02 December, 2013

UKPPC emotional rollercoaster.

Even for spectators; competitions are an emotional journey. Screaming at amazing tricks, getting lost in beautiful dancing, cringing at mistakes, feeling sad and sympathetic when things go wrong. I always leave competitions feeling utterly and completely emotionally drained. This years UKPPC was no different. In fact, it was worse. I really wish I took a notebook and pen to keep track of my thoughts as the day went on.

Right from the beginning I have to say that the UKPPC is one of my favourite competitions of the year, barring Pole Art, and that all views expressed here are simply my own - a non-competitive pole instructor. I have no insight in to scoring systems or judging. Kate Edwards, and everyone else who helps run the event, work incredibly hard every year and deserve an incredible amount of respect. It's easy to point out the bad and ignore the good, which is what I am going to do here, but clearly a lot of people enjoyed the event. In fact so did I but I feel like in reality no one ever does mention the negatives. So I am going to play devils advocate a little bit.

Quite simply I was a little disappointed this year. No one was bad per se but everything felt a little off. The first thing I noticed was that a lot of the performers were attempting to include "impressive" moves that they weren't really that comfortable with. The result was a LOT of sloppy fonji's and an array of other messy moves. Nerves clearly play a part but if you are not 100% you can do a move every single time then don't do it! It is better to do a simple move well than an "impressive" one with legs flailing and feet flexed. Strangely I was also more impressed this year with the instructor category than with the professional or elite categories. Though the routines were more polished than the instructor category; it all just felt very bland. We discussed this after the competition and came to the conclusion that maybe our disappointment was due to our own improvement as pole dancers; it simply takes more to impress us. Possibly. It's important to say that quite frankly I couldn't do half the routines these girls do. Pole dancers from beginners to advanced amaze me and impress me every day. I just wanted to be completely wow-ed. To see new combinations and new moves I hadn't before. This just wasn't the case for the most part but there were some beautiful routines and a lot of really good dancing.

The poles seemed very slide-y. My table commented early on about this so it was kind of no surprise, though utterly devastating, when Amy Williams had to stop her performance because she was sliding so much. It was heartbreaking to watch as she tried to continue but ultimately could not and ended up walking off the stage with her hands over her face. The break was straight after her attempted performance, and at the bar getting myself a bottle of cider, Sam Ames, of The Pole Studio, ran up and asked for vodka to clean the poles. Which begs the question, what were they using previously? She was given the chance to perform again and ended up being the runner up in her category, ohmygod the look on her face when they announced that was amazing, but it must have been a really horrible experience. On top of that there were some issues with music; they didn't have one competitors music and guest performer Elena Gibson had to start again when her music stopped early on. However, this is just an issue that can happen at all sorts of events and nothing particularly major.

The last disappointment for the day was a lack of Jess Leanne Norris, who posted on facebook shortly before the competition that, although she would be attending, she would not be competing due to having been ill all week.

In other more positive UKPPC related news....sparkles and glitter were IN this year. Oh holy fuck. Amy Williams had the most impressive costume of them all; check it out above! Yes it really was that sparkly! Total Ariel vibes going on. Other performers who had sparkly costumes include; Kassia Portas, Steph Foster, Sarah Ritch, Dan Rosen and Leah Rose. All of the videos from the day can be found on youtube, thanks Emy Dawn!, here.

The event was bigger this year with more sponsors and more stalls. From the usual Wink Designs, Everything Pole Dancing and X-Pole to new stalls from Candyass Clubwear, performers union Equity and many others. Other improvements were having less competitors which made for a shorter day. Last year the event didn't finish until gone 11pm having started at 3pm. It did get a bit tedious and I felt very fidgety by the end.

The Results. 
Annalisa Muresu - Winner.
Laura Pearson - Runner Up.

Leah Rose - Winner.
Amy Williams - Runner Up.

Bendy Kate - Winner
Lisette Krol - Runner Up.

Regardless of my moaning everyone who placed utterly deserved it; though I had expected Daniel Rosen to be included in amongst the winners. He brought to the stage, as promised, something entirely new for him. It was one of the best routines he has ever done, though nothing beats his Mrs. Doubtfire routine from last year, lets be honest! He threw in a star fish this year, totally risky move but he pulled it off flawlessly and he did win the Sponsor's Choice award which he definitely deserves. His routine last year was a lot of fun but this year he was plain fierce.

Guest performers Elena Gibson, Sally-ann Giles and Rebecca Starr were impressive and entertained us whilst the scores were counted. In particular I love Sally-ann's style. She's just such a sexy minx! Elena Gibson was the complete opposite with her beautiful beautiful beauttttiful soft routine. And I had never heard of Rebecca Starr but was equally impressed with her upbeat fun routine. Definitely have to check out more of her videos!

In regards to the Elite winner; at the time I was a little disappointed with Bendy Kate's performance and couldn't understand why she had won. I was encouraged to watch the video on returning home and wow NO that was flawless as fuck. From where we were sat I missed a lot of little details which made the routine really quite perfect. Well deserved Kate! Other highlights were Annalisa Muresu and Leah Rose. Definitely check those routines out. Just check out all the routines. Really.

We've done the bad and the good. So now I encourage you to share your opinions on this years UKPPC by commenting below!

- Bex