Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sunday, 12 December 2010

I'm Alive

I'm alive, just not writing. I have lots that I want to write about, but I never get round to it.

Brief summary of pole stuff in the last few months.:

In early September I trained for and entered the Manchester Heat of Pole Divas. It was quite a different experience from last year where the heat was full. This year hardly anyone was there and there was only one other competitor in my category. I entered in order to give me something to work towards after being sick and operated on during the summer. It was good to have a goal and to work on a routine. This is my (winning entry).

In October I auditioned for a Circus training course and got in. This has shaped my life over the last few months. I've been searching for funding and loans to do it. It's a 12 week course with Greentop Circus in Sheffield (where I already train aerials) and helps you develop circus skills and acts. I auditioned for it after the internship I was offered with another circus company was seriously delayed (that is a sad little saga).

I also performed at a charity night for a Cats' shelter in Stockport at the end of October. Photos are here. The photographer Cornell, sent them to me free as it was a charity event.

November was an odd month. At the start of the month, and the start of my training for the Pole Divas final I dislocated the ring finger on my right hand attempting a difficult drop. It was a pretty terrifying experience. I was really lucky as I pulled the finger back in place very quickly and perfectly, plus I didn't fracture or break the finger. The doctors were quite impressed by how well I'd realigned my finger and once they'd found that it wasn't broken left me to treat it myself (the NHS didn't waste their physiotherapy on me). I stuck to a regime of hot and cold water baths and massage with arnica. I strapped my finger up and resumed practice after a week an a half.

The result was that my routine wasn't as polished I wanted it to be and preparing it was stressful and in the end quite demoralising (due to some last minute drama). One really postitive thing was that my friend Elsie, who I learnt with in Sheffield and have entered many competitions with, also was through to the final and we had a fun practice session the day before the competition. It made me realise how much I miss training with her, It's awesome to have a training partner who isn't competitive. We are so different in what we're good at, but it's so much fun to just mess around and try new things. I really miss it.

This is my entry in the final. It could have been worse, considering. I did enjoy performing it and came runner-up for the second time. All in all, I'm quite proud of what I've acheived. I've come second, twice, to people who are trained gymnasts and amazing performers. I have none of that background.

Post competition it's been a lot more relaxing. I went to a jam with Rainbow Pole fitness at the end of November in Huddersfield, despite it being one of the coldest days of the year it was loads of fun and happened before the snow stopped travel. I missed out on performing in Skegness because of the snow last Sunday. I would have loved to, but we just couldn't get there. Yesterday was a photoshoot with Claire 'Windy' Winters, who takes great pole photos. I really enjoyed getting back into pole and stretching.

I'm currently planning to train until just before Chirstmas and then mostly relax until after the New Year when I'll start getting back in shape for my circus course in the middle of January.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

UKAPP 2010 Final!

The UKAPP competition is a UK amateur competition which is in its second year. I attended the Manchester heat in August where my friend Gemma won overall performer. (UKAPP this year had 4 entry levels - the winner of each level, plus the best perfomer of the night went through to the finals - see here for more info).

I was going to write about the Manchester heat, but it all got a little hairy, so I didn't want to fuel anything, but fires are burning anyway and my current writing won't fuel them.

I have to say that from all my experiences with UKAPP (as a competitor last year and a spectator in a heat and the final this year), they are likely the best run competition in the UK. They are well set up and keep to schedule. The judging criteria is clear and generally good. It's a great thing to watch.

The final was held in St Albans, which is a little out of the way for those in the North. I was lucky enough to tie my visit down there with other activities, but I heard it was a horrendously early start for the competitiors with lots of travelling, However, the location was beautiful and seemed to be well equipt.

The MC for all the heats and the final was the amazing Sally-Ann Giles. I have to say that she was an excellent host. She's a very engaging and charismatic speaker. She tied everything together smoothly. Plus, in the final we got to see her perform, which is always awesome. All the judges performed at the final too. I really enjoyed seeing Chantelle Pritchard perform (again, as always) and Annie Norris. I'd never seen Justine McLucas perform, and I enjoyed her perfomance too. I was a little less impressed with the international judges.

