Sunday, 27 October 2013

Miss Pole Dance SA annual competition

Last night I went to watch the annual Miss Pole Dance SA competition - I think that this is the 5th consecutive year that I've been to watch it.

I've been quite out of the pole scene since I stopped teaching in July last year and took up circus school; but I still love pole and have been waiting for this English course to finish to get back into it. There haven't been circus classes since June/July (I was away anyway) and pole remains close to my heart.

The general standard of performance has improved over the years but there are a number of things that stood out.

  • 'Ho heels really have little place in this sport anymore. They look trashy and slutty on stage and I can bet my money that dancers wearing 'ho heels are more interested in how they look and being sexy for the audience rather than their performance. This was pretty evident. Three cheers for those with bare feet on stage - and fortunately there were many. Bare feet are 
  • Unless you've got a gymnastic or dance background, your chance of winning any competition (local or international) is slim. It really makes a HUGE difference in how the dancers move, their strength and flexibility. Wow! 
  • Every year you see the same moves coming out in the performances from a performance that the competitors have watched online. The common move changes year on year. Today I watched Heidi Coker's winning performance from this year's Pole Art 2013 competition. Her one pole-to-pole transition must have come up four times last night. Heidi beat my favourite-favourite, Oona Kivela at Pole Art. Both videos are so well worth watching for the grace, athleticism and strength. These women make it look easy. It isn't. 
  • Last night was big for flexibility moves like 'Allegra Box Splits' and 'Banana Splits'. While I'd love to be able to do these, there are moves - like these - that I think should be scrapped from the performance lists. As with 'ho heels, if pole fitness is every going to be taken seriously then moves that place the audience's attention in one specific place have no place on stage. Fine for playing around in class; not for performance. I know you can do the splits; you don't have to show me over and over and over again. There are plenty of other less 'presenting', similar moves that can be chosen instead.
  • I'm still on the fence about the removal of clothing. No, not so that they're n.a.k.e.d. Skin contact is needed for the best grip so there's a reason why performers don't wear loads of clothing... But I'm not so sure about outfits where bits (shirts, skirts, capes - used as props) are taken off and flung across the floor. Again this goes back to pole's 'heritage' and does nothing for the sport. The IPSF states in their competition rules that "Costumes should not be intentionally removed, must fit correctly and not used in an erotic manner". Exactly! [although Evgeny - see below - can take his shirt off ANYTIME! *grin*]
The Pole Fitness Association of SA has an annual competition - must be in around April each year. They're affiliated to the International Pole Sports Federation (IPFS) and they set their competition rules accordingly (yes, there's a World Champs too as well as country champs and various other international competitions). No 'ho heels here.

There were three male entries - and there are other pole guys around. It would be awesome to see more performing.

The highlight of the evening was Evgeny Greshilov. Good golly. I don't know much about him (I've watched a number of his performances online over the last two or three years) but he certainly a classic dance background and watching him there was no doubt in my mind as to why he has won Pole Art (won it this year) and he has been World Pole Dance champ a few times.

Aside from his performance, which was captivating, the only other word I have to describe him is 'charming'. Totally charming. A beautiful performer, his audience interaction is superb - just a smile from the stage was all it took for us to be utterly and completely charmed. He has achieved the balance of displaying grace and effortless movements in his dance performance while still being a guy. I've seen performances online of guys that are just too ballet. Pole is a discipline of strength and for the guys shouldn't be too 'pointed toes' - the performance should remain masculine.

Here's the video of Evgeny's performance last night. I'll pop in the one from Pole Art below it. Enjoy!

Ahh... Evgeny's 2011 World Pole Dance Champs winning performance (video improves once the dance starts)

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