It’s been a pretty wild ride since November’s training for California Pole Dance Championships. I immediately started choreography for Pacific Pole Championships straight afterwards. Now that PPC is over I have a moment to breathe!
Seeing all of the first time competitors at PPC made me giddy. I love seeing someone go out on stage for the first time and just ride the wave. One of the first performances I watched on Sunday was the Entertainment 4 Senior division. Thank yous are in order for Tilly Erikson and Jamers. Waking up at 7am isn’t that bad if the first performances to greet you include a Michael Jackson medley and a rendition of Singing in the Rain! I missed Tiffany W's performance because I was preparing for mine when she went. She danced to The xx's “Together” and I'm itching for that footage.
A HUGE congratulations to Margarita Evans and her winning pro-division piece. You shined so bright!
In the past few months I’ve learned a lot about vulnerability in my pieces. In my newest piece I really explored what I wanted the piece to say rather than trying to preemptively gauge the audience’s reactions with facial expressions. All of the negative emotions that I feel during competitions: inadequacy, intimidation, and fear; I wanted those to live in this piece. I think it was just the kind of catharsis that I needed after CPDC.
I’m asked a lot about how I come up with my pieces. A few of these I’ve answered in my competition preparation articles:
These are a few that aren’t. I’ll be making full-length articles to address them in the future.
Who does your choreography? My initial choreography and pole passes are all done by myself. I’m blessed to have pole champions Sergia Louise Anderson and Mary Kolacinski as my coaches. They work together to figure out what makes me look my best and also ways to increase the tension and fluidity in my pieces. I think this dovetails nicely into “What resources do I need to become a better dancer?”, and the easy answer is that it really does take a village.
How do you keep so calm on competition day? The day before, I try not to do anything related to the competition. This year I went to an aerial yoga class and took it really easy. Going to movies are also great. I eat a filling meal the night before, usually rice or pasta, so that I don’t accidentally forget to eat the day of. I pack my bag the night before so I don’t forget anything — this includes snacks. When I wake up, I drink a LOT of water to replenish, make a smoothie, and begin the day’s mental prep work. I try to remember that everyone else is just as nervous as I am and that we’re all friends. I also try to make the area backstage as friendly as possible; if someone forgot their grip aid, you bet your bottom that I’ll give you mine. I find that helping people and laughing keeps me together better than listening to my music over and over.
What tricks make it into your passes? (Additionally) How long do you train a trick for? If I haven’t had a few months of nailing the trick solid, I won’t put it in a routine. I plan bail out moves for everything. Preparation really means the difference between life and death when you’re 10+ feet off the ground. I take it very seriously.
I never would have thought that “I’m Too Sexy” would ever be a song I’d see a pole dance to. Margarita, you rock.
HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS, I BROUGHT HOME A GOLD MEDAL LAST NIGHT.
I get a lot of requests for my favorite pole products (grip aids, poles, shoes, shorts, etc) so I thought I’d make a nice little list for you guys. You can check it out here.
I recently discovered Heel to Toe Sloughing Lotion. Although it sounds counterintuitive to be putting on lotion before you pole, I’ve found that this stuff makes for excellent grip aid without drying out my already scaly skin. My post-pole skin is soft and smooth!
And here it is. My CPDC 2013 Neo Division performance.
This was the first time I didn’t feel satisfied after my performance; small hiccups here and there that never happened in rehearsals, unanticipated stage changes, and other stuff. However, I’m still proud of myself for making it into state championships and it was an honor to compete amongst such an amazing slate of talent. Many props to Margarita for her Neo win (SO well deserved!) and I can’t wait until her video comes out.
There’s a lot of creative editing in this video that makes the choreography a little hard to watch, as it was choreographed from the front — but it’s a very pretty video and nice momento from the comp.
My notes for next time and feedback from the judges included:
Character driven pieces work better for me and force me to think more creatively about my choreography, this piece could’ve been taken further.
Increase the technical difficulty of my trick passes.
More flow-based movements to balance my dynamic combos
Increase flexibility and learn to love flexibility-based tricks that make me look good. The ones in this piece weren’t my strongest.
Thanks Nadia and Anjel for this wonderful opportunity. I had so much fun and learned so much in this process. I’ll see everybody at PPC in March!
Sasja’s winning CPDC Routine is so hot.
My best run of my CPDC routine, filmed at The Vertitude. I’m still hunting for an official video from the competition. The performance day of I definitely feel didn’t match up to this run, but I’m honored to have been selected — the competition was super tough!
For this competition I wanted to work specifically on my musicality — less tricks more intentional movement and more character exploration. I think that really shows well in the choreography. I also got to work with Sergia, Mary, and Janet. They are amazing coaches.
Rachel Bowman and Brett Womack performing doubles corde de lisse is the stuff that dreams are made of
Yesterday was CPDC (California Pole Dance Championships), and I competed in the Neo Division. I didn’t place, but DAMN did everyone bring it! I’ve never seen a state competition at that level of difficulty anywhere.
I’m still trying to distill my thoughts into a more digestible blog post but here are my thoughts in bullet points:
The show started right on time; Nadia Shariff runs a tight ship — even in the midst of a venue AND time change.
Crystal Gibson brought a tent for everyone to chillout in backstage if they needed a quiet and comfortable place to gather their nerves. Where do you see that kind of camaraderie?!
My homegirl, Margarita Evans showed everyone what a beast she is by winning the Neo Division. What a fantastic and adorable routine! Also, thank you so much for the Miss Drusilla plug <3
Sasja Lee, YOU EFFING KILLLLEDDD ITTT. You deserve every fiber of your win. Bask in your glory, champ.
My routine would not have existed without Mary Kolacinski, Sergia Louise Anderson, and Janet Cee. Thank you so much for all your guidance, words of wisdom, and delicious hugs. I’m a little bummed about missing a section of floorwork (that was my favorite part of the routine!) but that just means I get to keep it for later, mwhaha!
My sponsor and pole matriarch, Diamond at The Secret Pole Dance Studio covered all my competition bills, costume cost, and studio time. Performance after performance this woman attends and rallies the troops for me. She is amazing.
Pole coaches, sound designers, and repeated audience members at The Vertitude — Ceeg Dee, Tiffany Jane, TJ, Tiffany Wong, and Chrissy, I have no idea how many times you watched my routine or yelled at me to see “more expression in my face” but I thank you for it. You guys are the best and my strongest support group.
My training buddy, Nyancy Ly is my rock. She matched my energy every practice, answered all of my late night text messages, and made funny Instagram videos with me. I love you, girl.