students and told them. I was so shocked I was shaking! How had I made it in, and with only four contestants? I was in a daze for the rest of the evening. I even messaged the event organizer on Facebook and asked if that email was really meant for me! (Thankfully, it was. I’m still not convinced that my video somehow didn’t get mixed up with somebody else’s though…)
My wonderment only increased the next day when the full competitor list was published on Facebook. I’m in the same division as Dakota Fox, Dalijah, and Steven Retchless. How is that even possible? I can still hardly believe it, but I’m so so so excited to have this chance, and I cannot wait to go to Denver in May!
I’m competing in the 3rd annual Florida Pole Fitness Championship! I am both super excited and incredibly nervous at the same time. I feel pretty confident in my routine, but I want to do it proud and give a great showing, with all my angles just right and my facial expressions on point. I need to perform this piece! I can’t wait to see everyone and be a part of this incredible opportunity.
Here’s a sneak peek via screenshot at a move in my routine from a run-through the other day: