Last weekend was the Midlands Pole Championships finals, held on 7th April at Festival Hall in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. This was my second competition in the professional category, which I always find very daunting as I am competiting against dancers whose livelihood is pole and own their own studios. Although I pole as much as I can, and instruct at the University of Essex Pole Dancing Club for 6 hours a week, I would not consider myself a professional, and in comparison to the other competitors, my experience is much more limited. However, it also makes me feel very privileged to be competing in such a category, as I would never have imagined that I would have done so when I first began pole dancing.
It was a really long day, especially as I was the last performer on in the last category, but it was great to catch up with friends and enjoy everything the event had to offer. I managed to get a bit of shopping in at the stalls, and watch the majority of the other categories, although I never watch my own category as its too much for my nerves to handle. As the day went on I found myself feeling more and more nervous, but more than anything I was excited to get on the stage, feel the buzz and show everyone how far I had come as a pole dancer. The last time I competed in the Midlands area, (where I am from) my performance was dreadful, I missed most of my tricks and nearly fell at the end, then cried my heart out backstage as I was so gutted that my opportunity to show my friends and family what I have achieved didn’t pan out the way I had hoped, so this to me was also about the chance to have a second go at it and show my progression.
My routine was to a song called ‘Storm’ by the band Life house, and it is a very slow and emotional song. I enjoy doing routines to songs like this, as its allows me to give my choreography a flow, embrace the elements of dance and interact with the audience. I am the first to admit that in comparison to others in my category my tricks are not as impressive, and the technical element of my routines lack a lot of what would be expected from a professional routines, such as dead lifts, the splits and a like. I do however, strongly believe that I can perform well and that other elements of my routines such as composition and performance are done well, which is something that I really try to make the most of in my routines. For me, if I do not feel that I can do a certain move well in any circumstance, such as when nervous on stage, when the poles aren’t too grippy or when I am tired, I will not put it into my routine. This is obviously a personal preference, and the reason why I do this is that its helps reduce the nerves before the show, as I know I can perform all the tricks I have put in, and also means that I am less likely to be unable to perform something in particular on the day, but also means that I can focus on making things as close to perfect as possible instead of just getting them at all on the stage. This is what works for me, and means that I am usually very proud of a routine regardless as to whether or not I place.
My actually performance went really well. I managed to get in all my moves, minus my cartwheel from the floor which I messed up due to not having enough momentum so it just kind of flopped! I even managed to smile at the audience, which I find particularly hard as I am not someone who manages to do a big smile without looking extremely creepy. A video of my performance is available here: Sophie Logan performance.
When the results was announced I was obviously disappointed that I didn’t place 1st or runner up, but the talent was just so impressive. I did however place 4th, which is even more comforting to know that the difference in my score that those of the woman who won 1st place was incredibly small. To me that is very encouraging to know that I am not far behind and that maybe one day I will make it to 1st place! I was also blown away but the judges feedback. Not only did I core 39.4 out of 50 but I also had some wonderful comments, which not only gave me advice on what to work on but complemented me on my routines and my performance. My main criticism was that my legs needed to be completely straight during inverts and that they would have liked to have seen some more difficult moves in my routine, which I completely recognise myself and are things which I will be working on to improve.
Although I didn’t place, I can not explain enough how much I feel that I benefit from competing. Not only do I get to meet some amazing people but for me it is a chance to put everything I have done into action. And if I don’t like the results then it just shows me that I need to work on things more until I can sit back and watch my routine with a smile on my face.