Warning: long post ahead! Now that it’s been exactly one month since this competition, I figured it was time to post about it.
This was an interesting competition experience for me. I originally signed up many months ago because I looked up flights from Daytona Beach – the airport only about 30 minutes from me – to Raleigh, and they were under $200, so I figured it would be perfect. I was super excited about the new exotic division too, so I signed up for both the pro qualifier and exotic level 5, because hey, go big or go home, right? Then we decided to drive to save some money on flights and car rental, so my original reasoning for doing the competition was right out the window. But that’s ok, because I was still excited to compete.
This was first time I’d done two wholly different routines in the same day. Or the same weekend, or same month, actually. I was more interested in working on my exotic routine, so I kind of put off working on my pro routine, stupidly. I also wasn’t too worried about my exotic routine, so I didn’t really work too much on that one either. This all led to the week before the competition and I was running my pro routine for the first time and my exotic routine still wasn’t finished. I actually changed some of the choreography on stage while testing the poles the morning of the competition. In hindsight, I wish I’d practiced more of a polished routine than I did for the exotic category, but overall I’m happy how I did with it, except for a few minor wobbles – I’ll post more about it when I receive the video from Alloy Images.
So my pro routine… it was physically exhausting for me. I had tons of elbow holds in it and ended up really straining my elbow two weeks beforehand, so I could barely even practice. I originally had my two spin passes switched, but could never even make it to my second (harder) pass, so I put it first. Even then, I was hitting it maybe 50% of the time. On its own, I could hit the pass no problem, but after having already done a fair amount on static, I was always too tired to make it look good. The first time I ran through the whole routine straight through was one week before the competition, and it was ok. Not great, but I made it through. Two nights before the competition, I had a dress rehearsal and had an almost perfect run-through. I was super happy with it and crossed my fingers that I would have a repeat performance on Saturday.
The Triangle Pole Championships were held at the Cary Arts Center and it was gorgeous! I loved having 2 good-sized rooms to get ready in with full mirrors and make-up lighting, and then a hang-out area with a monitor so we could watch the stage. It was amazing being able to watch everyone and tell them how awesome they were as they came downstairs after walking off stage. I normally don’t watch my competitors, but we all hung out in the backstage area stretching and watching each other, so it was a really nice time with fellow competitors. Everyone was so encouraging and positive: definitely one of the best competitions I’ve been in when it came to camaraderie and positive feelings backstage!
I went sixth out of ten, and a girl who had gone third or fourth mentioned that the static pole was slippery right where you reach up to grab it, but I didn’t focus too much on that, because poles feel different for everyone. However, right when I went to go into a one-handed spin into shoulder mount, my hand slipped and I had to skip the shoulder mount, doing an awkward backwards invert instead. That threw me off right from the beginning, and I was so angry with myself for not making it work (and having bent legs in my invert!) that I was in my head for the rest of the routine. I fumbled with my first spin pass and the whole performance just wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped for. I ended and walked off stage pretty upset with my run-through.
I sat down and went through everything I now had to do: I was going to sign up for Southern Pole Championships in Atlanta so I had a chance to redeem myself, I was going to buy my video from Alloy (I had purposely not bought it because I knew the top 3 were posted, and I was hoping to place)… I was prepping myself to be ok with whatever the result was. I went into the competition hoping for top 3, and I walked off stage hoping to be in the top 5: I just didn’t want to be in the bottom half of the competitors. I sat backstage and sulked for the rest of the competition, super mad at myself for all the places where I messed up.
Once everyone had gone, including the two guys (who were both AMAZINGly entertaining!), we all headed to the stage for awards for all categories for the day. I already knew I’d placed 3rd (out of 4) for Exotic Level 5, so I received a medal for that. Finally, it was time for the women’s pro category. Since I knew my performance hadn’t gone the way I wanted it to, I wasn’t holding my breath, but I thought if I placed, it would be third. When third was announced as the gorgeous Tynesha B, I was certain that I hadn’t placed at all. Janine Cooper was announced as second, and I had in my mind who I had thought won: remember, we could watch everyone’s performances on the monitor backstage, so I felt like I had a good idea of how the placements would go.
When Shay announced the winner, it took me a second to realize she’d said my name because I was so sure it was going to be another name. I looked at her and said, “Me?!” and she nodded and told me to get up there. I was still so shocked that when Amy Guion came to give me my medal, I told her, “I think the judges fucked up”. She just laughed and said that no, I was really the winner. I still can’t believe that a) I won, and b) I said that on stage in front of everyone as I was receiving my medal and trophy. It still blows my mind, and I am still unhappy with my performance, but it’s lit a fire under me to nail the combos I didn’t quite get in this performance.
Thank you to Amy and PSO for this wonderful opportunity and I can’t wait to compete August 5th in Los Angeles!