Last week our University club competed in an annual tradition called ‘Derby Day’ where our University (Essex) competes against out ‘rivals’ University of East Anglia. Sports club from each University battle it out to win points for their University, and the one with the most points by the end of the day’s events wins the trophy. This year it was hosted at UEA, but each year it is swapped in between the two Universities. This was our first year ever of having pole dancing as part of the competition, which meant that our clubs results were as important as any of the other clubs. We competed in beginners, intermediate and advanced category, and the scores were added together so that a University total would be given. Judges were external to ensure that their scoring was not biased and Bendy Kate was performing before the results.
It was a big deal for me that we were part of the Universities annual tradition, as we were given the same opportunity to gain points for our University, the same as the more traditional sports such as football and hockey. For me personally it was a positive development for the club to be able to compete to represent the University and showed that we had come a long way since the negative views people had when I first set up the club during my fresher’s year.
I was competing in the advanced category, which we had previously agreed was acceptable despite me being the instructor at the club as their University also had a similar teaching structure. It was very weird to be competing against two other members of the club, but everyone was very supportive of each other and our main aim was to win as an overall University and any individual wins would just be a bonus. I was the last on and my performance was well received. Many different students from our University came in to watch, so it was a great opportunity to show them what we do. I am being careful not to say too much about my routine as it is the routine I am using in my next competition, the Midlands pole championships on 7th April. It was however a great chance to see what worked and didn’t work so well in my routine, and I have since edited it and I now can’t wait to perform it in April.
I am very proud to say not only did I win the advanced category and that many of our members also placed, but we won the overall best University by over 40 marks! This meant we gained the points for our University and had great success individually. This success was even more meaningful when our University lost to UEA, and that we were one of the few clubs who had won our respective competition!
Unfortunately I will not be at University next year, but hopefully we started the pole dancing clubs journey through Derby day on a positive note, and we will be continue to be successful in other years. And I have to admit, sitting there and watching people who less than 6 months ago I introduced to the pole and began to teach, made me feel like a proud mother watching her children on the stage. I am so proud of them and what they have achieved, and can’t wait to see the club go from strength to strength in years to come.