I had the awesome sauce opportunity to judge and perform at the Hertford Heat of the UKAPP (UK Amateur Pole Performer) competition last night and was blown away by the talent. A few observations from this American poler (and photos as well as a link to my live performance below the post):
1) The polers here love themes – whether based on a movie, storybook or genre of dance, the competitors gave us storylines and concepts through creative costumes, thematic music and stage props. The best performers were the ones who weren’t shy or hesitant to fully embrace the physicality of their characters — even if it meant combining a flesh-eating zombie with pole.
2) There was an impressive amount of male polers at the competition…even men who were competing in the doubles category with their girlfriends, which I thought touching (I can’t imagine my fiancé ever donning a pair of Union Jack briefs and joining me on stage!) and at times, sensual.
3) Doubles routines here RULE. I’ve never seen so many impressive partner balancing, acrobatics and straight-up death-defying stunts as I did last night. And I thought I was au courant on doubles moves because I can do the Cuban Handspring!
4) The UK has an inordinate amount of talent — as usual, Justine McLucas of London’s Ecole de Pole (fellow judge) blew me away with her grace, flexibility and poise on stage. I also met fellow judge Karen Chaundy from BodyBarre in Manchester, who I liken to be a kindred pole spirit. Her performance was filled with fire, ingenious acrobatics and modern movement. I’m excited to be teaching workshops at both their studios in the coming weeks. I also got to meet the legendary grande dames of pole, Sally-Ann Giles, who MC’ed, and Deb Riley.
As a poler who eats, lives and breathes pole, I love seeing the kind of dedication to the sport that I’ve witnessed in the UK and feel so honored that they’ve let me into their little circle.
From Welwyn Garden City, just outside London,
Photo credit: Simon Hutchinson: http://facebook.com/simon.hutchinson