3rd Place Finish (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Dance)

Jan 11, 2013


Over the past weekend, I competed in the Head Over Heels Grand Finale, hosted by my beloved studio Aradia Fitness.


To qualify for the Grand Finale, you needed to participate in one of the two preliminary rounds in either the Basic or Anything Goes categories. Both categories are open to students only--no instructors or professionals are permitted to compete. Basic requires that all your head stay above your hips for all your on-the-pole moves. This rules out inverting, handstands on the pole, etc. Anything Goes means...well...anythign goes! You can do any moves you want.


I participated in the Basic Category back in August. This was my second ever performance and while it went well, it was not the performance I wish I could have done.  I did the same spin several times and forgot a section.  Regardless, I managed to win 3rd.


Afterwards, I spent a while convincing myself that I was going to win HoH over all and I was going to be amazing and...well...managed to put enough pressure on myself that I considered not doing it at all.  I packed my finale routine with 6 moves that I couldn't even do insisting that I would 'get them all' by the time HoH rolled around. I didn't practice. I didn't even think about it. I told myself I was working on being flexy (I wasn't) and eating better (mm, Cheetos) and would have PLENTY of time.


I didn't.


It took a change in thinking and talking to my husband.  He warned me that I was concentrating too much on winning and not on dancing. I told him he was stupid and I was awesome and that was the end of that.




I went back and looked at my score sheets.  I got high marks on most things except technique and difficulty.  I got great comments about how bubbly and happy I looked and the story that my dance told.  It made me happy.  And it made me realize that I'm not a mature dancer and that hey--maybe I won't win this time.


I went back to my choreo and took out half the moves.  I concentrated on the hood ornament (figurehead in Veena's lessons), embrace, learning the merry-go-round spin (or angel) on spiny (which I'd never used before), the Juliet spin, and a couple other moves that I wanted to perfect.


I took the criticisms that I'd gotten the last time and chose to work on those elements--namely, technique.  My routine became about extending into the moves and fully realizing them.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't just do each move and then leap into the next one, but I wanted to lengthen and extend into them.  Each major move became a deep pool in the stream that I envisioned my routine as.  A place to pause and relish.


So, okay. I had a really great routine unlike anything I'd done before (I'm more the sassy,flirty, shake it kind of girl.) and I felt GOOD about it. My music was amazing, my routine was amazing.


A couple weeks before the performance, I had a music meltdown and almost changed everything.  I ended up listening to the CD that the song is off of (oh, the song is Machines of Loving Grace's Butterfly Wings) and calmed down.  I fell back in love with my song and was happy. (TBH--this was a lot more drama than one paragraph can describe. Maybe I'll talk more about it later.)


I also worked a lot with the other girls at the studio. There were 3 of us in Basic and 1 in Anything Goes. We got together, went over our routines, hung out, and gave each other a lot of advice. Everyone really wanted everyone to do their best dance and it really reflected in the way we helped each other.


At the same time...


I'm not a very secure person sometimes. I would watch the other girls with their routines and be very impressed with their technique and the difficult moves they knew that I has chosen not to pursue. At the same time, I was also failing to test out of my current pole level and started to spiral into a bit of depression around my perceived failures. I felt like I was failing at everything I wanted to do and my routine was going to suck. I didn't want to show it to anyone...but finally, I showed it to one of my favorite pole people (Ms. Glitterhips, of course) and she gave me some really nice compliments that I felt like I'd not heard for a while. She gave me some suggestions, and it really helped me get over the rut I felt I was in.


As effervescent and self-reliant as I can appear to be, I thrive on the approval and compliments of people I respect and admire. Hearing some nice, targeted advice and compliments helped me regain my confidence and I was ready again to throw myself at the routine.


This was, of course, a week before the performance!


On the day of, I really wasn't nervous. I felt crazy confident. I had this amazing costume that lit up and I felt GOOD about everything. My expectation wasn't to place, but just do to everything that I'd set out to.  Run a clean routine that had strong technical moves, and that got across the emotion I wanted.


So, what was my routine? The song itself goes "Don't place faith in human beings; human beings are unreliable things. Don't place faith in human beings--human beings or butterfly wings." So, my story was that I was a cyborg who had rejected her humanity in favor of the machine aspects. Into he middle of the song, it slows and says "There's something burning deep inside I know--there's something inside this hole". I came out of a spin then, on my back and during the little interlude, I tried to portray the struggle that she was suddenly having between the machine and the human.


Then, back to static and the plan was to rip parts of my costume off, and then shut off the lights and 'die' at the end. This didn't come across too well, I don't think, cause the stage was too brightly lit for my lights to show up well.


Anyway, I was so happy with myself.  Beyond happy.  Ecstatic. I saw some other performances and was really amazed at how much everyone had improved. You could feel the excitement and desire.


At the end, I won 3rd with 103 points. The girl who won second got 104 points.  I'll be honest--I thought my routine was better than hers, but she did a wonderful job and was super adorable.


The best part was getting my scores back. I got high marks on everything I wanted. Technicality, artistry, showmanship...I got low marks on difficulty (my lowest score on all three sheets), which pleased me actually. It was what I expected and I was happy that I succeeded in the areas I wanted to and did a good dance.


In the end? I feel amazing and like I prepared properly. I'm so happy to have won, but more than that, I'm happy with what I learned.  I *can* compete in a healthy way and I am not mature enough for a 'serious' and 'dramatic' routine, haha. We'll stick with the flirty, funny, exciting for now.  I am planning on doing at least one filmed freedance per month with a particular theme to help myself grow to be more serious.



Head Over Heels Preliminary Round 3rd Place: [www.youtube.com]


Head Over Heels Grand Finale 3rd Place: [www.youtube.com]


You can see the rest of the videos from the grand finale here: [www.youtube.com]


Autumn Sky Paid MemberOne of my favorite things about pole dancing is it gives each person a chance to be who they are. I must say you are one of my favorite performers(and not just because you are in my class). When you perform you look like you are really enjoying yourself and having fun, and for me, that's what pole dancing is all about. Your ability to bring the funness to the stage is enjoyable to watch. You have a lot to be proud of, and I looked forward to your one a month filmed freedance!
Jan 11, 2013
CapFeb:) definitely one of the more passionate performances I've seen. I admire your ability to connect with your music so well, as I tend to get lost.
Jan 11, 2013
Juliana DentataGreat song choice! <3 I loved your emotion, it really came through. I admired how deliberate some of your moves were, it is so hard for me to not dance like a maniac to a faster paced song lol
Jan 12, 2013
AliciaPolerinaI seriously just came to the sane realizatin, and went through the same thing as you! Congrats on a routine well done! For the love of the dance!
Jan 12, 2013
The rotator cuff stuff is exactly what my chiro told me to do: he is going to be so happy I'm looking after my shoulders and building strength safely on both sides :)
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