Unethical competitions

 
amy
People give blood, sweat and tears to submitting and competing. However, some of those competitions out there today, even the most popular, are run by unscrupulous organizations that show blatant favoritism and inconsistent applications of rules and regulations, creating an unfair and non-level competing playing field. Some issues are lack of transparency in submission criteria, accepting some submissions after the deadline has passed, a lack of transparency about how judging is scored, a lack of transparency on posted scores, and math errors in competitors scorecards.

Do we continue to support those organizations? This is a conversation that needs to move from the shadows into public forums if we can hope to encourage change. Organizations need to be accountable for their actions to the members that they serve.

I've started a conversation on Facebook here (add me as a friend if you haven't already): [www.facebook.com]

...but I think it's important to involve as many polers as possible in this discussion. What do you Svers think?
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
amy
I will add that I myself don't plan on entering competitions because it's simply not for me, but I see these issues affecting friends, peers, and those who I respect. So it becomes an issue that matters to me.

If you have concerns that you don't feel comfortable posting, send me a message and I will post for you, anonymously.
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
amy
I am posting this on behalf of a member who would like to chime in but is concerned about openly expressing her opinion.

"When USPDF started their competitions, the judges they used (some of which are still current judges) had almost zero pole experience. They were dancers. The scoring sheet they provided to the ladies competing was used as loose guidelines. They never posted scores or videos until JUST NOW. I am curious how a competition like this has such sway over our community. We have so many other competitions that have a better understanding of scoring criteria, provide scores, and allow videos to be posted on youtube. USPDF doesn't do that. In fact, when scores WERE provided last year, the scores were not added up correctly. I hate to do this because I know she is a "Pillar" of our pole community, but please watch this video with an unbiased eye. I would expect our USPDF winner to not fall out of poses and stumble to the next one, which is why I think this video has been kept locked in a box for the past 2 years.
[www.youtube.com]
I feel that if there was a competition that we were trying to use as a standard in the US, it would definitely not be this one. There needs to be a standard scoring system. We need judges that have a strong background in POLE DANCE. We need scores to be added correctly. We need our Judges to be Unbiased and they should not be able to accept competitors simply because they all dance at the same studio. Also, there were videos posted two days past the deadline, and this is Unacceptable she works with them at the same studio along with a couple other people that have placed in this comp in the past that may not have been properly placed simply because they are friends."
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
LillyBilly

Can't see the facebook discussion or youtube video...
May 28, 2012 from Israel
LillyBilly

I think it's a site bug...
May 28, 2012 from Israel
amy
The YouTube link is


[www.youtube.com]


The Facebook link works if you are my friend. To add me go to my profile

[www.facebook.com]
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Charley

So here is my open question to the community.  What can be done if we feel that competitions are being run unethically?  USPDF is not the only competition to come under scrutiny in the past with allegations of misdoings.  What do we do about it?  How do we solve the problem?

I urge all dancers and hopeful competitors to do their research on an organization or organizer.  Please get clear answers and criteria in advance of auditioning. 

It's important that we as pole dancers do not allow oursleves to be held "hostage" by organizations that are here to serve us.  Organizations have to be responsible to US and answer to US if they want us to support their events financially.  Organizers should be readily available to answer questions and provide those answers to the public no matter what kind of an event it is.  I realize people are human and may miss some communication but when good questions are asked those answers need to be made public.

I want to see clarity and transperancy.  I never want to see a competitor accepted into a competition then later removed, I don't want to see what looks to be inconsistant behaviour and perhaps partiality towards certain competitors.  i understand this is hard because we are such a small community and many of us are friends with organizers and judges but we must maintain some type of ethical behaviour.

So many of us are so desperate to be accepted into a competition that we don't qualify the competition to see if it is the right thing for us.  How many have tried out for a competition simply because it was accepting submissions without being clear as to what the competition is lookig for?  I have.  I tried out for a tricks competition with a dance video (lol!)  Just because a comeptition exists doesn't mean it's the right competition for you.  I will never be a mega trickster so competitions looking for someone like that are not cup a tea.  Some comeptitions are looking for dancers, others looking for overall great performances with no weight on dance or tricks but an even scoring balance of the two.

The community needs to find a balance.  Organizers should be clear, prospective competitors have the burden of meeting criteria on time.  We all need to be clear and fair with one another. If you miss a deadline and the organizer won't accept your entry - understand that and move on - don't argue.  If you are an organizer with a deadline - enforce it and be sure that it is clearly stated for everyone to know what it is.  If you are accepted into a competition you shouldn't be removed from it based on where you are employed.  If you are putting on a competition be clear about the requirements and competitors study and read those requirements, ask questions when you aren't sure, don't assume anything.  Organizers - please respond to questions in a timely fashion, specifically questions that could effect the outcome of either the selection process or winner of a competition.  Prospective competitors - don't get upset and bitter against an organization because you weren't chosen.  

Everyone needs to be treated equally whether you are Felix Cane or a newbie pole dancer who had your first lesson today.  

I see so much drama surrounding the idea of comeptitions.  Those who submit get upset when they weren't chosen, sometimes people try to barter for an extension on their submission, etc, etc, etc.  I see comeptitions that are surrounded with allegations of things like mistreatment of comepetitors to unfair scoring to special favor being given to certain prospective competitors. It all has to stop but I have no solutions.  It makes me really sad.
May 28, 2012 from Royal Oak, Michigan, United States
LillyBilly

Lol! I see bugs everywhere :)

Sorry, webmaster!
May 28, 2012 from Israel
Dayanara

It is  a tough question, trying to boycott these competitions would only divide the community more, they still have friends and other polers that want to participate. Maybe if there is a letter directed to the organizers, with many many signatures from pole dancers, studio owners, etc. asking the key questions, bringing up the all the ethical concerns, asking for clear answers and a transparent competition, maybe they will come forward and work towards fixing these problems?   At some point the pole community has to stop taking this organization seriously, they have instructors that work in their studio competing, that right there is a big red flag, the host studio/organization should NOT let their employees enter the competition, that's just not right, at some point the titles given in these competitions have to stop meaning anything.
May 28, 2012 from Canada
Black Orchid

I find this discussion very interesting. I am planning on entering a couple of competitions, with misgivings about one but just hoping for the best because it might still be a good entree for me into the world of pole comp.

I didn't know there were all these issues around USPDF. It's a shame because even with all the drama, people are on tenterhooks about who's gotten accepted and there is definite cachet to winning a title here, more than any pole comp. that I know of right now.

All I can say is that now that the comp is three(?) years old maybe the organisers can step back to hear this feedback to clean up the confusion over deadlines and make their judging process more transparent. I have noticed that they have been posting a lot about what they are looking for technically on their FB page along with videos to help that out. But I guess the question about who the judges are and how they are judging remains an issue.

As for the video that was linked to, yes I noticed the couple of fumbles but I thought it was a theatrical and powerful performance. Without knowing how everyone else was scored in the compulsory & performance rounds, I bet it was a combo of how charismatic that routine was PLUS whatever happens in the moment in a comp. I watched a totally different comp. last year and I know several women who I expected to place that didn't...because they fumbled their compulsory round and these are technically amazing tricksters.

I agree that as consumers of the pole culture we should be empowered to step away from unhealthy practices wherever they are. SO we should do our research before deciding to support a competition with our blood, sweat, tears, time and money. I'm just not sure all of our decisions will be the same ones.
May 28, 2012 from San Antonio, Texas, United States
Kira

 


I'm a rookie at competitions - I've done 4 and already I've been put down and out by these competitions - ranging from rubbish venue/pole safety procedures, inadequate care for competitors, host not knowing who's performing next and the list goes on. I've heard a lot of rumours of winners being rigged because a sponser wants that person to advertise their brand because they have the right look or do the right tricks. But this is all from what my peers say to me and teachers/polers I respect and I struggle to keep track of which competition is actually 'safe' to enter and what isn't as there seems to be a brand new competition every month.

Tbh I don't have a clue how this can all be governed or regulated, everything is a shambles right now. Even competitions with all the independent groups that claim to unify all pole schools, provide universal pole move names and etcetc. are rubbish, it seems to be another 'badge' for organisers of crap competitions to stick on their posters and hide behind. 

Maybe there could be a handbook for those that want to host/organise their own competition - recommended audition stages, how many competitors to allow (I was in 1 where there were 5 beginners, 5 intermediates and 25 advanced competitors...) and a concise score sheet depending on what type of competiton it is (tricks based, dance based etc). But... yeah, can't see everyone agreeing to being told how to run a competition.

May 28, 2012 from Up North, England, United Kingdom
Rena LadyBug

Last year I was HIGHLY disappointed w/ USPDF and decided I would no longer support them.  I'll support the competitors and wish them all well, but I wont give USPDF another dime!! Even if that means I dont go to the competitions that I'd love to see, or go to workshops where USPDF is hosting them.  One of my biggest problems (up until recently) was the conflict of interest w/ the judges.  I would think the judges would be willing to take a step back and allowing others to judge who are not affiliated w/ their studio so their students and instructors can compete without the drama.  I had a hard time understanding how some of the girls were picked to be top 3 over some of the others.  I had seen errors and sloppiness and when I questioned it someone told me she had done a lot of hard tricks... Um I don't care how hard the tricks are, if they are not executed properly then what is the point of doing them? I understand you will run into grip issues and what not, but when you allow one to make these errors while others performed equally hard tricks w/o flaws it just doesn't seem fair? Or if someone has a flawless basic routine and places over someone who had a flawless difficult routine? Maybe it's me, but I don't see the logic in the judging, it seems like it is just personal opinion! I would LOVE for there to be a set bases on which it was judged, heck even if there is a set # of points based on stage presence/karisma (sp?)...  But then again this year I was reminded of why I have issues w/ this organization!!! Seeing how applicants were allowed to submit after the deadline and were even accepted is 100% unacceptable!!
May 28, 2012 from Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Kobajo84

I'd just like to know- when did we start validating our worth by competitions?  There are plenty of really good dancers out there that don't compete.  I just can't wrap my head around the fact that competitions in the pole community define a dancer and their success.  I don't care how many titles or competitions someone has won.  It means nothing to me other than a fun event that person choose to participate in.  You choose to be in a competition or you don't.  I think if you're choosing to compete you need to educate yourself and be aware of what you're getting yourself into.  Big name competitions are nothing more than just a show.  You're going there to perform/watch performers- expect to see a good show.  Notoriety sells tickets and fills the empty seats.  I think if people are going to be that upset over what competitions and their organizations have become in the community, they should realize it's only worth how much attention/power you give it.  The drama stopped being entertaining a long time ago when it comes to controversial issues within the community.  I personally don't support any of the hoopla in the community. I don't have the time nor do I have the patience to be bothered by it anymore. 
May 28, 2012 from Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
amy
Koba, I respect your opinion but the events around us shape our community and whether or not I personally enter a competition, they impact the lives of those around us and those we care about. Without judging those who want to be in a competition, or what their motives are, they are not at fault nor should they be penalized for the lack of integrity in competitions now.

