One of my biggest goals for 2019 is to do pole dance competitions because it will push me to advance my skills as a pole dancer and performer. I've been practicing pole dancing straight for about eight months.
I think I made all the mistakes baby polers do: Practiced too much, getting stuck on one move and not letting it go, doing moves that were too hard and changing my choreography over and over again (but it was fun!).
In a pole dance competition you can pick a category (entertainment, dramatic, exotic..) and a level 1-5. I picked Exotic Level 2, but I underestimated it. I thought L2 was a beginner level with basic inverts but noticed on the day of competing two of my competitors were already pole instructors, teaching classes! Only months ago I finally could do a leg hang without a spotter. I didn't place which didn't surprise me since it was my first time.
My choreography piece changed a lot because I kept coming up with better moves as I went a long, and that's ok but at a point what I really needed to do was stop adding moves and just practice my choreography to make it smooth.
From this routine I learned not to jam pack it with a bunch of tricks (and tricks that I never did before). The piece should be smooth and fluid and the viewer shouldn't be able to tell where one move starts and ends. In my case, it wasn't completely smooth or fluid.
Polishing my choreography
The week before competition I "polished" some of my moves and it looked 10 times better. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time for me to practice it enough to remember all the elements while performing. Try not to "over" polish like I did and instead do very small polishes like doing a hair toss, not adding a whole new move.
I think polishing is great but only if there is enough time to reprogram your muscle memory
I created my own choreography and decided on what elements I wanted in my piece. This was very important to me because I wanted to dance to a piece I made from my own experiences. However, this does not mean I worked inside a box and never got feedback from pole dancers and instructors. I made sure to get feedback from multiple pole dancers and instructors. Feedback is the most important part of my pole dance training.
Unexpected things that threw me off while performing on stage was:
1. The heat from the lights. My hair got static and my face got red.
2. Darkness from the audience. When I looked up to make eye contact, I couldn't see anyone!
Best parts of competing:
• Practicing pole with my peers and favorite instructors!
• Meeting other passionate pole dancers
• Feeling the positive vibes from everyone at the event from back stage to my competitors
• Being apart of a community that's friendly, thoughtful and passionate about about pole!
In the end, I'm really happy I performed at my very first competition without running away. Everyone starts as a beginner. There will always be someone more experienced than you, so never compare yourself! You are amazing at every level.
Have you competed in competition or want to? Share your comments below!