So, you’ve been poling for a while and every time you hear about a competition or showcase you think it might be nice to enter… but you’re so unsure if that’s the path for you. Well, here are a few things to consider as we head into competition season:

Ask yourself this

  1. Do I know what I am dealing with?

There’s a lot more to consider than earning a shiny medal and eternal glory at the end of the big day.

Preparing for competitions is a gruelling and intense journey that spans months and requires some serious dedication. Not only will you be spending more time training, you’ll be spending extra cash on things like private lessons, studio time, costumes, hair, make up and travel, and you’ll probably be stressing about it (a lot). Also, think about “significant others” in your life, as this will affect them too – consider how focussing a huge chunk of your energy and time to training might impact their lives as well.

Judging at pole competitions can also be subjective.  Judging is extremely hard, and whilst most competitions do their best in having a fair and reasonable panel of judges, ultimately there will be some element of bias (in terms of artistic interpretation, style of pole, types of tricks etc…). And it can be a demoralising experience to pour your heart and soul on stage, only to be told at the end of the day that your scores just weren’t good enough.

This video highlights the commitment and sacrifice required to become a top-ranked competitive pole dancer:

  1. Why do I want to compete?

Are you wanting to make a name for yourself and show off your skills? Or do you see it as an opportunity to consolidate your skills and perform for your peers? One of the best things about competing is PROGRESS – it motivates you, challenges you and forces you to give your very best. All this work pays off… maybe not in the form of a prize, but it will certainly make you a better pole dancer, with a piece that you will be very proud of.

Think about this

As we said, competing is a serious business! It’s not only demanding in terms of finances and time, but there will also be loads of added stress and emotional turmoil. If you’ve decided that you’re up for the challenge start planning as soon as possible…

  • Do your homework. Find out as much as you can about the SA competition scene – each competition’s reputation and approach, talk to others that have done it to find out about their experiences and get a better understanding of their categories, judging criteria, fees and music requirements. Today, there are many different competitions out there which cater for different people – e.g. go for the National Pole Sports competition if you enjoy the technical side of pole and want to be scored on specific tricks. Competitions like Pole Art cater for the more artistic side of pole. The Pole Factor celebrates all different styles and genres of pole.
  • Assess your capabilities and decide what type of competition is best suited to your style
  • Decide what tricks and combos you want to perfect and polish for your routine.
  • Pole routines aren’t about performing standalone tricks – everything has to link together with a theme, choreography, transitions, flow. If you’re naturally a great dancer, play on this strength. If not, get the right person on board and start working really hard on it!
  • Choose your music and get to know it well. Pick a song that speaks to you and will lend itself to the emotive side of your performance
  • Think about your costume, hair and make-up. They should bring your theme to life.
  • Train, train, train! And don’t forget to add emotion when you practice so that you connect with your audience.
  • Know your limits and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Over-training is a very common occurrence, but ultimately, damaging your body and getting long-term injuries are just not worth it for that title. Don’t try to be a hero.
  • Eat healthy and rest well before the big day
  • Then go out there and enjoy your moment on stage!

Ultimately, competing is a very personal decision… and it is not for everyone. Some people are paralysed with fear at the thought of competing. Some find it incredibly stressful, draining and it devours their soul as it’s all they can do/think/talk about for months. For others, it’s motivating – they need something to inspire and push them, and they need to show the world their work.

Weigh the cost/benefit as much as you want to follow your heart. And if you do choose to compete, don’t do it because you just want to win. Do it because you want to do YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST. The only person you should be competing with is yourself – outdo yourself, and it will make competing worth it.

Get set

If this has FIRED you up into signing up for the next competition, just remember, our instructors at The Pole Project can help you with the groundwork of choreographing your routine, and selecting your music and costume. We can also be your constant training buddy to ensure that your routine is flawless!