A lot of people say that they don't like politics or the drama of elections, so they don't vote. Those people HURT our country. Ignorance, for me, is not bliss. I want things to change for the better for everyone in pole, and I don't want to sit by while things like this happen. I just cant stomach that. It may be drama to some but the first step in creating REAL change are these open conversations and discussions about what is wrong. So many new pole dancers don't know anything about these problems and they are disillusioned when they are exposed to it. We need to change this or we will all have to deal with it, continually.
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
FreeTheSun

These same comments can be (and have been) voiced about tons of competitions worldwide. MPD Australia is one that I know of for sure. It's a Bobbi's Studio production through and through. Other studios can and do compete but there is a lot of drama surrounding it as well about favoratism (yes, all their instructors compete, I think I recall hearing it was required as part of their employment, and, thus far, first place has always gone to one of their instructors) and biased judging criteria, etc.

Does it mean I don't enjoy MPD Oz? No, but people have to remember that competitions organized and run by someone(s) with a studio will always have some bias, regardless of how much they try to avoid it. The only way not to have bias is to have no studio run it, but whose going to offer to do that whose not affiliated with a studio since most competitions aren't big money makers. Plus, what studio would be willing to run a comp and ban their instructors from competeting. Competeting (and winning) instructors build names for themselves, which makes more people aware of the studio, which brings in more students.

In the case of qualified judges. With pole being an organized activity for such a short time, finding qualified judges is hard. Now, not as hard, but still not easy (especially if you're trying to avoid bias).

As several people have said, it's important to do your research when going for a competition about the criteria, their policies, potential negatives you have to just accept if you agree to support that competition through entering or attending Just because a competition exists and is a "big name" doesn't mean it's right for you as a viewer or competitor.
May 28, 2012 from Virginia
aliceBheartless

I think it gets frustrating for people because when we say educate yourself about the competition, there is no way to educate yourself for bias. Know that it's there, but nowhere in any competition's requirements/rules/application does it say "don't worry about making our deadlines, ignore our submittal requirements, our judges only want to see (fill in the blank)" etc.

I know it has been said that this is swept under the rug in lots of competitions, but that shouldn't mean that we as a community should be ok with that. I think this is a chance to work for positive change. It should not be chance to belittle, attack, etc organizations or competitors. I think we all understand that. Because this does affect the pole community at large. Especially in the sense of it being more accessible to those outside the community AND each and every bid to make pole seen as a sport on the global stage, whether that's a personal goal for anyone, or not. 
May 28, 2012 from California, United States
Mary Ellyn

Not certain I should get involved in this discussion since I organize a competition myself but...I am going to say a few things because, in the interest of being open and transparent, I AM open to people discussing any concerns they have with me about my event.

For those who don't know me well - I have never been a fan of the concept of competing because I feel that competitions are all about the "me" and not about the "us". Strangely I was convinced to run the Midwest Competition - which this year we are also hosting the North American Championships.

There was a huge discussion among a number of people on Facebook a couple of weeks ago about unethical competitions and organizers. This IS going to happen within any industry. But the problem CONTINUES because people continue to enter the competitions.

It really isn't our responsibility to support or not support the competitions or the organizers or the comeptitors themselves. The buck stops with those who enter the competitions and the showcases. It is up to the community to not enter competitions just because they feel they have no other means to showcase their skills or to experience a competition.

If you want things to change, stop participating and just wait it out until the right event comes along or organize one yourself.


FYI: People ARE listening, even if you don't hear about it - yet! You will all be seeing information soon about a large group of people in the pole community who are starting the ground work to set standards within the community for competitions.

However, no one can stop anyone else from forming competitions if they don't want to adhere to the recommended standards. So again - it's up to the community to enter or not enter such events.

 
May 28, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

Look a few threads down regarding the Alethea DVDs that just hit and then ask again WHY people enter contests.  I personally have a Karol tshirt and an Alethea hoodie.  We all knew who Karol was because of youtube but NO ONE knew who Alethea was before that first USPDF competition.  Are they making a lot of money touring?  Probably not but there IS money involved.  If either of them had not placed would you buy their merchandise?  Would you book a workshop?  At this point in the game it is branding your name and USPDF is probably the most known competition in the US.

 

I have heard things about different competitions.  No competition is going to be perfect, but what makes one stand above the other is taking that criticism and using it to grow instead of using it to tear the community apart.  We may not have the big name studios but I think the Midwest has the most ethically run competition.
May 28, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
amy
I am posting this on behalf of someone who would like to remain anonymous.

"Awhile back Alethea Austin took it upon herself to write a scathing review of Platinum Stages's Star Stand Alone Pole because she is a voice in the community that will be listened to. The Pro's have leverage int he community and if a pro wants to speak for "us" then she should do so in this matter as well. Instead of worrying about her 2nd Championship title why doesn't she put her money where her mouth is and speak up for those who have been done wrong by the USPDF. Extending a deadline but not publicly announcing is not fair. Allowing LATE entries into a highly respected competition is unfair to those who followed the rules by either submitting on time or not submitting at all. If these Pro's want to be pillars in our community they they also should serve our community and make the USPDF do what is right even if that means dropping out. If enough Pro's made a statement we would all be heard as we were in the Platinum Stages debacle. This community should not support leaders who support unscrupulous tactics and nepotism in competitions. Not only should we boycott the competition, we should boycott those who support by competing in it. There are those in the community who would relinquish their coveted spot to do the right thing. If pro's want our money they should respect us and stand up for us. We should not continue to support anyone involved in this kind of unfairness, it speaks volumes about their ethics and how they feel about us as a community. We should be seen as dancer's and people not dollar bills."
May 28, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Porshka

Amy,

I am just wondering, is someone else actually writing this, and you are just letting them post it under your ID, or are these words yours and you are saying them but because you want to stand up for them (so to speak)?  Is the other party also on this site?

 
May 29, 2012 from Midwest
LizzyLiz810

I am wondering why soooo many people submitted past the deadline? Do they not respect the rules or fellow entrants? Everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions. Uspdf should stick to their guns and make no exceptions, and the polers should respect the deadline. Everyone had months to submit. Why people wait till the very last second is strange to me...both parties are wrong!! 
May 29, 2012 from Pomona, California, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

As to the not submitting early part, I can kind of see that because you don't necessarily want other competitors seeing what you submitted and possibly trying to out do you.  It is just a twisted view but this is probably the reason.  As for the rules, USPDF did not have the time actually in the submission rules section.  It was posted as a response when somone asked a question on the site and then in subsequent requests for clarification they never responded.

 

Here is a link to the guidelines:[uspoledance.com]

 

Here is the info for the submission dates.  [uspoledance.com]

 

And Porshka, Amy wrote this at the beginning: If you have concerns that you don't feel comfortable posting, send me a message and I will post for you, anonymously.
May 29, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
amy
Porshka, that is the opinion of someone who is a member of this site, not mine. She asked me to post it anonymously, so I did.
May 29, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Csedlak
I am sad to hear this! :(

I do have to give a shoutout to pacific pole championships created by bj pettigrew and Amy guion. That was a competition executed amazingly and had a fair judging system in place with legitimate pole dancers as judges.
May 29, 2012
Csedlak
I am sad to hear this! :(

I do have to give a shoutout to pacific pole championships created by bj pettigrew and Amy guion. That was a competition executed amazingly and had a fair judging system in place with legitimate pole dancers as judges.
May 29, 2012
Mary Ellyn

I'd like to point out that the Pole Dance Community has a set of standards - or Code of Conduct as we call it - for events which includes competitions:

[www.poledancecommunity.com]

 

Any PDC approved event must comply with the code of conduct. This doesn't mean that events which are NOT PDC approved are not ethical but this is a place for people to start. The thing is there is no requirement for any competition or event organizer to follow any guidelines or criteria.

However, when the pole community in general supports groups like this they grow and have more influence in the community.
May 29, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
REDKE71

wow, i just want to say that i, and a few others, feel personally attacked here. :(  I have nothing to do with the way USPDF picks submissions or handles their submission process.  Do i agree that the deadline wasnt specified as well as it should have been in the info provided on the website, rather than in a reply to a comment at the bottom? YES.  Do i think its wrong to allow late submissions, if that was the case? YES. Do i think that there needs to be a bit more transparency in the judging system? YES. Is it my place as a "pro" to boycott the competition, or drop out after ive already signed the paperwork, and completely shit on the organization that has given me, and this community so much recognition and validation? NO. This is only USPDF's 3rd year, and now the whole "organization" only consists of Wendy now since Anna has stepped away to do other things. Bottom line, pole dancing and USPDF and all these other competitions and organizations are still in their infancy when you really think about it.  They are constantly changing and modifying and trying to make things better for the competitors. Why do i enter USPDF instead of other competitions? Money, yes.  Because the prize money that is available to win. (which alot of these other competitons dont offer such a large cash prize. If you think we all wanted to win USPDF to tour and make money, youre mistaken.  Yes, the notoriaty that comes with the title makes that possible, but i have worked my butt off to build my name in the pole community, and im not RICH by ANY means, alot of times i work almost for free! When i started touring, it wasnt because i won East Coast and i set out to get studios to hire me, no.. they contacted me.  Prize money and all that aside, travel wise, its the easiest for me to get to.. I wouldve loved to enter the Pacific Pole competition that just went on, but like alot of these newer comps, i found out about it too late, and was already busy or booked on the date the comp was to be held, and wouldve been very costly for me to fly out, get a hotel, etc. Bottom line is, im feeling pretty shat on right now.  I love this pole community, and its not USPDF that has made me who i am, its all of my hard work, dedication, sacrifice, blood, sweat, broken toes, tears, support and most of all, YOU, my fans, friends, and community.
May 29, 2012 from Concord, North Carolina, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

If this was in response to my post Karol please re-read what I wrote.  I did not state that there was big money involved, nor did I state that USPDF was making you rich.  I stated that it is the most well recognized competition and making it in that comp does get your name out there; it opens doors that would not have been open.  This is one of the reasons people still and always will submit to competitions.
May 29, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
Mary Ellyn

Karol...please realize that a lot of us are not attacking YOU or ANYONE! For some of us it's just discussing the way to effectively deal with concerns if people have them. I for one am pretty sorry at how negative some of the comments have turned.

On Facebook someone has said that when they arise concerns should be directed to organizers of competitions and I agree with that whole heartedly! Which is why I stated I am trying to be open to communication with people about my event and hopefully other organizers feel the same.

