Sunday, 18 October 2009

Pole dancing competitions

Well, I am unlikely to gain any new friends from today's blog but I do feel that I need to get a few things of my chest. I have competed in national pole dancing competitions since 2006 and reached the finals of both PoleDivas and Miss Pole Dance UK for each of the last three years. Every year I have come across issues with each competition that I have attended but things have come to a head this year and as a result I have decided not to enter any more competitions and have declined the offer to judge at this years Miss Pole Dance UK event.

The subject of pole dance competitions is a difficult one for me as I get on well with the organisers of both Miss Pole Dance and Pole Divas but unfortunatley my role within the pole dance community has involved me dealing with numerous complaints about each competition that have proved that it is not just me who is unhappy wih the standard of UK pole comps. There is one exception to this rule and that is the United Kingdom Amateur Pole Performer competition; Everyone who I have spoken to about this event has had nothing but praise for the competition and the way in which is was organised and I have heard no complaints about the judging either.

I have just received my feedback from PoleDivas and have 2 real concerns about the judging and feedback process. If I compete in a professional competititon I expect to be able to see my scorecards yet in both PD and MPD  that is not possible. For a competition to be transparent and honest there is no reason why scorecards should be witheld, I know of no other competitive sport where points are kept a secret? I am not just being bitter about not winning the Bristol heats of PD and I am over the moon that one of my staff, Tamar, won and is competing in the grand finals and I am extremely proud of her and wish her all the best, I know she will be fabulous.

I don't want to get into a rant about the things I don't like about certain comptitions as I think that will just stir uneccesary bad feeling so instead I have a meeting with various renowned pole dancers to try to come up with a solution resulting in a big meeting in London where we hope to chat to the organisers of UKAPP, MPD, Pole Divas and BIPDC. Hopefully we can reach some kind of agreement about how we can improve the national pole dancing competition circuit.

More to follow on this delicate subject!

Stay Healthy

Sam x


korver101 said...

i just want to say thank you for posting this artical as 1 part of this atical also effects me.. i finaly the took plunge this year to enter my first compitition ever.. so i entered Pole Diva's 2009 Birmingham heat.. i run classes from my very own home in lincoln, as im a pole addict i dont charge a fee..i get a buzz and pleasure out of teaching a sport what i'm very passionate about, and enjoy watching my students enjoy the activity. I was placed in the professional catergory by the admins of PD.and planned my routine out carefully to make sure that i covered the required elements in the criteria, i knew if i didnt i wouldnt have a position in my heat. I had the best support anyone could ever offer on the day of pole divas and the routine went to satifactory.. 2 days ago i recieved my feedback from PD and was shocked to find that the judges claimed i missed a required element from the criteria which was stating the HIPHOLD,and therefore my poistion was UNPLACED.i knew in my own mind that i DID cover all elements and therefore watch the PD footage of myself that was recorded by my husband..and i DID complete the hiphold which was held for at least 3 could this be possible to miss? i understand all judges decisions are final but i think that if your not happy and have the proof and evidence this should be re-assesed. I have contacted PD by email with the attached video footage, and hoping i will get a positive result from this and reasons why this important move in the criteria was missed.I will NOT entering PD again as this has ruined my trust with the judges and the organision.. and could very well do so for other people if incident's like this keeps resulting.Im a very big believe in fair play, but sorry to say this is was a very unfair result for both of us.. take care hun and speak soon. sarah x

Steve said...

There are lots of reasons for not offering feedback and its not because we don't want to, its more we have chosen not too, so far anyway. Our scoring method is very thorough, all judges scores are independantly checked for consistancy and any irregular scoring it bought to the attention of the head judge who then invites all the judges to hear the reasoning for the score. This has only ever happened twice in 19 competitions and we are not talking regionals here but national and international competitions. Both times the scores were upheld by ALL judges. Opening up scores will invite debate and we do not want to get caught up in endless emails explaning our reason for the scores or decisions of individual judges as this would not be practical or fair. This year however, Miss Pole Dance UK have introduced an option on applications to allow feedback on a competitors performance in a constructive way and would cover many elements of not only stage performance, music, costume etc but more importantly technique as we have a qualified bio mechanical professional also assessing the competitors and we believe this will raise the standard of performance and tuition in the UK by helping remove bad habits and posture that can lead to bigger problems and obviously if girls are teaching then these 'habits' will be learn't by others. This option has already been taken up by a couple of competitors. We believe this is a more relevent way of offering feedback. At the end of the day, with Miss Pole Dance UK you are competing against some of the best performers in the UK with the winner going on to represent your Country at the highest level so its in all our interest to encourage top performance and constuctive feedback and we welcome any discussion to make this work effectively. We look forward to going through this with you Sam

Motion Stop Factory said...

Borrowing from insight in martial arts, judging is a hard task and requires a fair amount of know-how and experience. Those who step up to the plate to take on this responsibility need to be applauded. But this is no consolation to the competitors who fall foul of a controversial decision.

Judging is also a skill in its own right and it is essential to train and educate people to do it right. A person’s extensive involvement in the sport is an important prerequisite. However, on its own, it is unfortunately NOT ENOUGH. In the same way, a dancer that is fantastic on the pole does not automatically make her (or him) a good teacher. At amateur level, this is potentially less of an issue as the entrants are ‘not as refined’ in their moves and it’s probably easier to ‘split’ them into winner and runner-up. At a professional level, differentiating skilled persons becomes a nightmare.

In a perfect world, we would have ‘veterans’ of the sport judging. However, Pole Dance for fitness is still in it’s infancy in comparison to gymnastics for example. It will be hard to find someone who has had say 15 to 20 years of involvement through performing, teaching and competing. That’s the kind of ‘mileage’ judges in other sports have under their belt.

Another possible alternative would be to get highly talented persons to assess: dancers that the professionals look up to and respect. In which case, you’re probably looking at Felix/Jenyne/Alesia territory. This option is not really workable in view of the finance/logistics aspects.

It is not possible to overcome all the obstacles that lay in the way. We can only do the best we can, where we are and with whom we have.