The performer category was extremely entertaining. I love how well this category worked. There were some really well thought out perfomances, from funny to well characterised. Gemma's performance in this category nearly had us in tears of happiness.

The intermediate category was impressive. There were some incredible performers in this one too. I was completely charmed by the winner of this category -she had such an amazing smile and really loved what she was doing.

The expert category was awesome and somewhat intimidating. There were 4 performers in particular who had me with my jaw on the floor. Bendy Kate, who won the category and Lauren who was runner up and overall performer of the night were particularly amazing. Lauren's was such a great show and she really deserved that title. It was intimidating in that I will likely compete against many of them in a couple of months' time and I honestly don't know if I measure up!

The intructor category was good, but a little odd. I have to say, before the results came out I would have expected the two most audience popular entries to win (they did have the best characterisation and theme), but the better trixter and dancer won. That said, Sam Cowie is a beautiful performer and did deserve it. There won't be this category next year. I also thought that many of the experts were better than the instructors - maybe they have more time to practice their own stuff?

That said, I'm really looking forward to next year. UKAPP puts on a great show.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dear Pole Dancers - Re: Mallakhamb

I'm sure most pole dancers have seen this video by now. It's been passed round Facebook like made and made newspaper sites.

I love it. I'd kill to be that flexible, strong co-ordinated and have such lightning-fast transitions. Some of those drops make me want to jump on a pole and try them. What I don't love about the video is some of the commentary I've seen accompanying it (and I've seen quite a few instansiations of this comment):

'This is proof that pole dancing doesn't come from strip clubs!'

Which, is utter bullshit. The type of pole dancing that you, a woman/man in the Western world practice has come out of strip clubs. Most of the moves we do were invented/discovered by strippers. Yes, lots of the moves are similar, but there's only so many things that a human body can do. Yes, there is now a degree of exchange in moves (especially between pole dance and chinese pole - I know because I've been shown moves my a chinese pole performer and vice-versa).

That still doesn't mean that the influence on the pole dance you do isn't primarily from exotic dancers. How to test that? Name me the top Mallakhamb players. I've been doing pole for about 2 and half years, I can't name one. Name me top pole dancers who are current or former exotic dancers? We could be here for a while.

Rant over.

Monday, 9 August 2010

7 Month Stretching Progress

I've been posing this everywhere, so why not here?

I've been recording my stretching progress in photo form since early January (thanks to PoleJunkies). It's great as I get to see how much I've improved and things I need to work on. I've been planning to compile the photos and present them. Mostly they're stuck in a massive album on facebook.

So this is my starting flexibility compared with where I am now.

I am ridiculously pleased with a lot of this. My front splits are almost there, my box splits are actually improving (I didn't think they would) and I'm loving my backbends!

I've been stretching lots over the last two months as I've not been fit to pole or much else really. I had a monster 'flu (over 3 weeks of pain and fever) in June and then in July I had two separate impacted wisdom tooth extractions, which I'm only just healing from now. In that time I managed to make quite a bit of progress. I just need to keep it up :D

Friday, 2 July 2010

Have You Seen...?

The entries for the International Pole Dance Fitness Championship 2010? The videos of the semi-finalists are being posted regularly here.

There are some familiar names, but some who I've not come across before -and I'm really loving the variety as there are entries from all over the world. It's great to see so many amazing performers who are all quite different.

Apparently you can vote on who goes through some time in September/October. Will have to look into that, but it'll be a difficult choice!

They're really inspiring - makes me look forward to when I put my pole up again - hopefully this weekend.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Things I am Looking Forward To...

Post-flu that is.

1) Not constantly taking painkillers to keep my temperature down.

2) Wanting to eat.

3) Being able to eat.

4) Not being achey all the time.

5) Being able to do more than simple tasks.

6) Not sweating when I sleep.

7) Not waking up to fevers.

8) Having energy again.

9) Not coughing.

Eventually, getting back on the pole. I dread how weak I'll be.