However, it's a bit sad this morning to see the hurt feelings of many of the competitors who didn't deserve this! :(
May 29, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
REDKE71

chloe, no that was not a response to your comment, but to this thread as a whole, in particular the "anonymous" comments..  Im sad that people are posting "anonymously" that alethea shouldnt have won 2010.  Who are you to say that she didnt get a higher score in her compulsory and beat me that year by half a point? I had a flawless compulsory, and a couple misgrabs in my optional. I recall everyone having slip ups and misgrabs.

 

Its like having a best friend, and you overhear them talking trash about you to someone else, when all the while this is someone who you love and respect as your friend. :(
May 29, 2012 from Concord, North Carolina, United States
LizzyLiz810

People are being so hypocritcial. They are crying about fairness, well, why did so many submit past the deadline? They arent respecting the rules, or other entrants. 

If the pole community wants fair competitions, they need to be respectful of the deadlines as well, and not put the organizers in this situation. If the entrants respected the deadline, there would be no issue right now. 
May 29, 2012 from Pomona, California, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

In all fairness, entrants were allowed to post their video to facebook also.  We do not know if this was the case in the questioned videos (posted first to FB and then to YT).  What is the case is a non-response, thus causing a lot of speculation.
May 29, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
Michelle Stanek

 

This is all so craaay. It's hard to not feel attacked and, well, simply, have hurt feelings listening to all the hate. Many people are so quick to pick apart every mistake uspdf is making before they have even rolled out all the amateur finalist announcements :-(  I think there was so much viral negativity and doubt bred online after last year's competition and those scruples are still lingering. Because of that, and our optimisitc and wonderful community, I think there was hope for things to be better and more clear this year. The second something looked a bit fishy...BOOM!

 

The "anonymous" comment about boycotting the pros and not giving them any more money because we choose to participate in this competition (and are therefore unethical people) was the worst. That's food on my table and judgment on my character. I compete in uspdf and other competitions and dance with companies and at events because i love to pole dance! I do it for me. That's why we are all there. I mean, not for ME, but for ourselves ;-)

 

I do believe progress and change will happen. 
May 29, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
gina77
That 2010 routine of Alethea's was AWESOME! I dont see where she "stumbled" at all.. sounds like sour grapes (hateration) to me!

Every organization has their stars that sell & bring more attention to that organization.. hell, my high school wanted a specific girl to be valedictorian (sp?) & did whatever it took to make sure she was.. thats life!
May 29, 2012 from Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Ember

Ladies, this conversation is getting way out of hand.  The title of this post is "Unethical Competitions" not "Unethical Competitiors"  There is no reason to be offended.  USPDF basically makes the decision on who gets to be the next big name in pole dancing in the US for the coming years.  We empower them to make those decisions for us.  If they are doing things that are not transparent, and we continually support it, then what reason do they have to change?  If we keep supporting organizations that have bias and can't stick to their own requirements, they will continue to do so.  We are feeding a tiger and hoping it won't bite us in the ass.  That is the point of this conversation.  Please don't be offended!  
May 29, 2012 from Phoenix, Arizona, United States
REDKE71

oh and for the record, alethea dislocated her knee right before the competition started, i watched her pop it back in and still pull off 2 amazing performances..!
May 29, 2012 from Concord, North Carolina, United States
REDKE71

i agree with you ember, which is why i am offended that competitors are being brought into the arguement here. I dont run or own USPDF, all i wanna do is compete on safe poles, do the moves required of me, and leave a lil peice of my soul on that stage for everyone..!
May 29, 2012 from Concord, North Carolina, United States
Star McEwen

I know that I probably have no right voicing my opinion here, but I have just watched Alethea's performance and I really liked it. Every competition is flawed in one way or another. It sucks, but its true. If you don't like the way a comp is run, don't enter. I do agree that guidelines should be enforced and bias should be avoided. But it is NOT FAIR to bash or attack those who choose to compete in a competition that you do not agree with.

I appologise in advance if anyone takes offence with my opinon, but alas....its just my opinon.
May 29, 2012
amy

when i offered to post things anonymously for people, i honestly didn't expect or forsee the kinds of things people would ask me to post on their behalf. when i read them, was i surprised by the perspectives/opininos expressed? yes, absolutely. did i know that they would be hurtful? yes, absolutely. did i think it was better to not post them? yes, absolutely. did i feel comfortable ignoring teh request and NOT posting? unfortunately.... no, i didn't feel comfortable censoring anyone when i had made the offer. so, i am sorry that those opinions were brought to light because i know they were hurtful. do i think that they are not valid opinions? we can all have feelings, no matter how unpopular they may be.

i think that what those anonymous comments express is a frustration. people don't get answers from USPDF so they take it out on the competitors, and are looking for someone--anyone-- to have power to control teh situation, to make things different. i DO NOT agree that the buck stops with the competitors who enter. I think the buck stops, plain and simple, with the organizations putting on the events. compettiors do one thing: compete. they are not there to explain their motives, or anything else, to anyone and they do not have any power beyond that. in my point of view, the people making the DECISIONS are the ones accountable. to me, it has never, and will neve, be about blaming or pointing fingers at anyone who submits, or competes. i have nothing but respect fo that, and for all the opinions posted here.

i think that what has been disheartening for me, is to feel that by bringing up questions, i am stirring up "drama". my genuine goal, has been to encourage open, honest, conversation. i have tried very hard to be respectful and understanding of those caught in the middle, and reached out to a lot of peple to get perspective and thoughts. i am hopeful that it's easier to fix the cracks of the foundations we have, then to abandon them compeltely. i am hopeful that we can start dialogue with USPDF (who HAVE been reached out to, and again I deeply resent and am frustrated by people who ASSUME that this was not the case, and that "gossiping" was the end goal) to make things more transparent and more ethical going forward. 
May 29, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
amy

I also want to add-- that i'm very sorry to all the compettors who feel that htey have had to explain themselves, or their actions. i may not be speaking for everyone, but to me-- it was NEVER about you, or what you do/do not do. 
May 29, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Star McEwen

Amy,

I think we all know that you have the best intentions at heart. I personally do not think that you would do anything to hurt the community. I think the issue is that people are now bashing Alethea out of their upset at USPDF. :(
May 29, 2012
Mary Ellyn

Since I was the person who posted "the buck stops with the competitors" I feel it needs to be pointed out that I never said that the competitors of the USPDF are responsible for anything and in fact I have never made any statements supporting or discrediting either this competition or any other.

This is exactly why I said I was hesitant to say anything in this thread as I didn't want anything to be miscontrued as judgement against anyone or any thing. I posted my thoughts and general suggestions which are the same ones I stated in the Facebook thread I referenced a few weeks ago:

If ANYONE feels that an event is disreputable then don't enter. If you do support and respect an organization or event, then do participate. I don't agree however, with people who don't support an event but then participate anyway. It's really that simple. If you feel that an organizer (any organizer, myself included) are accountable then the competitors must call them on their accountability.

We do not stop attending these events because then we are being unsupportive of our friends and peers who participate and we are only hurting them!

To those who are upset about the USPDF...what do you think should happen now? Cancel the event? The pros and amateurs should drop out? This isn't the way to solve things. :(
 
May 29, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
LizzyLiz810

I am still curious as to why no one is mentioning the fact that there were so many entries past the deadline? Everyone had months to submit. People want professionally run events, yet they cant follow simple rules and submit before the deadline? This is not a rinky dink competition held at a strip club. It is a serious competition that JENYNE BUTTERFLY, ALETHEA AUSTIN,  & NATASHA WANG have won! 

Again, all this drama wouldnt be happening if people had respected the rules of the USPDF submission process. People can blame USPDF all they want, but its the unprofessionalism of the applicants that caused this mess. 

***My opinion has nothing to do with the worthiness of the applicants. It merely has to do with respect and professionalism. Sorry if it sounds harsh. 
May 29, 2012 from Pomona, California, United States
Ember
We need to ask USPDF as a community. Why don't they post their scores? What are their exact scoring requirements? Why dont they allow their videos to be posted on YouTube? How can they remain transparent when judges and competitors are from the same studio? How can some performances be flawless and not place while others do? The whole way they operate seems like they have something to hide. These scores and videos should be made public.
May 29, 2012 from Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Mary Ellyn

I'm not speaking for USPDF but I don't believe the community needs to be made aware of what all the scores are of competitors. In the Midwest competitors see their own scores and know where they place but they are not told the other competitor's scores.

This may or may not be what everyone agrees with but why would the community need to know what everyone's scores are? I just don't see that as necessary.

Many of these women have competed for USPDF before and want to continue to support USPDF. Some others have competed and do not continue to support them. I'm certain I have my share of participants who may choose not to come back again. That's why it's good to have multiple competitions - so that there are choices.

If you're going to compete then ask past competitors about the event, research the organizers and decide for yourself.

As for hiring a champion to come teach or going to them for a workshop - are people really only doing this because they won an event and have a title? I hope not! I hope it's because you researched them and determined they had something worthwhile to offer in a workshop!!!
May 29, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Black Orchid

I'm glad that Karol & Michelle came to this thread because as I was thinking about it this morning, I started feeling like no matter how much we try to separate the competitor from the event, it must be hard and weird as someone who just got accepted to compete to hear about this conversation and feel judged for things not in their control.

There is clear unhappiness about the transparency of the process and hopefully USPDF will address that moving forward. I know in a lot of comps, scores arent published or shared...but there are others that do. Maybe it is a separate conversation about what is gained or lost here.

For my part, although I am sorry to hear about all of this disatisfaction and definitely am in support of finding answers, I know that the reason I even started poling was when I saw that iconic USPDF09 youtube video. It inspired me and gave me women to look up to. I want to hold on that memory and cheer my friends on who have been accepted into this year's comp. I want to support the statements that I think Alethea & Karol are making by competing again. But my eyes have been opened some.

Amy, I think you are doing the community a service by opening up the conversation. At least more people are aware. But personally, having seen the content of the anonymous comments, I would have more respect for those posters if they would attach their names to their opinions...after all they've named names in their posts.
May 29, 2012 from San Antonio, Texas, United States
Angie La

Whatever happened to pole love..?  I am going to be bold--leave it to me to be unconventional!

 This discussion sounds so gossipy, with all the 'anonomyous' messages through someone else.  And why is this happening on studioveena?  I'm really shocked.  

I would like to give a tremendous thanks to Karol Helms and Alethea Austin (among so many others)  for giving us people to look up to, like the pole goddesses that you are.  The amount of dedication you all pour out for us in workshops and performances, which I look forward to attend someday!  And a super special thanks to our lovely Veena who has created such a positive environment, with quality guidence and dedication to all things that she also pours into this site daily.  

