A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of competing in the Supreme Poledown: Sports vs Sexy 2017. There were a few things in the run up to the competition, and on the day, that I realised “Huh, it would be pretty useful for competitors to know this”. This is specificially for those first time competitors; competitions are this whole new world for you, and although learning what to pack and how to put on finishing touches to your routine are both important, there are a couple of things to remember that people may not have mentioned to you.
You may get the sh*ts
That’s right… come competition day you may actually spend more time pooing than you will actually on stage. Nerves affect everyone differently, but your flight or fight response can kick in meaning you have an icky tummy and frequent bathroom breaks as a result.
Be prepared! Pack some immodium (or other diarrhoea medecine) in case you do have the nervous poops on the day of your competition, these will help to settle your stomach a little. You don’t want to be stuck feeling like crap (quite literally) and no way to soothe it. Eat foods that are easy on your stomach, like bananas, especially if you are feeling a little bit nauseous because of the adrenaline.
If things don’t go to plan, then f*ck the plan
The number of people I see stagger off the stage, after an amazing performance, gasping “It was OK, but it didn’t go to plan” is crazy to me. Things are inevitably going to not go to plan when you perform, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Sure, we have the perfect vision in our heads of how we want our routine to look, but the judges and audience don’t know that. They won’t even notice if things do or don’t go to plan, so if they don’t, just f*ck the plan! It isn’t that important – if you are able to smash that stage going rogue then I’ve gotta say, that is pretty impressive.
I’ve heard girls saying “I completely forgot my routine, I freestyled most of it!” Errr, you were freekin’ awesome, so why is that a problem?! Embrace the fact you just did a bad ass freestyle, in stead of worrying about the fact that things didn’t go ‘to plan’.
One of the great things about performing is the fact it is pretty unpredictable. You don’t know how your routine is going to go; you don’t know how the audience will receive it, or whether your tricks are going to land the same way they have in rehearsal. So, if things don’t go to plan, celebrate what the performance was, not what it wasn’t.
Competing may just not be for you
You have prepared for months… working on your tricks, choreographing your routine, getting your costume and props ready. You have those 4 minutes on stage, walk off and feel… nothing? You don’t feel exhilarated, you don’t feel happy or fulfilled, you just feel glad that it is finally over.
It is OK if you don’t like performing. It is OK if you don’t like competing. You know what, just pole for whatever reasons you bloody well like and don’t feel like you need to do any of these things in order to be a bad ass pole dancer. I mean, challenge yourself, try it and see if it is for you. Some people think they will hate performing, and then fall in love with it. And others are the opposite, they really want to try it, but find out that once it is done, they don’t really get a post-comp ‘high’ or any kind of satisfaction other than the fact it is now done and out of the way.
When you love performing it can be easy to wonder ‘errr, why the hell wouldn’t you enjoy it?!’ You see your students progressing and want to challenge them, you tell them ‘Oh yeah, but those 4 minutes are the best EVER! You will love it so much!’ But, I’m learning that for some people, getting on the stage really isn’t their thing. It wasn’t because they weren’t ready, or they were too nervous, or the routine didn’t go well, it was just because it really didn’t jingle their bells, y’know.
So… if you have a competition lined up, and find out that, actually, it isn’t really your thing, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone is different and loves pole for different reasons.
What lessons have you discovered about competing that you feel aren’t really common knowledge? Drop your tips and advice in the comments below.