The Things We Do For Love… Of Pole

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The Things We Do For Love… Of Pole

(a.k.a. It takes work!)

This weekend, I am going to my first ever pole audition. It looks set to be a pretty full on – as well as really fun – day of chorey, freestyling, solos and somehow or other trying to stand out from the pack.

At stake is a chance to be part of a studio Show Team and to get some really tailored training and development, so I’m pretty keen (as are about 34 other hopefuls).

So, How To Stand Out?

Firstly, I think it’s important to play nice. There’s nothing to be gained from being overly competitive or bitchy. We all want the same thing, some of us will get it and others won’t and that has to be OK. We should be united by our love of and passion for pole, not divided by it. In addition, there’s every likelihood that the judges will be looking for people who can get along in a team environment, so it’s good to be able to demonstrate that one can.

What else? Well, in the few weeks since I heard about the auditions, I’ve been avidly following every facebook event post or verbal clue from the studio owner that I can. I know she wants us to be able to display our ‘spark’. She also wants to be able to see that we have made an effort – that we care and are serious enough about this opportunity to have tried to put our best self forward on the day. I feel like I’ve taken this to a point of some obsession. Below is the list of things I’ve done to try to be my best, less than half of which were actually suggested by the studio:

  • Sewn crystals all over my best pair of booty shorts
  • Bought three pairs of earrings to make sure I wound up with the ones that best matched the crystals on my shorts and shoes
  • Bought new make-up and nail stuff
  • Given myself an incredibly rare facial (I still own the same tube of clay mask that I bought at a friend’s nutrimetics party back in 2004)
  • Had my first ever spray tan, and then gone back again when it wasn’t dark enough
  • Had my hair restyled
  • Had my eyebrows shaped
  • Taken a day of annual leave in order to get all of the above done
  • Had a special ‘audition top’ custom made
  • Hit the tread-mill, elliptical trainer, stair machine and exercise bike like a mofo
  • Doubled the amount of time I spend doing weights each morning before work
  • Snuck into the pole studio at my gym at odd hours to practise freestyling while there are no classes in there
  • Choreographed a mini-routine in case I get asked to do a solo and come up with two alternative choreys in case I’m too sweaty on the day (Sydney in November is a humid place to pole!)
  • Invested in all manner of protein powders, weird iso-whatever bars with unpronounceable ingredients and appetite suppressants
  • Eaten too little to accommodate the upswing in exercise and in the end lost not much weight at all (more on this in my next post)
  • Had massages and acupuncture in my calves to try to improve the flexibility in my hamstrings
  • Baked a batch of peanut butter brownies to take along with me and share so we can all keep our energy up.

Exhausting, Huh?

So what drove all this fanatical preparation? Partly it’s been driven by just how much I want this opportunity and so will try a lot of things to make it happen. I have to admit, though, it’s dawning on me in these final hours before the big day, while I notice myself feeling less and less prepared, that it’s also been driven by a hope that I’ll be able to fake my way through: get by on smoke and mirrors and hope that they won’t even notice where my various shortcomings are as a pole dancer. A fake tan will surely give the illusion of better abs (it hasn’t), just like putting sparkles on everything will somehow distract from the fact that I still can’t do the splits (yep, bit of a long shot).

The reality that I’m now starting to face is that, even though I have worked hard, I’m still a pole-work-in-progress. I can’t fake the fact that I still haven’t been doing this all that long compared to some of my competitors, nor that I don’t give it my all because there are other things in my life that I also have to give time and energy to (if only someone would pay me a liveable salary without also requiring me to do my job!). There will be people at the audition much better than me, and people who have far less experience as well. All the stuff I’ve done in the list above will probably account for about 5% of the overall impression that I give the judges. The rest will come from the sum total of what I have been able to learn and perfect and develop as a poler over the last three years. That, and the elusive ‘spark’.

Tomorrow is going to be a great experience, no matter the outcome. It’s going to be like Vegas Week on So You Think You Can Dance, except with judges who I know and feel supported by. Between now and then all I need to do is remember to breathe, eat, get a good nights’ sleep and when it comes time, to show all of the things that I can do. It’s easy to lose sight of just how many tricks and spins and how much strength and flexibility you have at a time like this. My 100% may be much less impressive than someone else’s, but it’s my 100% and that’s what I’m going to give.

If I get in, I will be cheering for joy. You’ll definitely hear about it. If I don’t, my biggest lesson that I’m taking away is that being your best takes work. Not obsessive, hurried, frenzied investment in earrings and tans and iso-muck. Consistent, committed work on all the things that challenge you the most at a given point in your pole journey. I know the tricks and stretches that I need to focus on to get to the next level, and I know a little better now than I did before that this means working on them whether there’s a show around the corner or not. You never know what opportunity might be just about to pop up.

Category: Fitness

About Tilly Dazzler

I started pole dancing three years ago when I was looking for a dance-based form of exercise that wasn't too heavy on foot work (I'm paranoid about having two left feet). I remember my first teacher telling our beginners class how we'd all get hooked - she was so right! Within six weeks there was no looking back for me, and within a few months I was poling twice a week, then three times, then buying my own pole...

Now I'm getting started with solo performances and amateur competitions. I've come so far with what I can do on the pole, and with how much confidence I have both on the pole and off it. I'm still completely hooked. Seeing all my mates in class and learning amazing new tricks together is a highlight of every week.

Pole has also led me to try a heap of other dance and performance arts like Charleston, burlesque, fan dance, contemporary, lyra, aerial silks, go go, and more. I try to work them into my routines and use them all to develop my style. I love using characters and telling stories when I perform, and I love experimenting with different types of music.

I hope you enjoy reading my pole blogs. Tilly D xxx

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  1. […] you read my last blog post, you might have seen that my own experience of putting myself out there as a poler has at least […]

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