Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pole Art 2013

I revisited Pole Art last week. And yet again I was amazed. The amount of talent involved in pulling through any of the shows there is beyond my comprehension... both physical skills and artistic talents. The Savoy theater and its stage with the impressive lights was really perfect for this event!

About the performances... I really enjoyed the first guess show with Saulo Sarmiento & Anna de Carvalho. Perhaps for me it's the dynamics between two dancers - like in zouk - that really can bring the show to the next level.

For the competitors I perhaps like the most this one by Nataliia Tatarintseva from Ukraine. Stunning work like all the top competitors but for me it really stood out with its' pop music song and joyful attitude (which both sadly seemed to be totally uncool at this event - the pole dancers feel it's only "artistic" to portray drama and despair, not joy!?!). Just a small minus from me from the gymnast poses in between but a pleasure to watch every moment of this show. She even positively reminded me of Whitney from the Body Guard days!

Unfortunately it could be the lack of shock, drama or mystique that didn't land the prize for Nataliia (4th place). Female series champion was Heidi Coker (USA) and runner up Oona Kivelä (Finland).

The guys were also keen on dramatic shows so I was excited to see such a contrast to this trend with Derick Pierson from USA. Being funny is not what you'd expect and he really nailed his theme! Like you can see on the video below also his work on the pole was really amazing and he deservedly was placed as the runner up. My 2011 Pole Art favourite Evgeni Greshilov from Russia won this year (though actually I liked his show from 2011 better)!

So a bit about the background of this event. Pole Art is one of the most respected (if not the most respected) competitions in pole dancing in the world. Hosted bi-annually in Stockholm and in Helsinki the event takes currently 10 female and 5 male pole dancers to compete for the Pole Art title. The competitors are selected by the organisers / Pole Art panel from their video entries and only the best of the best can dream about competing there. In the competition the judges (five esteemed industry professionals) rate the 2:30-3:30 minute long performances based on their technical difficulty (25%), execution (25%), performance and choreography (25%) and originality (25%). This year the judges did not give points to the performances but only ranked the winner for female and male category: the winner and the runner-up were chosen based on those rankings.

Award ceremony - sorry about the image quality

Though I admired the event there are a couple things the organisers should really think about improving (from the spectators point of view). The main problem with the show was the unprofessional hosts that clearly had trouble with hosting the event in English. They were struggling with their lines constantly and on numerous occasions got lost in their script, forgot what they were going the say or even didn't know what was going on. They really stuck out like a sore thumb in the otherwise stunning competition. Please please please hire professional hosts for the next events! Another thing, a couple times they started to close the curtains before a performance was finished, this could be improved on. And finally, the afterparty location (Bläk) was not suited for this event. It was too small and the promised unofficial spin competition was cancelled as they couldn't fit the poles in the place - pretty ridiculous not to have poles in a pole dancing party!! The after party place was announced months before the event so they should have had plenty of time to figure that out.

Despite the couple of negative points I can truly recommend this event, even for those that have never seen pole dancing before. There is no way that you will not be amazed!

Personally I wish we could have zouk shows at this kinds of old theaters and with lighting planned in detail as in the pole shows... Something we can learn from this!

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