I recently had the pleasure of judging the University of East Anglia vs University of Essex pole competition. All the competitors did amazingly well! It takes so much guts to get up on stage and show the world a routine that you’ve been working on for months. I admire anyone that takes part in competitions (I’ve done it before, never again!).

Whilst judging I noticed that the competitors that placed and stood out to us all did the same things. So I thought I’d write a little blog post about how you can stand out if you’re competing soon!

How to make the judges love you!

Point your toes

Yes, something that your instructor probably says all the time. It really does make a massive difference! If two competitors are similar but one points their toes throughout the routine and the other doesn’t, the person who pointed their toes’ performance will have looked neater and more polished overall. It’s something so simple yet it makes everything look so much better! 

Clean lines 

If your legs are meant to be straight, really engage your quads to make them as straight as possible! Or make your leg properly bent. If the move is perfectly executed but your leg is ‘kind of’ straight it will make it look messy. The same goes for arms/hands, really extend them especially when doing floorwork and moves between the poles. It’s so easy to worry about having pretty feet and legs that arms often get forgotten.

Do easier tricks really well

You definitely want to push yourself but often it’s better to do a slightly easier move that you can do really well and can execute it perfectly than trying to do a harder move that you can only just do. An easier move executed perfectly and confidently will look amazing compared to a slightly harder move that the competitor has struggled to get into, looks shaky in then almost falls out of.

Finish moves, no matter how small

Think that fireman spin that you’ve put in just to fill a bit of time doesn’t really matter? Every second of your routine is judged, not just the hard moves. Simple spins look beautiful! Try not to rush through the entry and exit, take your time and finish every movement.

Get your angles right

This will take so much practise working out where you need to invert to get the right angle. It can be the difference between seeing an amazing move and just looking at someone’s crotch!

Remember, it’s a performance

Tell a story, do poses, do floorwork, dance etc. These are the things that will make the whole routine look amazing instead of just individual tricks. You will be judged on fluidity, performance and stage presence. For me, the competitors that put on a show and have good dance aspects to their routines stand out above competitors that do as many tricks as possible. Check out my recent blog post on Small Tips to Improve your Pole / Aerial

Pick your outfit carefully

The last thing your want when you’re on stage is to be worrying about whether your boobs or anything else is going to fall out! Fidgeting with an outfit is going to take the judges attention away from the fabulous routine you want them to be watching. (I made this mistake when I was competing, floaty outfit looked great, not so great when it gets caught around your legs!)  

Look at the audience/judges

I never realised how important this was until I started watching competitions and in particular when judging. Having someone look at you instantly makes you feel more connected to them! Keep looking up throughout your performance. It’ll make you look super confident (even if you don’t feel it!) and make your performance more engaging for anyone watching.

and most of all

Enjoy it! 

If you’re smiling and looking like you’re enjoying yourself it’ll make other people enjoy themselves. Try to relax and take in the experience. A pole competition is so much fun, you’re already doing amazing just by entering!

Good luck anyone that’s competing! Let me know how you get on xx