I just don't see how much of this discussion is amounting to any resolution.  It also seems a bit disrespectful, overal, but mostly to Studioveena where we like to come to support one another.  

Amy, I really like your blog...this is a topic to continue in one of your discussions.  Maybe then the anonymous people could feel more free to "let it out."


May 29, 2012 from Anderson, South Carolina, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

Parts of this discussion I think NEED to get out there.  WE are the ones who are the supporters of competitions.  Yes, it is the competitors who make the competition but it is the pole community that is buying tickets and merchandise and pumping money into NY.  This is a competition that is supposed to be showing THE WORLD what the US has to offer when it comes to Pole Dance.  If there indeed is favoritism and bending of rules and incorrect scoring then these issues need to be brought up and we need to stand united as we face the people who put these competitions on.  We need to let them know that their name alone is no longer good enough, they need to back their name with their actions.

 

As for the anonomyous messages, there are people who have competed in the past who have behind the scenes knowledge of things that have happened.  They do not want to speak ill of any organization (so as not to be black listed) but at the same time they want to be heard.  Amy stated that she would do something and even though she did not necessarily agree with a standpoint, she made a promise and kept that promise.....see what she did there?  She gave her word and kept it. 
May 29, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
Csedlak
Every competitor won their right to be where they are. Hard work, love and dedication :)


May 29, 2012
Csedlak
Every competitor won their right to be where they are. Hard work, love and dedication :)


May 29, 2012
Csedlak
Every competitor won their right to be where they are. Hard work, love and dedication :)


May 29, 2012
Annieloo
Though I am relatively new to pole, I have participated in my fair share of local figure skating competitions. I am not particularly interested in participating in a pole competition, but I do agree that USPDF is rather new.
I can recall a time when figure skaters would go to international competitions like the Olympics and be provided with inadequate ice quality to practice on while home country competitors would be treated with immensely better practice conditions.
I think the fact that USPDF submissions are in the form of PUBLIC YouTube videos gives an unfair advantage to late entrants and disadvantage to early entrants. In figure skating basic skills competitions, you compete with skaters at the level listed on your registration form. This level is defined by tests passed at USFSA sanctioned test sessions with qualified judges and clear requirements for passing. Is there some subjectivity? YES. It's the very nature of such an artistic sport! The problem iswith that there are just so many things that are unregulated and unstandardized in pole dancing that it results in issues like this.
However, this is how organizations and competitions start out, and it is also why changes are made! Was figure skating always perfect and fair? No. But changes were periodically made as the sport evolved so that things could become more regulated and fair. Is it perfect? Of course not, and it certainly doesn't always seem fair. However, I think USPDF should hear these types of concerns so guidelines can CLEARLY be laid out, unfair advantages/disadvantages can be eliminated, instructors can be properly certified, etc.
May 29, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Ocuspocus

Reading thi discussion I hace two things to say:

 

-I am personally a big Alethea austin fan. I understand that she is not the best and others can pull out more difficult tricks but she has become this much popular because she is UNIQUE. Her style is what made her one of the best and for what I've seen...millions want to dance like her, so they shouldn't complain about what she can't do if they want to do what she does...nobody can practice everything at the same time, either you focus on tricks or you focus on fluidity, everybody tries to do a bit of everything but you cannot expect anyone to be perfect in every performance. I don't care if she made mistakes in her performance. I've seen felix fall out of her spatchcock in a video, and I've seen that video of butterfly in zurich where she falls....they are still great!!! and their performances were great!!! my thoughts as regards those problems are: even the best fall in public. If I compete, it will happen to me too one day and even if I never get to be that great it will still happen to me one day (LOL). I think people should never lose respect for someone when somehting like this happens because it's natural and it will happen to all one day. If a competition is unfair it is not a dancer's fault....if you win a competition and people think it's unfair...what whould you do? say "oh no, thank you, i don't want the title, some others were better..."?? I don't think so. The issue is not competitors fault, it is the responsability of the organizers and judges.

-If submissions are out of deadline, they shouldn't be accepted. If the submission's dates are not clear....it is the organizer's fault! If a competition is unethical...there should be somehting we can do about it (even though I think there really isn't...everything is unethical in the world...of course sponsors will want their way, of course studios will support their people, etc) I think the community needs to be organized in a way that we can complain if something goes too out of hand in an unethical way. This would require that we organize a group of people to speak for the community and that is recognized by competitions...seems imposible right?? well, it's the only idea i have. I think that an ethical organization should protect competitions from nepotism but also protect competitors. I say this because I think someone who has already proven she deserves to be respected for her talent in the community should not have her career affected because of one performance. I've heard people say horrible things about felix like "she always does the same. I bet she can't do other tricks" (come on, really???that's ridiculous. her signature moves are not the only great things she does) or when the video of butterfly in zurich came out I've heard a lot of people who are very important here in Argentina (not that the world cares about what we think about pole dancing here but still it hurt me) saying horrible things about her...this is wrong and unethical too. I think once a competitor has showed what she can do she should be respected and allowed to continue her career but still there should be a chance for new girls too. Otherwise, competitions start getting unethical....but we can complain about it or we can do something. If the community does not agree with the way things are, there should be initiative to organize something different.

I think this discussion was very interesting because it's really important to fight to keep the community ethical. And if competitions are unethical it affects the community because it affects the carreers of pole dancers, instructors and students who feel dissapointed by all this. In Argentina we have huge problems because of this, there is one studio who runs the only comeptition there is and you cannot raise a complaint about anything because they can destroy your career. I want get into all the bad things that happen here in the pole community but I will say that unethical competitions are a big issue for the community and not competing is not a solution, but criticizing the winners is not a solution either. If we want a solution let's look for an ethical solution. That's the point; right??
May 29, 2012 from Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kobajo84
I do appreciate this being an ongoing discussion. @amy I didn't mean that you were trying to create drama with this thread, I think it's important people vent their current frustrations and everyone's thoughts about what is upsetting them over the issue of what they feel is unethical about certain competitions. I wanted to suggest that since everyone has been willing to state their stance that someone be proactive and compile a list in a letter addressing all the issues expressed and present it to the USPDF (clearly at this point from my understanding this is Wendy?) I understand she is one person running a business, organization, and planning for an event-that she couldn't possibly have much time to browse online and come across this thread, let alone read every person's post on this forum. I suspect she may have heard about the issue as USPDF fan page posted a video recently on Facebook breaking down scoring of a recent competitor's performance and the competition's criteria so clearly there must be some knowledge on the other side of the debate. I think it would be best someone stepped forward and took the time to put all the concerns together in an organized manner and presented it to USPDF. Whether or not the issues are addressed, the mere fact that the actions of the community doing their part to be heard and send their thoughts directly will leave the ball in their court. I personally don't think questions will be answered which is very unfortunate. I think actions speak louder than words. If everyone wants to see changes then appropriately stating your concerns for proper addressing is the best way to negotiate change. At least we can say we acted rather than just venting here and hoping someone important will read what we have say. It's unfortunate people involved in the competitions are feeling attacked and hurt or even being attacked at all. This argument shouldn't even be about them. The issue is regarding competitions and whether or not people feel they are ethical. Things were made too personal when names were mentioned and competitors were thrown in for scrutiny-which we all know was not Amy's intent when she created this discussion. (If anyone decides to write up a letter, please post a draft for everyone else to see and agree to.)
May 29, 2012 from Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
michaelaarghh

Wow, this was fascinating to read. 

I love Althea Austin - I loved that routine that was posted, and although there were a few minor slipups, she recovered brilliantly. Considering the dislocated knee thing as well - amazing. I don't know what the other competitors were like, I don't know who else was there, I don't know if she deserved to win  - just sayin' I loved that routine. 

This reminds me somewhat though of gymnastics competitions. Again, I don't have much knowledge in the field, having never been a gymnast myself, but I know that there are discrepancies with the marking system there. (There was also that movie - Stick It about this). 

I think it's important for people to voice their opinions because that's the only way things will ever change. But bad-mouthing competitors and organisers does nothing to achieve this. I feel that if you want to complain you need to have an alternative in mind. If you think the voting system is wrong, then maybe suggest to the organisers via mail different ways to change it? Like Annieloo said about ice skating, it's an artistic sport and there will always be bias, but getting on a soapbox and complaining about something does nothing except spread ill-feelings. 

And in pole, we need to stick together and support eachother. 
May 30, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
amy
Let me ask a question.

If the organizer has been contacted, and has discussed an ethical violation and acknowledged their actions but refuses to admit wrongdoing, THEN what? Do we boycott the competition? Is that realistic? Do we merely do our best to publicize the actions of the organization, in hopes that the negative publicity will get the word out? In a culture where people don't want to discuss this awkwardness, will that really happen? Will that continue to hurt the feelings of the competitors?

What Corby said earlier is what is bothering me the most: you can research a competition all you want, but you can't necessarily research BIAS. a year from now, competition hopefuls who I don't know, who haven't read any of this, will spend time and money submitting again.
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
michaelaarghh

I think that in that instance, yes publicity is the way to go. 

Provided it's not badmouthing previous competitors or other indviduals who have not had anything to do with the ethical violation themselves. 
May 30, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
ORGANIC ANGEL

Untill yesterday, I had NO idea there was any contraversy surrounding the USPDF. I was merely a potential finalist. I was surprised to hear everything that people feel.

I have been poling for 7 years, so long ago before YouTube had connected us or Veena's forum. I have been poling for so long that I had even thought I created many moves like the back hook spin, figure four invert, monkey climb(ha). I had never seen anyone do the moves I was doing. Back then, as a single mother raising her baby, I could not afford one more bill. I constantly had months at a time without the cable. It has only been in the last few years that I even had the time to jump on a computer and do anything besides work or send an email.

So in 2010 when I had heard of the USPDF I was very excited. I went and watched with awe. I took just one amazing brilliant class with Jessalynn Medairy. I was so happy that I had people who were actually a bit MORE advanced than me. I couldn't believe people had other ways to climb! Lo!. They had direction and were skilled in offering growth. Pole has become a part of me as important as my skin! I need it to keep me together. When I watched that performance, I thought man I could never compete. It got me all nervous, even though I had been hired for 4 yrs already at that time to perform at top venues. Take our skills and go against another male/female to be judged seemed scary.

While watching the performance, we witnessed someone fall. Bad. The audience gasped. All anyone thought was I wish that they are ok! No one was bitter b/c of it. We cheered when she got up! Have you watched Alethea's performance? Have you ever tried to do even one move in hand cuffs? That vid is bad ass! It was a platform for us all to watch and grow from. It sparked us to be creative and use the pole to connect with our expression of dance. 

