Since becoming what I like to call a “pole baby” (someone who is new to the pole dance community), I have diligently searched YouTube for inspiration and discovered tons of competitions where women and some men, compete for various titles nationally and abroad. Enter Polesque. Polesque is a burlesque style competition that takes place in Brooklyn every year (I think in Spring and Fall). The most recent one was on May 7th and I’m sorry I missed it because from the videos floating around online I can tell it was a blast.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this year’s winner was a woman who unwittingly inspired me at the very first pole class that I took. She’s a big girl who doesn’t have the body of a dancer but I was fascinated when I saw her in that first class (at Crunch) busting out advanced moves, because she was confident and the only (or one of few) big girls brave enough to take pole and actually get good at it.
Her name is Roz Mays aka “The Diva,” and not only does she show that big girls can pull off pole dancing well, but that it’s not always about the difficulty of the tricks that makes you good (a mental block that I’m currently caught in the midst of), it’s your swag and stage presence that count too. Check her out:
Polesque consists of a panel of judges but they take into consideration what the audience wants. At the end of the night, the top three women, who get chosen by the judges, must battle in a pole war where each woman shows what she’s working with, and ultimately the audience decides who wins. Check this out:
All the women whose videos that I’ve watched from this competition were very talented and inspirational but Roz represents something more palpable to me. It’s easy to be intimidated as a pole baby, by women who have been doing it longer. Right now I’m considered intermediate, and while I am making progress, I sometimes can’t help but look around at some of the other girls in the class who are a lot smaller than me and wonder how much my size factors in to the execution of certain tricks, or just feel self conscious in general because I’m working with more body.
However, watching The Diva’s performance showed me that there’s nothing I shouldn’t at least try but again, stage presence and confidence go a long way too. Granted, certain moves might be easier for certain people depending on body type, flexibility, etc, but if I try and fail, I should fake it til I make it.
On another note, here are some other Polesque performances that I thought were really cool too: