A fortnight ago, I was in Canberra for Miss Summer Trick Star. An amateur pole dance competition organised by Trick Fitness held each year.
Previous winners include Miss Nikki Anne, who I met at a training workshop earlier this year. The support of having a familiar face at the comp encouraged me to sign up. Traveling interstate for pole turned in to quite the big deal, and if anything, it was amazing to be able to represent my studio outside of Sydney.
There were 16 competitors on the night. All had different styles, some sexy, some cute and funny, some sporty. Some of my competitors were older too, not seasoned pros, but mature age women who’s confidence and self awareness came through in their stage presence. Great motivation to be be poling when I’m 40 too!
My routine was to Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys. I nailed the crowd appreciation factor for song choice and prop!
I didn’t place, and looking at the video of my routine I can see where it went a bit pear shaped. I still have lots of excuses in my head for why, including having to take two weeks off training in October while being sick. As much as it’s important to want to enter a competition and think you will win, instead of sulking, it presents valuable learning opportunities for myself and for my progress as a dancer.
The girls at the beginning of the show, myself included, were all pretty much of the same skill level. We had some key tricks both flexi and strength based and some standard floor work. My routine had more of a story and I included a number of drops, a pegasus combo, and off-the-pole floor balances that I thought could set me apart.
The girls who came on after intermission were in a league of their own. Hand standing and splitting all over the place, these girls were amazing! They were all Canberra locals too, nothing like batting on your home turf!
We all were quick to see that they were winning material. My cheer squad knew it too as their supportive comments about my routine were soon overshadowed by their awe of the performance on the stage and their mental notes of new transitions to try next time they are in the studio.
If I had nailed my central combo I may have been in for a chance, but the feedback from the judges has also helped me unpack what went wrong.
Firstly, it was a Trick comp – Miss Summer Trick Star. I had some cool tricks and made sure to include both strength and flex, but if I choreographed it again I would have included more. It would have sacrificed a bit of my story (always a balance) but reflecting on it now, the judges were expecting more tricks.
Secondly, nerves! The judges commented that “my nerves got the better of me” and although it didn’t feel like it on stage, I can see in the video why it would come across that way. It wasn’t as relaxed and smooth as some of the other routines, and after my mess up, I composed myself but the it did shake up the ending.
Thirdly, something I’ve always been trying to work on, engaging with the audience. The judges pointed out that during my floorwork I did this well (hooray!) but when I got on the pole, I missed opportunities to make eye contact and maintain that engagement. I was too introverted and
focused worried concentrating on getting the tricks right, that I couldn’t just relax and show I was enjoying it too. Which may be telling that I didn’t know the tricks as well as I could have, but it’s definitely something to think about for future performances.
I didn’t get much feedback from peers or instructors before the competition. I was time poor and most of the people that saw it were just full of compliments and support. I wonder if these things would have come out earlier if I showed it to more people and polished it with more time to spare. All things to remember for next time.
A consolation prize … photos! I’m so pleased with them you could almost forget that I messed up a combo!
I hope this post gives others a way to move forward after a competition. When things don’t go to plan it can be hard not to lose motivation. The points outlined from my feedback are applicable to everyone’s dancing too. So if you are prepping for a comp, keep them in mind, especially how you are engaging with the audience.