The Road to Competition…

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The Road to Competition…

I just finished competing at Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma Competition and I’d have to say that this has been my best competition yet. It was my third major competition (I’ve also done two small studio competitions) and I can already see a significant improvement in my competition performance ability.

I remember my first competition experience in the Amateur Division of Miss Texas Pole Star back in 2011, that whole day was a huge meltdown for me. I found out last minute that a few of my tricks weren’t allowed, which meant I would have to make some last minute adjustments to my routine (and risk messing up) or potentially lose points because of the use of unapproved tricks. On top of that I was selected to perform first…which only made my nerves even worse. Somehow the competition staff got me up on the stage to perform, but immediately after my performance I spazzed out again and they practically had to mop me up afterwards. My second competition experience was last year at the 2012 Southern Pole Championships in Houston. There was quite a few nervous tears and a near breakdown, but I held it together much better than my competition the previous year.

This time around, at MPDO, I was in a much better place. I was more prepared mentally and physically than I had been at my past competitions. While there was a little bit of nervous energy there weren’t any tears or melt downs. And I even remembered to smile and make contact with the audience during my performance. A big part of my new-found competition calmness comes with experience. The only way to get over the being scared is to just do it and it gets better each time. I’ve found that I am getting more confident in myself and my ability with each performance and competition that I do. However there are still quite a few things that we as competitors can do in our competition prep to ease the process and lessen the stress and nervousness that comes along with competing. Here are my top 5 suggestions:

1. Do Your Research And Ask Questions.

Before you decide to enter a competition do some research to find out about the various competitions available to you. Talk to others that have done it to find out about their experiences. Have an understanding of their categories, judging, pole types, grip aids, shoes, fees, music requirements, etc. Once you’ve made up your mind to try out, be sure that you understand all of the requirements. Not only do you need to know what you have to do, you should also find out what you are not allowed to do. Don’t assume that because you don’t see it that a rule or a requirement doesn’t exist. If something is unclear or confusing then ask for clarification.

2. Don’t Forget The Small Details…

In fact, take care of them first. I’ve found that often the smaller details fall through the cracks and can be forgotten completely…so it’s best to handle those upfront. And trust me, the last thing you want is a bunch of small issues creeping up right before your competition and you definitely don’t want any last minute surprises. So dot your i’s and cross your t’s upfront. The exact criteria can vary depending on the competitor and the contest but some of the basic elements that are across the board include:


Make sure it has the appropriate edit, time length and that you have backup copies in case something goes wrong.


Practice your full routine in your full costume to make sure you can successfully execute all of your tricks and that there aren’t any wardrobe malfunctions. Also, take a backup costume just in case. This also includes pre-planning your hair, make-up and any body art. And if you plan to dance in shoes make sure you practice in them and that you can manoeuvre around any type of stage set-up they may have.

Consider accessories and props:

If you plan to add anything “extra” into your routine be sure that you get it approved by the competition staff, that you practice with it and that it “FITS” into the overall theme and appeal of your routine. You should be practising with it pretty much from the start, don’t want until days before your competition to add it in or practice with it. Also be sure to have a backup plan in case something doesn’t work out, it breaks or in case you leave it at home (yes, it’s happened before.)


Pay attention to and be sure to practice alignment, positioning and styling. This includes your hands, toes (keep them pointed), facial expressions, eye contact, etc. Not only can these things give your performance that extra oomph, but in some cases they can make or break your routine.

3. Stick With What You Know And Do It To The Best Of Your Ability.

Remember, a simple and clean routine beats a messy and busy routine every time. So, when you go to put your competition routine together, ONLY use tricks that you already know and can execute properly. Do not include things that you hope to know how to do by the time competition day rolls around.

My workflow for this is to make a list of the tricks I know that meet the competition requirements, then narrow that list down to the tricks that I really enjoy and can execute perfectly. From there I start to create combinations that are unique and easy to transition in and out of. Every move should flow and there should be no struggle going on between you and the pole when doing your tricks.

4. Practice, Watch And Learn.

When you practice you should be recording yourself, and reviewing that recording. The best way to see what works and what doesn’t work is to actually SEE it. This allows you to see what others see and make any necessary adjustments. You should also run your full routine several times in front of an audience. This will help ease any nervousness about being in front of a crowd and it’s a great way to work on connecting with the audience. If the competition poles are different than your home or studio poles then you should also try to find a way to practice on the type of poles that will be at the competition….especially if they are using stage poles.

5. Rest And Relax.

Now I’ll be honest, I don’t do this enough and I’ve had to learn the hard way…so please don’t be like me. It is so important to give your body the rest that it needs. We are often tempted to work harder during competition prep time and end up overworking ourselves, which can actually hurt us more and lead to injury. In addition to getting plenty of sleep, be sure to stretch often, take hot baths with epsom salt to relieve pain and muscle tension, sit in the hot tub and spend some time in the sauna. And don’t be afraid to indulge here and there with a full body massage. You should also be eating healthy meals and drinking plenty of water.

And For A Little Inspiration…

Here is my competition journey over the last few years:

My try out video for my first competition in 2011

2nd competition – 2012 Southern Pole Championship:

3rd competition – 2013 Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma:

Category: Competition

About Ashley Robinson

Hi!  My name is Ashley and I am a passionate photographer, writer, creative guru and flourishing pole artist.  I am also a big fan of the GYM. Four broken feet, a foot surgery and the loss of over 30 pounds (gained during the course of broken feet) I am an avid fitness enthusiast that is learning to love (and take better care of) my body.  My goal is encourage and help other women find fitness and unleash their hidden potential – while learning to be fit, fierce and fabulous.  Having experienced a wide range of my own weight (now down to 170, but weighed 232 at my heaviest), I know how important it is not to lose sight of the inner sexiness and strength that we all encompass. Bringing back and building up confidence is key!

Three years ago I was invited to an open house event at a pole studio and instantly fell in love with the sexy athleticism and the challenges it offered.  As a former cheerleader, gymnast and soccer player, I’ve been involved in sports and fitness most of my life.  I love the fact that pole not only offers me a new, fun type of fitness but also that it allows me to make use of my athletic background.  And I was happy to finally have a fun, social outlet that allowed me to also work on my fitness.

I enjoy encouraging women of all body types to try out pole fitness.  Embracing all shapes and sizes of dancers, I am out to prove to the world that anyone can pole – even those that feel they aren’t strong enough to pole dance.  I can honestly say that I enjoy all that pole fitness has to offer – building strength, confidence and finding her inner sensual diva.  My new found passion for pole and fitness encouraged me to pursue formal training with the goal of bettering myself and contribute positively to our pole fitness community.  As an Xpert certified instructor, I am dedicated to sharing my pole passion and fitness expertise through my FreeStyle Friday community and Project Aerial Ambition.  I hope to help my pole sisters be sexy, strong and more confident. I also started competing in 2011 and look forward to being a part of more pole competitions in the future.

What I enjoys most about being a pole fitness dancer is that I've been able to improve my flexibility, strength, overall fitness and self confidence while networking and meeting new people.  My favorite move is the Kandy Kane! And I have several variations of it that I've come up with.  I love to play around with Kandy Kane spins to see how unique I can make it by infusing my own style.

Visit Ashley's Website

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