So this leads me to now, with the title of unethical competitions. I am glad that people voiced their opinions. If we don't voice that we want change, it would always be assumed that it was perfect as is. Companies ask for suggestions simply so they can make changes and review policies. I will still continue to apply to competitions, because for me I am growing on my pole journey. I want to get out there and grow. I got into another comp this weekend.In the pole community, we are "itching" to do anything pole. We love getting together and meeting up with others who love pole! We are a pole family. Its expected we get on each others nerves or argue at times, but lets get our voices out in a way where it is organized and w/ a point. If its If its change we want lets figure out what changes need/want to be made.

On the matter of late submissions, I don't think they should have been accepted. I have been training since Feb. to be at this level now. It doesn't seem fair. Its as if "sally: and "suzy" saw who had applied and said oh I'm gonna submit too. There were even girls who have competed and won the USPDF who tried to get something in by the deadline was a lil late and said so. Had she submitted late, maybe the line up would be. It is up to the potential competitor to search for comps and if they miss it-hey u missed your chance at this one. Move on. There will always be another comp to enter. I am also in one soon. Its got a great cash prize. The guy who put it together has plans of making it better every year. I am not telling everyone about it b/c as a competitor I want to win! Its just the name of the game.

I almost didn't say anything. In fact I erased what I wrote several times.I thought I'd be "blacklisted" from comps or something.  I do think its important to let those who keep saying we shouldn't support those comps know how important it is just how much growth we gain from them. They allow a platform for people of all walks of life to come together. All of us have talent. I am always learning from others in this community, even from beginners sometimes. I also need the practice of competing. It is nerveracking. Only one way to get past that and grow::compete.The competitor NEEDS venues large or small.

Once the community hears about comps than we can make it better. The LeHigh Valley Competitionis on this weekend. It started as an idea. Voiced on the internet. Now even Michelle Stanek heard about it. It's her hometown so she is now judging.

One idea=Growth.

Thank you USPDF, Veena, internet,pole and for our "bothers and sisters" as one Veener put it!

 
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
Fever Previous Paid Member

I am definitely not a pro, or even an awesome amateur, but having competed in pole competitions and judged a pole competition, I just want to put out there that since humans are humans, there will always be some kind of bias in juding.

I won a local pole competition in 2011. It was incredibly poorly planned--as in, at first, we were told we needed routines, then we were told it would be freestyle, and the night of the competition, suddenly routines were wanted. I am not blaming the organizers either, as I think the venue imposed some sudden rules on the competition or something. It was a mess all the way around. I had not made up a routine as I actually hadn't been planning on competing, but on the night of, the organizer asked again if I wanted to join as some girls had dropped out, so I said yes.

The competition itself was terrible. It was at a local watering hole on an X-Stage. I stood from about 10 pm to almost 1 am in my eight inch heels. The competitiors were not asked to perform once--we had to perform five or six times each, and from what I could tell, we were all freestyling.

I ended up winning the competition, and there were definitely whispers that it was rigged, or that it had almost been rigged, or that I shouldn't have won. I have no idea how the comp could have been rigged for me, sincd I wasn't even going to compete until the night of the competition. I'm not saying I should have or shouldn't have won first place. My performance wasn't perfect, but no one had a perfect performance that night. We all slipped up at least once (this is the nature of competition--you know how nervous you get when you flip on your camera and start recording yourself poling? Now, multiply that feeling by a hundred cameras); plus, you just can't control every factor that makes for a sticky pole, especially when, like me, you don't use grip.

Anyway, I don't think I was any better or any worse than most of the other girls. Some others did some crazier tricks; there was definitely a girl who had better stage presence, etc. I think that for those judges, maybe I just had a little bit of everything and that's why I won. That's the thing--judges are human. You will have one that appreciates fluidity and another that prefers a gymnastic-like approach to the pole, and since both are viable styles, they are going to judge girls differently. Even having score cards with every category meticulously laid out doesn't help. Judges are human! At the competition I judged, I had to stop myself from marking up a girl's costume and appearance score because I thought she was just adorable--but when I really looked closely, she hadn't done anything special with her makeup, hair, or costume. I had to change my score to reflect reality, not my holistic view of her performance. And as a college instructor, I think it is at least slightly easier for me to be objective--I've graded a lot of essays and used a lot of different rubrics over the last five years.

So, to boil down this loooong post, I just want to say that a competition performance is not the same as a performance filmed on the comfort of your home pole or studio poles. And judges are human, and they often already know what they like. So, while I agree that this is a good discussion to have, I think everyone deserves a ton of leeway as we navigate these new waters. If people express their concerns in a postive, non-judgmental way, everyone will feel more comfortable with any changes that are made.

 
May 30, 2012 from Longwood, Florida, United States
amy
Fever, I get your point and I agree. Bias is human. But competition organizers can do a couple simple things to minimize bias. For example: not allowing judges to judge their own students, or people from their studio.... dropping highest and lowest scores from the judges. There are a lot of options! WE can shape how our industry grows.
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
michaelaarghh

Of course bias is human nature. Even if we don't realise that's what we're being. 

But that being said - there's a massive difference between inadvertently scoring someone you know an extra point or two and allowing submissions after the cut off date. 

(I'm not too sure about what's happened with this whole thing so I won't elaborate on that point). 

As well, when it's a national competition and not just a local one, there needs to be guidelines and procedures in place to ensure that bias isn't playing a major role in deciding the outcome - especially when the prize is so big. Telling the organisers the problems you have is definitely a step in the right direction - it's the only way they'll know to change. 

Publicity is also amazing. Like what has already been said, you can research comps before you enter them. 

I don't think though that with thins on this scale that trying to organise a boycott would work...even if 20 excellent dancers said they wouldn't perform, there would still be 20 more to take their place. (even if they're at a different level). And then everyone misses out because it's not the best competing. 

Can someone quickly explain for me the process for USPDF? From what I gather from the comments - you submit a video and it gets uploaded to youtube? And from those someone? decides who should go into the "competition"? 

 
May 30, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
ORGANIC ANGEL

I also wanted to add on the matter of late submissions that it just desn't matter. Those individuals pushed limits. Because of it, they got in! Congrats to them. They also played the game. You don't know unless you ask, or try, or submit anyway. (and for the record, I don't know which people r late). I don't care enough to know or have the time to figure it out.

(I take back the "move on" part I had b/c all they did was "play" differently. I too push limits sometimes in hopes of a chance or a fair shake.
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
Fever Previous Paid Member

Yes, agreed. It's good to ask questions and it's good to discuss the issue. I also agree that there are some simple ways to combat human nature in judging (the ones Amy listed are great), although we will never fully eradicate the biased and visceral nature of judgement.

I'm just reiterating that these competitions are still in their infancy and there will be growing pains! This is the way competitions become more stable--obstacles are thrown into the path of the organizers; the organizers climb up and over (or around) them. The organizers might look back and not be happy with how they handled the problems this year, but next year, after this uproar, I bet they'll know how to handle a situation if it reoccurs!

All of these issues are just providing templates for organizers to do better next time. I agree that there will be no change if people don't speak up. I just think it's important that even while discussing the issue, we never attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance (and I don't mean that as an insult--I mean ignorance as in encountering new situations and making decisions on the fly, as competition organizers must often have to do).
May 30, 2012 from Longwood, Florida, United States
Picklepie

@tallicachild

For USPDF you upload a video to youtube with a specific heading and email the link with your application to USPDF. Last year it was allowed to be subitted privately, but this year it had to be a "public" video on youtube or facebook.
May 30, 2012 from Tampa, Florida, United States
Mary Ellyn

Some events have very strict guidelines and some do not. You have to know what the expectations are of the organizer. It's impossible to eliminate bias as we are all human but you can do a few things to curb it. As judges you cannot always agree. Things like showmanship and musicality, etc may be affected by a judges personal preference in SOME way.


I don't know how USPDF runs but for our first year last year I had already taken my lessons from past competittions. Here are  few things to expect from Midwest/North American Nationals which seemed to be most important (either good or bad) to others. It doesn't mean I disrespect how other comps are run - it's just what I expected of our own.

1. Real names are used. No stage names.
2. Videos are EXACTLY a certain length...you cannot enter a longer video and ask to only watch a certain portion
3. All scores are counted...we do not throw out the high and low
4. No judges were allowed from the Midwest to avoid potential bias
5. Videos and application cannot be submitted even ONE minute late or they are disqualified.
6. All elements are scored equally so someone with great showmanship may outdo someone with better tricks. We wanted it to be more about the OVERALL performance not the best trixster. So you could potentially see a mistake or see someone not as advanced win or place.
7. Once you submit an online video you can have no contact with online judges until judging is over. If you are accepted you cannot train with any final judges until after the comp.
8. All judges are pole experienced with a wide variety of pole backgrounds...tricksters to showgirls, to traditional dance experience.
 

This year since we are adding nationals...if a judge has a student or instructor in the comp then that judge does not judge ANYONE from that division. However I need to stress that since our pole world is still so small it's impossible to find ALL judges that have not trained someone in the competition.

This year we are adding that if finalists are late with any important deadlines prior to the comp  (like music choice, order of compulsory moves, etc) they will lose one point for every day they submit something late. We feel that this reflects their professionalism as well as it affects others who may have submitted these things on time but didn't necessarily feel ready and would have liked more time themselves.


We tried to come up with as fair of a comp as we could. How could I accept someone who was 20 minutes late with their vid and then deny someone who was 4 hours late...then the person who was 12 hours late? How do I make that decision when I set a deadline. Some people did not like how strict I was about this but I couldn't feel fair if I made the allowance for one and not others. Some competitions do not take such a strict stance.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Mary Ellyn

I'd like to add/remind that you should not only research the event organizers but research the judges. I think you CAN research bias! I could be wrong but most people who have worked with me or entered my comp know that I am as far from bias as possible and you can find that out by talking to past competitors of the competition.

FYI: I do not judge any element of my online rounds or the finals. But I do gather the scores and total them. Someone could definitely accuse me of adding them up falsely if they wanted. Hopefully my actions in all other areas of this event would tell people I don't do such things but you can't fullproof everything.

