Being Judged in a Non-Judgemental Community

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Being Judged in a Non-Judgemental Community

“How long have you been pole dancing?”
“Five years.”
“Have you ever competed?”
“No. I don’t want anyone besides myself judging my art.”

I’m a baby in the pole world. I started at the beginning of July 2012, which brings my grand total of pole experience up less than a year. I live in a pretty small area of Pennsylvania, where the first pole studio only opened up a year ago. So obviously, when this conversation between myself and another pole dancer happened, I was floored. 5 years? This girl must be amazing. If I had been pole dancing for that long, I’d want to show off my skills.

Everyone I’ve met through pole dancing has been incredibly supportive, sweet and nurturing. The newcomers are welcomed with open arms, and the ones with experience are always eager to teach new skills and offer tips. That’s what I love about it.

That Said, I Have A Bit Of A Competitive Edge.

I notice if I’m the first person in my class to get a new move, and it gives me a bit of an ego boost. Don’t lie. You do too. As supportive as the pole community is, we all know somewhere deep down, everyone can be competitive. No one really wakes up in the morning wanting to be second.

So, here I am. A baby, up and coming (maybe) pole-r bear. I’ve done a few shows, but I took the leap of faith and signed up for my first competition. It’s coming up in about two weeks, so that conversation left me floored.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished over these months. I’m proud of my confidence, and my ability to choreograph a dance with (mostly) smooth transitions. Do I need anyone else to justify this? Maybe not. Art is sort of an oxymoron. It’s a personal experience that’s meant to be explored. It has deep personal meaning that’s open to interpretation. Competitions can be funny beasts. Maybe one judge loves tricks and strength. Maybe another one loves pointed toes and clean lines. I can absolutely understand where this woman was coming from. As Dita von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the whole world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.”

Do I care about where I place? Absolutely. I’ll be thrilled if I place. Cloud nine if I happen to win first. I’m a recovering type A personality who has become a little obsessed with rehearsing my competition piece. But I’d like to thank that woman who brought me back down to earth. Yes, winning would be great. I’m going to take the feedback and learn from it, but at the end of the day, art is subjective. If I love my dance, and feel good about how it turned out, that’s all I need.

Just in case, get the vodka and tissues ready.

Category: Competition

About Kenzie Morgan

I took my first dance class shortly after I could walk, and fell in love with the freedom of prancing around to music. I've continued dancing my whole life in various styles. I've done all of the classics like ballet, jazz, modern and tap, and soon ventured into ballroom and Latin. I even hula hoop!

I've been intrigued with pole dancing for a while, but there were no studios around me and I felt like it could be dangerous to learn on my own. About a year ago I saw a coupon online for a local pole studio that had just opened up, so I jumped on the opportunity. Within a month I had purchased my own pole, and a few months later I was asked to teach a class. I enjoy the dance side of things and the moves that can defy gravity.

Outside of pole dancing, I have my Master's Degree in Dance Therapy and currently work with children with behavioral and mental health concerns. I also have the world's best husband and cutest dog.

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2 Comments to “Being Judged in a Non-Judgemental Community”

  1. Krista says:

    Thanks! This is just what I needed to hear, as I’m entering my first pole competition NEXT WEEKEND. Yikes! Since shortly after I signed up as a competitor I’ve became frustrated by the thought that others will judge something I do too harshly, and about how that will effect my ability to dance freely from here on out. And, recently I’m haunted by the thought that no matter how I perform, it will be captured and posted to youtube for others to comment on FOREVER! Right now, I’m more concerned with getting a clean video than I am about placing.

    You’re article (and my loving pole sisters) are a big help in easing my fears. I’m just gonna try to dance my best and be a “peach”.

  2. Valerie says:

    Well said!

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