Competitions are hard. I’ll say that again. Competition are hard!
They take a huge toll on you financially, mentally and physically. But are they worth it? Hell yes! Taking to the stage and brining your ideas to life in front of a crowd is one of the most amazing, terrifying, and liberatingly addictive experiences. For those of you new to the competition scene, here are few of my top tips for getting competition ready.
Every competition is different. They have different criteria, different stage dimensions, number of poles, distance between poles, costume and music requirements, the list is endless! Get as much information from the competition organisers as you can before you start choreographing. If you’re unsure of something, just ask! Can you imaging creating the perfect 3-and-a-half-minute routine, only to find out they’re going to cut your music at 3 minutes! Preparation is key.
Pick your song, costume and theme early, and have a back up plan just in case. Most competitions wont let two competitors dance to the same song, so it’s a good idea to have something in mind before you apply, then get in early to secure your song choice. If you’ve ever been to a Pole Competition, you’ve probably noticed the most memorable routines have a solid theme which is carried throughout by the song, costume and the chorography. While it can be tempting to dance to a song you absolutely love, it will pay to delve a little deeper and develop a character to portray on stage.
Get your costume organised as quickly as possible, and practice it in! You don’t have to wear it for every training session, but enough to ensure no potential malfunctions on the night. If you’re planning to get a spray tan or have your hair or make up professionally done, book those appointments early and check with competition organisers to ensure you’re allowed to have a make up artist backstage. If you’ve never performed with a tan before, it’s a good idea to get a ‘practice tan’ to test which grip products work with your body, the tan and the pole.
Try to get your chorography done as early as possible, if you’re struggling, ask for help! You’re not alone in your competition journey, chat to your teachers, your friends, or even reach out to your pole idols, you never know what wisdom they’ll be able to bestow. That being said, don’t feel like you have to take everyone’s advice all the time. While all advice is generally well meaning, not all of it is going to work for you. Don’t be afraid to disregard anything you don’t feel comfortable with, after all, it’s your performance.
Commit to a training schedule and find someone to help keep you accountable. The more you run your routine, the more comfortable you will be with the choreography and the more you can focus on enjoying the experience. Run your routine from start to finish, without stopping, even if you stuff up. On the night you wont be able to stop the music and start again, so its worthwhile being prepared for things to not always go to plan.
Make a list of everything you will need and pack your bag the day before. Be mindful of your run through time, you don’t want to miss it. Keep hydrated and bring snacks, stretch, breathe and trust me, all the training and the nerves will be worth it for that moment on stage.