I also forgot: All score sheets are given to applicants from online rounds and to finalists from the comp but they are not posted publicly and scores are not posted. Everyone knows where they placed in the line up but only the top three from the finals are posted online.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
PowerTwirl

I have attended the past 2 years of USPDF. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE watching the show which is why I travel so far to get there. That is why I wish so much it was a showcase!! Everything is great until people hear the results and then leave with a sour taste in their mouths. I don’t know Wendy but she seems to be a well spoken lady whenever she does interviews. She seems to be capable of addressing any concerns the public has… but we haven’t seen much response to any concern over the years. Last year I think east coast maybe, or maybe nationals, I can’t remember, but there was drama over the number of girls entered. There was supposed to be 12 and they had an online vote but still only took 11… or something I can’t really recall… anyway no one ever got a formal statement from USPDF as to why that all happened. There seems to always be drama surrounding uspdf every single time over SOMETHING. I’ve begun to expect some drama with every competition. It doesn’t have to be that way. I know everything is in its infancy, but these things seem like things that could be addressed, could be explained, and they’re just not. If uspdf would explain things/scores or make statements perhaps we would not have to have these discussions on studioveena with everyone speculating about every little thing. As for the submission deadlines, I have no idea about that. Wasn’t really following that aspect but I heard who got in and I am VERY VERY pleased that Tracee was accepted. She is phenomenal !! I just wish all these competitions could be showcases where each performer gets a flat fee. Like $2,000 per girl or something I don’t know…It’d be fun for all and profitable for the girls!! Won’t happen, but just a rainbows & butterflies kinda idea. And I do know there is value in having competitions. People can have titles, medals, notoriety, it’s all good. Competition occurs in every sport. . Last year I felt there was a major judging error in the pro comp and thought maybe I was missing something or didn’t know what the criteria was… so I asked a bunch of people after the pro competition what they thought. Literally everyone I talked to was very confused about the judging. I didn’t find a single person there or online later who thought it was fair. It made us feel like we, the audience, were not respected as a community. Like the judges didn’t care about the audience opinion and were going to do what they wanted. So several girls I talked to agreed they wouldn’t pay to attend the competition next year. I actually emailed one of the judges myself, took it to the source. We emailed a couple times back and forth and it basically left on a note of “we agree to disagree”. On another note I am very pleased to see the videos finally coming out from the competitions. Michelle, Nadia, Mina, etc... all stunning... and I must admit, was even more stunning being there in person.
May 30, 2012 from United States
Mary Ellyn

I know you were joking but $2000 to perform in a showcase! Wow! I'd sign up and I hate getting on stage! LOL.

Let me tell you that for those of us breaking into our first couple of years of a comp it's very difficult to fund these events. Sponsor do NOT give over money. Many of them want to give product as prizes to finalists and have that count as sponsoring the event. So we rely mostly on ticket sales - which in our case did not cover the cost of our event and we actually lost money out of our own pockets last year!

But yes, we are doing it again this year and hoping that our second year will be better!

 
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Mary Ellyn

I should clarify: "Sponsors do NOT give over money EASILY!"

We don't get huge checks from the sponsors we have to fund most of it ourselves from the proceeds of the event.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
keex

Out of curiosity, of what benefit would it be for the judges to be "biased" in a pole competition?  And, if there was bias due to studio affiliation, don't you think the outcome of the last few competitions would have been far different?  Consider carefully the accusations you're making; personal accusations attacking the integrity judges plus the talent and worthiness of performers.  And, in my humble opinion, the pole community should be grateful to have judges from outside of the pole community but with extensive dance, aerial & competitive experience.  Don't you think that might prevent the bias that you somehow feel runs rampant in the USPDF competitions?
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
ORGANIC ANGEL

@empyrean, you just haven't found the right sponsers out there if they wouldn;t fork it over!



If skateboarding, dirtbiking, and playstation comps can award someone 5-50,000...than why not in pole? WE ARE worth it!

 

@powertwirl, like your thinking-it was mine when I first heard about it too back in the day!

Also the USPDF had a few people drop due to injury the year we watched and just heard it for 2009 too.
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
Mary Ellyn

Organic Angel - we've tried for sponsors outside the pole community and so far have had poor responses from them. Sponsors within the pole community often can/will only give smaller sums and product in lieu of money.

Part of the problem is there aren't that many pole product companies and they are all stretched among a large number of events and competitions and can't cover them all. Then non-pole companies are not quite ready to step into the sponsor shoes for pole competitions unless they are the really big ones. Not to say you can't get non-pole sponsors for pole comps but just that it's not that easy.

My main point was to let people know we don't get a ton of money just because we have a half dozen or a dozen sponsors when the cost of a huge event like this is THOUSANDS of dollars. Last year we ran nearly $25,000 in expenses - this year will be much more.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

keex, this bias has been addressed here and on facebook.  One bias is letting people in who were late and did not follow the rules for their video.  This shows bias that they "wanted" certain epople in the competition for one reason or another.  The second bias comes from who they actually want to represent their organization for the next year.  If you ahve 2 very similar scores and perfromance presence but you have one person who is more outgoing than the other you would favor the more outgoing person to be your representative.  This is actually part of your score in some of the international competitons.  As soon as you step on site they start judging how you are dressed, how you act in public, even as far as swearing.  This was also the reason that APFC put a rule regarding exotic dancers basically not being able to work while they held the crown.

 

I am pretty positive that there are girls in the competition who train at NYPD.  Do you not think there would be bias as to training or to even scoring that person higher even if they slip up because you know their potential?
May 30, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
keex

@chemgoddess1: I know nothing about late submissions. I simply watched some of the video submissions and was left in awe at all the talent.  What a tough job it must be picking the competitors!

And, as for girls that train at NYPD... how many of them have actually won a USPDF title?  But dancers/instructors from "competitive" studios in NYC have won (rightfully earned) titles.  And think about this: if what you're saying is true, why would the USPDF want a dancer from a "competitive" studio to represent them for a year? For the record, Wendy (owner of NYPD and Co-Founder of USPDF, which are 2 separate business entities) has absolutley nothing to do with the judging process.  

And what does one's personality beyond the the context of their performance have to do with the judges' scores...?  That's ludacris! 

Some of these assumptions and accusations within the community are so unfounded and baffling that I simply have to step away from the discussion.  In my experience, this type of  "discussion" on facebook and StudioVeena has never been productive; simply a divisive and a sad commentary on the true state of the pole "community".  (The exact opposite energy that appealed to me about the "pole community" in the first place.)

Peace & Pole, y'all.  PEACE & POLE.
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

keex- I am not just referring to USPDF.  I am summarizing many of the things I ahve read regarding competiotns that have been going on and issues that have come up.  Go back through and read all of the threads regarding competitons (there is even some in this thread regarding the Australiand and Argentinian competitions).

 

And the comment regarding scoring is for Worlds.  I am trying to find where I had originally linked the scoring parameters as I cannot seem to find it on their site any more.  I want to say 10-20% of your scvore is based on how you represent yourself and how you represent pole.
May 30, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
misslara

thanks keex- a wise conclusion.  until all the chatty cathy's actually contact the USPDF to get real facts, theyre fabricating their own assumptions about how things are run.  

I know aerial amy received responses from Wendy regarding several of her questions, I hope she has or will decide to share those with the pole "community."  I hope any other unanswered questions by anyone else will be directed to the USPDF, not forum friends.  

I was excited to have an opportunity to perform at USPDF.  While the intention of this so claimed "discussion" was to promote progress, it has inadvertently caused competitiors to feel like they were unfairly selected, seeming to diminish their worthiness to perform.  It may not have been anyone's intention, but it was a natural result.

I have no respect for anonymous posts, or individuals that fear reaching out to an organization to receive answers.  this should be the most obvious solution, instead of gossiping in online forums.  there's explanations for all of USPDF decisions. they may not be obvious right now, but running a competition can't be easy, and covering all the bases takes time.  those that feel they can run a better competition should take $80,000 of their personal funds and start their own competition.  there is NO money to be made in running a competition right now.  

I'm very saddened by a lot of the commentary I've read over the past few days, a disappointing representation of this supposed community that's working to improve pole dancing's reputation.
May 30, 2012
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

Here is the thread; unfortunately EvaRut is no longer here so I cannot link her blog where she put all of the scoring guidelines that she received from the competition.  [www.studioveena.com]

 

The part I was referring to was this:

Personality, on and off the stage during the length of the whole competition with judges, spectators, friends and other contestants.
Appearance,
clothing,
costumes,
hair/makeup on and off the stage.

 

 
May 30, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

Here is teh link to her blog.  For some reason when I clicked on it in the thread it said that user was not longer valid but when I searched her I found her.  Huh...

 

[www.studioveena.com]
May 30, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
ORGANIC ANGEL

I just got this formal email from USPDF:
 

 


Good Morning,


 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in competing as an amateur competitor for the US Pole Dance Championship 2012: Amateur Division. Our judging panel has completed its review of submission entries. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected as a finalist for this competition.

We appreciate your interest and want to thank you for your time spent preparing your submission video and your entry. It is our policy to support growth as a pole dancer, so we offer feedback of your submission video, by request.

 

Our judging panel was composed of professionals Laura Mak (IFBB Fitness Pro) and Gwyneth Larsen (Aerial Choreographer and Professional Dancer). Their selection of finalists followed strict USPDF qualifying guidelines. Specifically they focused on technique, transition, coordination, creativity, individuality, flexibility, strength, extensions, consistency, dynamics, musicality, dancing and performance.  Ultimately the panel was seeking finalists who are well-rounded pole dancers mastering the pole and the floor, and executing seamless transitions.

 

Also adhering to USPDF guidelines, all amateur submissions had to be received by the deadline, May 24, 2012 11:59PM EST. Any entries submitted or received after this specific date and time, were considered inadmissible. We received some questions regarding this deadline and we sincerely apologize for any confusion.  There were no extensions for any late entries. This is also true for the Pro submission deadline.  Each of the Pro Division athletes was personally and individually invited to submit entries.  The Pro invitation had strict deadline information and no exceptions were considered.  USPDF strives to conduct all competitions with complete fairness. 

 

We encourage you to visit our web site on a regular basis for current information and updates. We wish you success in pursuit of your pole goals.

 

Sincerely,

USPDF 

 

 
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
amy

Thanks Organic Angel.Unfortunately-- the amateur deadline listed in the email isn't the same deadline listed on the USPDF Fan page, or the USPDF website itself. I'm not sure if that's an oversight (I have been messaging Wendy Traskos of USPDF, but she hasn't responded to my last message sent yesterday-- I'm sure she's busy) or if that is now their "official" stance on the submission deadline. 

Misslara... thanks for your message. you're right that while intentions can be good, results can still be hurtful. it's something that i am sorry about, and guilt ridden over. while that doesn't help, I feel I still need to say it. 

I did talk with Wendy about the deadline. I am still hoping for a response from her on my last message. I am trying to figure out how to best communicate the information I've received... and, to be honest, whether or not I should even bother.
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
ORGANIC ANGEL


Thanks Amy. I think it is important.

For example, I had posted two submission videos. I wanted my friends to take a look and see which one to put up. One person responded to one of them, but after the 11:59 AM time. Had I had longer than that, I'd have changed my submission video to the other one. So for me the time mattered in that way.(You can see both of the ones I posted and I even had in the title probably the one I should have submitted shortly after noon?) It doesn't matter now. What is done is done.

