Pole art – is one of the most confusing terms in pole dance industry. It`s getting more and more popular, but nonetheless even more confusing because of many competitions trying to promote “art on pole” philosophy. The main problem of art is that nobody understands, how it should be judged. For some, art is drama – the whole story told by the language of your body, when no words are needed, just dance. For others – it`s the dance routine with pole, with each move hitting the exact accent of the music. Some think art is the weird costume and make up, that combines with strange music and gives shocking feeling to the audience. I don`t know, who is right. I think, time will show us. After all, Van Gogh died in poverty as nobody wanted to buy his Sunflowers even for price of a sandwich. So in this post I want to tell you, what pole art is personally for me. And I excpect, that looooots of you will disagree, but you know, the competition I will tell you about is one of a very few, that are always a sold-out event. That means something, doesn`t it?
Who doesn`t know Bobbi and her studio? She was the first one to grab the pole dance out of the night clubs and make it mainstream fun for everybody. Miss Pole Dance Austrlia was the fisrt competition ever to attract the viewers from all around the world and leave them with the thought, that the pole is not only for striptease or circus, but also for beautiful athletic girls. I would say around 80 per cent of women, who started pole dancing, fell in love with the sport after seeing Felix`s videos – Bobbi`s girl and several times Miss Australia winner. Bobbi`s girls themselves are the brand. It means – flexibility, amazing bodies and lots of sex appeal.
This year for the first time (ever! As always))) Bobbi decided to do the only-male competition. Mr Pole Dance. And what can I say? She knew, what she was doing.
Years of experience do show, and Mr Pole Dance is the most well-organized competition I have ever seen. I worked on TV for quite a while, and I can say, that Mr Pole Dance is very close to the good TV shows in their atitude and organization. I`ll tell you why.
1. The most important thing in every competition is… judges? No! Stage? No! Host? No! The competitors. It`s not me, by the way, it`s Simon Cowell, who said it. You know Simon? The one, who created the X-factor and Got Talent? On Mr Pole Dance it was all about the competitors. Girls showed as much help and support as they could helping with documents and routine preperation. We had all the information in time, all the stage descriptions, poles, and most important – judges` critereas. In each letter the team kept repeating – we want a show from you, performance, do, whatever you want, but audience needs to go wild.
We had a schedule beforehand, but we could change the rehearsal times, if we needed more time or wanted to come in earlier or later. They did two types of poles, that were changed in intermission. As most of the competitors were from Australia, they were used to 38 mm brass ones, and all of the others wanted the 42 mm steel. Done. The only thing I didn`t like, there were the theatre lights. That`s by the way, the problem of ALL art competitions. The difference between stage light and circus light is, that lamps of stage light are actually on the stage. In a while the poles get that hot, you can fry eggs on them. With the meat from your palms.
The team did everything to turn off the competitive mood off. Girls cheered us up, made sure we got to get acquinted with each other, and it felt just like a regular theatre or circus show, not a championship. In our dressing rooms we had some good food and drinks (water and energy stuff) and everything for ironing, sewing and make up.
2. Atmosphere. Even though, when my wife saw Bobbi, she clutched my arm and whispered – Oh, my God, I can`t believe it, she exists! – there was no fuss around competiion at all. Nothing about “strongest”, “prestigious”, “elite”, “life-time opportunity”, “the best” etc. Simple is perfect. Everybody did their job, competitors rehearsed, the host joked, audience clapped, judges watched, no drama, no cockiness. Organizers didn`t sigh with spectacular eyerolls – we`ve changed the world for you! Competitors didn`t yell – it`s an honour for you, that I came!
One situation tells it all. In my performance I was a Jocker – both paying my respect to Australia, that gave birth to tremedously talanted Heat Ledger, and showing my inner badass side (though it`s inner, it`s not burried THAT deep, I must admit). Of course, the most important part of Jocker`s personality is his face. And, of course, I forgot my make-up in the hotel. It was less than two hours before the show, and as my wife rushed to cath a taxi, contestants (my rivals!) started coming up to me with everything from their stage make-up, I can use for Jocker`s face. It took me three minutes and help of five amazing guys, and I had everything I needed. That`s the sportsmanship.
3. Audience. Australians are the best audience in the world. There are many countries, that come close to them, but Aussies are unbeatable! They are positive, loud, open and cheering. The moment you get on stage, wherever you look in every face, in every pair of eyes you see the support and admiration, that gives you energy to go on.
4. Competition flow. Everything was on schedule, but no pressure. We were told, that we need to be backstage two contestants before ourselves. All the other time, we could watch the performances from audience (we had special seats in the front rows, reserved for us and our families) or warm up, or listen to music, or wander around. Everybody understood, we all were grown-up men, not naughty children, so no restrictions. We didn`t have to stand alone and stare at people, performing before us, getting more and more nervous. We could snack, and chat, and hide in dark corners to get into the chracter. At the end, can you believe it?! everybody showed up on time.
5. The host. I think, that every competition, which aims to entertain people needs to have a professional host. Of course, if it`s Pole Sport, where you compete for a sport`s title and there is a very Olympic serious atmosphere, nobody cares about the jokes. It`s enough to say – Jane Doe, Iceland, female singles. But a show needs a professional. One like Maxi. I mean, Maxi is a legend. He could be the only reason for competitors to be late for their turn. His spontenous sense of humour is hypnotizing and makes you cry with laughter. People like him own the stage. Not like when you get an organizer, who has a huge diamond dress and reads everything from a piece of paper, with her boyfriend in a toxido, who keeps calling pole dance - pool dance and staring at girls`s butts.
6. The judges. I didn`t even see them until the end of the competition. They came in, sat down, watched the performances, put down the scores and went home. No special attention, no dilemmas, no divas.
7. The prizes. It was the first competition after which I felt myself a pop-star. Seriously. I had that many presents, I couldn`t hold them. Everything – from delicious hand-made chocolate to thousands of dollars pole equipment and cash. And a limo-ride with champaign. It blew my mind.
To tell you the truth, I didn`t expect to win the competition at all. During three weeks in Australia everybody wished me luck and added – I hope, you`ll get second at least. There are so many speculations, that in Bobbi`s comps only Bobbi`s girls won. And “Bobbi`s boy” was good. His name was David and he knew, how to to the show. The performance, costume, props – were breathtaking. Oh, and me, as always. I told you already, I forgot my make-up. But also I lost the walking stick I brought all the way from Ukraine. I needed it for my performance, so I ordered one – with silver craft. Held it threw all 8 flights around Australia. And forgot in Adelaide. So I had to buy a new one. In pharmacy… I didn`t raise my hopes at all. I went backstage for the results` announcments. And when they called David as runner-up, everybody, all 16 left contestants looked at me. To be honest, that gesture was even more important for me, than my placement. I couldn`t believe it, me wearing a CROWN and winning in the male-verion of the competition, that discovered Felix…
So overall, what I want to tell you about Mr Pole Dance. It`s the show, captivating, mind-blowing and sexy. You can talk all you want if it is appropriate or not, gay or straight, honest or subjective, but for me it was art – freedom of expression, no critique, no tears, just passion.