I totally missed the AM and PM in the email I just received and wow, can't believe it didn't read 11:59 AM! But, I'm not a sour apple over it.

I think my video was among the elite of the videos that were selected! I think it rocked! I did an amazing job and that is what I am proud about :)  I messaged the email too for video feedback and got that email in response. Hmmmmm.... a generic email for feedback? Not sure-have to wait it out I guess.

 
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
ORGANIC ANGEL

Wanted to clarify something:

I am glad people pushed limits and submited after b/c you never know-you may just have a chance.(some honestly donn't know)-

All of the submissions are amazing. It takes a lot to do that!

(I did think studio owners/workers got an extended time for some reason.) I don't have any grudge, jealousy or ill feelings about anyone or the organizer. And even though I would have swapped my vid- I am not holding onto that one idea. I think its just fate. Everything happens for a reason.

(and I'm only building myself up b/c hey someone has to[www.studioveena.com] I know there will always be growth.)

I don't feel that it is unethical b/c of the late submissions + who was selected. I just hope judging will b fair in any future comps(and that isn't saying it wasn't in the past)My husband suggested voting grom the audience-like American Idol type of thing. Not sure what the answer is.I am just voicing one opinion .

And will I submit again next year? Most likely.
May 30, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

One competition tried voting from the audience thing and it was a mess.  Same with voting to get people into a competiton.....it turns into a popularity contest and not a skills contest.
May 30, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
Kira

@empy - sorry a bit off topic but just curious as I see this rule in a lot of competitions (I think the only one that doesn't have it as a rule is MPD Australia) -  "Real names are used. No stage names."

Is it so people don't get confused over who is who in case 2 people have chosen the same stage name? Or is it to keep it looking more professional?
May 30, 2012 from Up North, England, United Kingdom
RobynPoleDancer

I don't post here very much, but felt I needed to add my point of view.

I ran the UK's largest competition PoleDivas Championships for 2 full years (and was involved in the running of the final in the previous year)

Pole competitions are still relatively new. The original rule document for our competition in 2006 was 3 pages long including the entry form. In 2010, it was 7 pages of rules, 2 page entry form, and 3 additional pages of judging criteria. Every year we sat down for hours on end and revamped the rules depending on problems, questions, loopholes etc from previous years.
Even then we received little thanks for the hard work put in for so many months of the year leading up to the final. Instead we would get "why don't you have a spinning pole?" or "when are you going to have a doubles competition?" or "your advanced section is too hard for me, but your amateur section is too easy, make an intermediate section".

As other people have said, pole is still a small industry. It's very hard to find judges who have not had interaction with competitors, yet are well-known and respected in the industry.
I can assure you we never had any agenda of who we wanted to win. We educated our judges on our scoring criteria, and let them judge. At the end we added up the scores. The person with the highest score won. TBH there were often surprising results, but CHANGING those results would be more unethical and unfair than any other route!
(as an additional point here, the judges spend their time concentrating on the performer on stage, writing their comments, and deciding personally what score to give that competitor. I know as a judge I am not aware of the audience reaction until the performer is leaving the stage, and by that time, I've probably already written a score)
The scoring system at the beginning was un-tested. How else do you test it other than using it AT the competition? And running just one competition a year does not give you many chances to change things around.

USPDF seem to be a leader in US competitions. Trying out new concepts like the compulsory/optional rounds, how to select amateur/professional competitors. SOMEONE has to do these things first.
In the UK in 2007 PoleDivas were the first competition to introduce the rule "hips higher than head" for setting the upper limit in beginner moves. A lot of people complained "this means I can't do x-y-z move"... but look now, how many competitions have now adopted this rule as standard.

PoleDivas was run by 2 normal pole instructors. Just like most of you. The initial stages of the competition are entirely funded from our own pockets. We rarely got sponsorship in the form of cash, as above, most sponsors send gifts and merchandise, we occasionally had sponsors buy specific items for us as funding (for example MightyGrip would pay for our trophies). I can tell you now, from 2006 - 2010, we only actually made money in 2010.
We aren't EXPERTS, we only do our best to offer a fair competition in the format that most people want to see.


My final point is going to be. Why is so much anger being pointed towards the USPDF when they are at least trying to push pole forwards.
A recent competition run in the US by a UK company - who COPY & PASTED PoleDivas Rules when they ran their first competition in 2009, and have not changed them in any of the other 9 or 10 competitions they have run since. These people are NOT about pushing pole forwards, they blatantly break copyright rules, are vague about competition details, change details of competitions without informing all competitors... I could go on. Why are we letting these people carry on?
May 30, 2012 from United Kingdom
MrsNaughtywed

I'd like to see no pole dance fitness competition discriminate against athletes also employed by the adult industry. 
May 30, 2012 from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
misslara
@RobynPoleDancer - thank you for providing a view from the other side!!!!
May 30, 2012
misslara

@Amy - It would probably be a good idea to share that information, since there were expressions that one "shouldnt expect any response from the USPDF."  It's also an important part of the discussion- how the organization responds, certainly something not to be left in the shadows.  I'm sure if wendy hasn't had a chance to respond to any further emails beyond most pressing questions, it's only to prioritize responses to the many actual applicants and resulting competitors, and to move forward with running the competition.
May 30, 2012
REDKE71

mrsnaughtywed, Uspdf doesnt exactly discriminate against exotic dancers or anyone in the club industry.  They DO ask that as a title holder you agree to not use your USPDF title to promote yourself in the club industry, if you so choose to work as an exotic dancer. And that you arent publicly promoting your "club" business while representing the uspdf as a title holder in the pole fitness industry and the public eye. 

There are, however, other competitions out there that feel the need to tell you that youre never allowed to work in a club again, if you win thier title or compete in their competition, under no circumstances. (even though they clearly pick entries who are obviously from a club background)

This is just due to the pole fitness industry's constant battle against the public just viewing us as a bunch of strippers in training.. or superstrippers! :P

BUT, i havent heard of any competitions just downright discriminating against entries from exotic dancers..

 
May 30, 2012 from Concord, North Carolina, United States
Ocuspocus

I'm sorry this is a competition that is not even in my country so there's nothing I can do about it. But this uspd matter about it being unethical is certainly bothering a lot of people. When so many people react to something like this it is because of somehting. And probably something that can be changed easily.

I think it would be a good idea to get together signatures as someone else said in this discussion, so that the competition organizers will know that lack of transparency could have an impact on the community that is supporting it (it already is having and impact). But perhaps you should make a list of the things that you would like to ask. For example:

-Posting deadlines in advance in all of the official web sites of the competition so there is no confusion.

-Posting their criteria for judging. (Here in Argentina we get specifications on how many points you can get for every detail of your performance -guess it might be the same for uspd), for example: interpretation and concept: up to 10 points. Dancing and fluidity: up to 40 flexibility: up to 50 points. strength: 50 points....etc. And later you see your complete score so you know why someone has won or considered the best....she had the highest score on those aspects that gave more points) This only works if the criteria of the competition is clear...if the competition is more based on who dances better or who can do the most difficult tricks, for example. If it is a bit of both, how  much of each or what they consider to judge that??

-Judges shouldnt judge their own students. (personally I disagree with this idea but that is for the community to decide. I am just getting together ideas I've red in this discussion. I don't think this is a problem unless one judge is proven to be unethical about it. It is normal that you will judge your student a bit better because you have seen her train but if someone was too out of judging criteria should be obvious for everybody else)

-Athletes who have worked or work in the adult industry should be allowed to compete. (this one is a big problem in my country and one that brings a lot of issues and anguer because some girls are allowed if they know someone and others not. I didn't know it was a problem elsewhere. But it's easy to solve: there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to compete as long as the criteria of the competition is clear about not allowing performances that include the things -they would have to be clear about this things- they consider too related to the adult industry and that they don't want to see).

-Perhaps if you discuss it you can decide on some things that you would like to ask the competition about so that they are clear. Not the things I've mentioned, I was just giving an example, but the things that are troubling a lot of people.It is not a complaint. It would be more like giving a voice to the community. And if there's no answer...well, then you know what to think of the competition for sure and you can decide with no doubts wether to accept it as it is or move on.
May 30, 2012 from Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
amy

 

@misslara-- as i said, i'm sure wendy is very busy. I am still hoping that she will respond to my last message, because in our back and forth she didn't address why an extension of the deadline was not publicly announced. 

@Robyn-- you're right-- organizers are usually given very little thanks, and it's a realy difficult job. and organizers should be given room to improve their events based on feedback. i think people are frustrated with USPDF in part becuse of the way that some things were handled last year (this is one person's account, to give you a sense of her opinion of some of the events that unfolded: [www.unitedpoleartists.com] and there was a sentiment that USPDF was not responsive to concerns voiced by competitors. 

To me... this goes back to one of my concerns-- how is one to know about all the ethical violations and issues, unless it is openly discussed? i dont know anything about copyright violations surrounding a competition, or really even which competition you are talking about. I have heard vaguely about issues with Pole2Pole changing venues last minute, which is the only competition that came from the UK to the US that I'm aware of. You seem to be much more familiar with the details of all the wrongdoing. but you know-- I know peopel who competed in that! and i STILL never heard anything about the history of anything like what your'e describing. and i'm sure the people i know didn't, when they were applying. 

@ocuspocus, i think you have an interesting idea. i know that there are wheels turning to try to get together a group of people to create an ethics panel for competitions in the US, to come up with just such a list and try to hold organizations accountable to maintain certain ethical standards. i hope that it succeeds, because we could definitely use it.
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
amy

i have a few suggestions to add on to the list of ethical practices. does anyone else have ideas?

-posting criteria/judging information and guidelines for submission videos in advance, with clear deadlines (listed by time zone, if applicable), and refusal of any submissions or submission fees after the deadline has passed

-time before the competition for a complete run through on the rigging/apparatus to be used for the actual competition, especially if last minute changes are made

-medical staff and supplies on site in case of an emergency 

-adequate warm up time continuous (immediately before) to when a competitor is actually expected to go on stage

-a contract for each competitor that allows for them to openly discuss positive and negative aspects of the competition 
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
amy

sorry, that link two posts up didn't go through right... it's here 

[www.unitedpoleartists.com]
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Mary Ellyn

Amy...none of that is new - it was all in place for Midwest last year.

However I will say that full rehearsals is not always possible when a venue charges thousands of dollars and charges by the hour. To allow a full run through for all competitors may not be within everyone's budget. Also that isn't exactly related to ethics - it's just how it's organized.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Mary Ellyn

To everyone...I'd also like to point out again that the Pole Dance Community has a code of conduct already in place. It's the second link down on this page:

[www.poledancecommunity.com]

 

Why re-create the wheel when it's already been addressed. The question is how to encourage organizers to use it? Which is what the group Amy alluded to is going to be working on.

 
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Anonyma

Same situation here in canada

some people are tryin to control everything, create associations, blablabla blablabla

like this situation when the miss pole canada couldnt be there physically to pass the crown, and they woudlnt give it to the first runner up

then the first runner up won all the prizes...even best costume, when in fact other participants got wayyy better costume,,,,it s all biaised

It pisses me off cause when I speak out about those situations, i know others think the same but wont say a word, and then  I am the bad one, all the time 
May 30, 2012 from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
misslara
@Amy - these are great points, I definitely think you are the person to make it happen! I look forward to seeing the development of the ethics committee, please keep us posted on your work.
May 30, 2012
Mary Ellyn

@MissLara...I'm actually on that committee...I will definitely fill everyone in and if anyone has any suggestions feel free to post them here or message me so that I can take it to the group when we meet next month! 
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Mary Ellyn

@MissLara...I'm actually on that committee...I will definitely fill everyone in and if anyone has any suggestions feel free to post them here or message me so that I can take it to the group when we meet next month! 
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Irmingard

This is an interesting discussion. Obviously it's important to a lot of people or it wouldn't have received such a strong reaction. It shouldn't polarize the community so much though.

I see both sides. I see the side of those that feel USPDF has been elusive in aspects. Why should it be forbidden to offer feedback or ask questions? Especially in cases where details have been hazy. I also see the side of the organization which has been one of the leading names in competitive pole dance for a reason. They offer women across the country an outlet to compete professionally and have given noticeable recognition to pole dancing. And as we have heard, it is not easy to create and run a competition. Do I think they are a perfectly run organization? No. Do I think there is some secretive reason behind the reason why? No. Do I think they should be open to feedback or questions as they are developing? Yes. 

Those on both sides need to take a step back and realize we are not so different in the outcomes we seek. I'm sure everyone in here can agree they would welcome a safe and fair competition that would promote pole dancing in a positive way. That "ideal" competition will take work and some tweaking. We are a brand new industry. But let's not assume the other side is on a witch hunt to take us down or a conniving powerhouse. What we need is an open dialogue. I'm sure once either side opens up in a non-defensive way they will see the other side more receptive to discussion.

Maybe USPDF did not handle this competition or those past flawlessly. For example the deadline issue could have been more clearly expressed and when there was confusion should have been explained. This is still a hazy component in which an explanation is reasonable to ask for. I'm sure that issue won't happen next year though. I don't believe there were ill intentions behind the misinformation though. I really don't. And I think however messy it was in choosing the line-up, there will be some amazing dancers in this year's competition. 

I hope USPDF remains receptive to constructive feedback for improving competitions and communication with the public in the future. I also hope those bringing up those questions remain respectful and empathetic. 

Finally I will say this. We don't need to all agree to be peaceful. Opposite views are great! We need respect though. This respect has been broken on both sides here. Before we speak we should ALL be mindful of the power our words hold. Let's just try that way and see what happens. Then go from there.  

 
May 30, 2012
amy

@empyrean-- i am not trying to claim that i'm coming up with new ideas, or say that these ethical guidelines are not followed already by any one competition. i appreciate that you feel strongly about midwest, and your event, being strong ethically, but i'm hoping that we can discuss problems that we've seen in other events, and how to help fix them. i'm offering suggestions for people to comment on and give feedback on, and come up with additional suggestions as a group. i think it's great that PDC hs come up with guidelines of their own, but i like the idea of organically, as a group, coming up with our own suggestions and seeing how they match and/or contrast (independently) with what another organization, or other peple, have come up with. some of the items that i put in my list, or what ocuspocus put in theirs, aren't in the PDCs, and are things that other competitors have brought up as concerns to me based on their experiences in events here in the US. 

@oliviaa, i'm sorry that you feel you ahve been attacked. i know how you feel. and it's hard to be sticking your neck out, and feel like you're being attacked for honesty. i think that in my experience with this USPDF issue, i've realized that while i had good intentions, sometimes, people read or interpret your messages in a way that you didn't necessarily intend or forsee and whether or not you have good intentions, you can still be hurtful and cause people to be defensive. but i think that if you see unethical behavior, you SHOULD speak up about it, if it is something that you cannot stand for. it's better to maintain your principles then to gloss over something that you think is important.

@irmingard, i think you're right in that people tend to get defensive and offensive before thinking about really trying to reach a middle ground. i think we're all human, and we've all made a mistake liek that in the past. frustration can play a big role in that too. i do want to say that regardless of what happend with USPDF and whatever decisions they've made, no one is questioning the quality and talent in the competition. i hope that is true for everyone. and i am glad you brought up the point that we might need to navigate through differing opinions before coming to a better understanding. i really agreed with the status update that you posted a cuople days back, about how we as women tend to shy away from confrontation and conflict when those are not necessarily negative things, and when sometimes they are necessary to reach an understanding or affect change. things need to be kept respectful and i think the reason why feelings were so hurt is because that line was really crossed. i haven't gotten any more requets to post anything anonymously, so at least on my end, hopefully that won't happen again!
May 30, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
Mary Ellyn

@ AMy...I'm certainly not accusing you of making any claims and I, as everyone else, certainly appreciates your dedication to making the competition world a better place!!! I'm just pointing out that the wheel may have been already created...or at least started...and we don't have to start from scratch. Hopefully organizations that have put this into the works will help get the ball rolling.

And by no means is MY competittion the only one that is ethical. There are many that have already proven themselves as being above board. Florida Pole Fitness Championships and Pacific Pole Championships just to name a couple. I hope I didn't come across as thinking mine was the only one!

I just want to turn this into a more positive outlook that many organizers already are using these same criteria and there really isn't anything new about it to THOSE competitions.

Your ideas to get everyone to contribute are awesome...in fact that is exactly what I also suggested since I'll be part of that committee you mentioned! We fully intend to use the suggestions from the community and to use the groundwork already laid by these reputable competitions and organizers.

The future looks bright for competitions - we are still growing and a lot of people want to learn from the past.
May 30, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Anonyma

sad to say but no matter what, there will always be someone insatisfied with the competitions!

someone who will think its biaised ect ect 

its  hard to find judges who dont know the competititors ect ect 
May 30, 2012 from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
amy
@empyrean, I think we are agreeing, I'm really not taking your comments personally.

@oliviaa, it's true that people will disagree about who should have won. But i feel that is a small part of a competition when you are talking about ethics-- we also need to think about protecting the competitors and making sure that competitions don't take advantage of them. For example, making sure that they know the judging criteria and how each round will run and be scored. Not all competitions are good about informing them of that!
May 31, 2012 from New York, New York, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

If you look through the forum here you will see that this is NOT the first time these issues have been brought up.  There has been great debate after quite a few of the large competitions and things that have happened.

 

Worlds: [www.studioveena.com]

 

General Competitions: [www.studioveena.com]

 

Online Voting: [www.studioveena.com]

 

IPDFA: [www.studioveena.com]

 

APFC: [www.studioveena.com]

 

These conversations have been going on for several years and some people are listening and some are not.  I don't think any of us are trying to downplay any of the competitors, that is not what this conversation is about.  This conversation is about finding a set of standards and as a community holding competiitions to those standards.  PDC has done just that and I am not sure why organizations that clearly are pushing for Olympic approval are not abiding by a set standard.  I cannot seem to find the information I am about to reference, but I believed that for admission of a sport that there needed to be a set standard by which the sport was judged and that standard needed to be recognized by a set number of countries.  Empy, I know you are well versed in this subject.  Please correct me if I am wrong.
May 31, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
Mary Ellyn

Chem, yes I'm involved as I am Chair of the Technical Committee for  Pole Sports Organization which is setting the first competition with criteria which will hopefully, eventually, end in the Olympics.

I did not see the original source from which our criteria was based as that was drawn up by KT Coates and Tim Trautman. KT Coates and I developed the criteria for rules and guidelines based on these documents (which were hundreds of pages long) and then distributed it among out committee members for finalizings and adapting it to pole.

Then we brought on people like  Natalie Takanawa (head judge for the IPDFA) and Ania Przeplasko (head of the IPDFA) and several other people from around the world to develop our own rules and criteria based upon the guidelines set by the International Olympic Organization.

It is the hope that these rules and criteria will be the standards for pole competitions around the world. So actually the PDC and the Pole Sports Organization are aleady working toward this goal.

It is several of us from both of these organizations plus many other well-known names in the pole industry who are in the process of setting a meeting to bring us all together to work on some uniformity among competitions.

I believe KT already publicized the rules and criteria but I'll have to search for it. - I'm not certain as we've done so much work on this for the past year and half that it's a bit of a blur what I saw posted and where!

 

 
May 31, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Mary Ellyn

I should also add that while I developed the criteria for Midwest and now the North American Championships - they were developed with the same criteria we are using for IPSF (the pole Olympic org) and then organizations like Florida Pole Fitness  Championships and Pacific Pole Championships followed the criteria I used to develop their own guidelines in a way that reflected their vision.

So we all have been working together already. Rules and scoring doesn't need to be the exact same as different organizations will have different visions of the focus of their competitions but it really is happening already.

I'm not at liberty to say  but there is something really big and exciting coming soon but we aren't ready to present things publicly just yet.

So please...keep the ideas coming! We are listening and are happy to hear your thoughts!
May 31, 2012 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Anonyma

anyways, competitions in the US  are looking a lot more professional than here in canada
May 31, 2012 from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
sherrepolesque
I know Body and Pole is a top studio but why would a Comp organizer allow several judges from that studio to judge when they have students of their own competing? that is not fair! Thoughts.......
Sep 23, 2013
sherrepolesque
I know Body and Pole is a top studio but why would a Comp organizer allow several judges from that studio to judge when they have students of their own competing? that is not fair! Thoughts.......
Sep 23, 2013
miss fern
In relation to instructors/studio owners judging their own students at competitions - I think this is fine. I wouldn't want 75% of the judging panel to be from one school or anything, but to be honest I would rather be judged by someone from a competing pole school than someone who doesnt know enough about pole! And pickings can be pretty slim some times - just because someone is a good pole performer, or makes pole costumes, or used to do gymnastics, I doesnt necessarily mean they would be a competent pole judge. So I'd hate to see someone less suitable picked over a good judge, just because the latter has their own girls in the lineup. The criteria and judging systems should be set up in such a way as to to prevent bias so things like knowing people who are competing should be less of an issue.
Sep 28, 2013 from Queensland, Australia
 
donnalee Paid Member
I just recently signed up for the your lessons and love them. I already own several DVD sets such as Felix & Jamilla. Those are wonderful as well, but I must state that I love your longer explanations and demonstrations plus the written info that appears.
more testimonials