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“Get In Loser, We’re going to PoleCon” Why you should choose Pole Con; a Love Story.

Last year on a whim I submitted a less-than-perfect video of a competition piece I had done in Atlanta to the 2023 Pole Con performer application with no expectation of getting in but just figured, “What the hell?”.  I am not the technically cleanest performer and there were several mistakes in the piece I attached in the Google form.  The Pole Sport judges had ripped me apart in the notes leading me to believe that, though I could be entertaining; I was not someone who would be considered in a showcase selection or gig.  I can’t tell you what possessed me but I filled out the online form and sent it to the pole of the universe, letting the creative goddesses take the wheel.  I had never been to PoleCon.  I had never attended any pole event that wasn’t with my studio competition team.  If I got in, I would be going solo and it would be a very eat, pray, pole situation.  As the day of judgment came, I waited for my “Thank you for your submission blah blah blah….” Rejection email so I could put it to bed and move on.  First of all, this is a terrible mentality to have and is a habit I’m trying to unlearn.  To my surprise, I got accepted and so started my PoleCon journey as a lone little fishy in a big ocean, sharing a stage with graceful dolphins.

Then I saw the costs…

Turned out that getting accepted was the easy part.  There is the cost of the convention passes, the travel, and the hotel.  And that’s if you plan to just go and not do anything or eat.  After all those basic costs you have to consider food and drink, shopping, and workshops that fill up faster than you can say “Please Save my Iron X Nichole the Pole!”.  Oh, you may think you’ll resist the shopping but when you walk in and see all those cute outfits, merchandise, and different grips; the retail demon will try to possess you. I looked at all these costs and thought… “All this just to get on a stage for 3mins and 15 seconds”.  I started to question if this was a good idea but I had set this goal and I’m not a quitter.  Here are the reasons I recommend you do it too.

The Community

First of all, I would like to say that in general, the pole community is beautiful.  Even in competitions where you are battling out with others for medals and Instagram stories, I have always felt welcomed and empowered.  That said, PoleCon is even better because it removes that tension and nerves that come with competition and everyone can show up just to have fun and learn, flexed feet be damned.  There is a special bond you make when doing middle split drills in Ashley Fox’s Bendy Flexy Workshop and making eye contact with someone also trying to breathe through it and you both agree that this lady is in fact… insane. (Love you, Ashley!).  Whether you are a performer or not, you have so many possibilities to connect with other people from all over the globe and different backgrounds over one mutual passion and it is truly a beautiful thing.  Think about it as making summer camp friends (I’ve never been to summer camp but that’s how I hear it is!) 

The Education

We love our home studios and favorite instructors; that will never change.  Yet at PoleCon you have the opportunity to learn from different people’s perspectives and styles.  You never know, after many frustrations and failed attempts at getting your fish flop, just a small suggestion or tweak from Amy Bond’s workshop may be the key.  I mean come on, where else can you learn “Southern Low Flow” by FiyaStarta? Or “Bruja Movement” from Irlanda La Bruja Negra?  If you’re ball’n on a budget like me and can’t afford the paid workshops, there are also amazing free classes and seminars.  I have never felt more seen and validated than the Sex Worker Panel and look forward to attending again. On top of all that, you learn about yourself.  What brings you joy, where do you want to go in your pole journey, maybe you discover you like sparkly costumes after trying a unique piece from one of the vendors.  As long as you stay present and your mind open, you’ll come with a bit more “pole enlightenment”.

The Support and Networking

Again, I came to PoleCon completely alone.  There were some friends of the studio attending but we didn’t travel together and were on our own schedules so I was flying solo.  At no point did it ever feel like that.  If you are performing right off the bat you can connect with additional performers in the Facebook group and “meet” others in your showcases.  This is how I also took the risk of splitting a hotel room with polers I’d never met to save money. I was nervous because I hadn’t shared a room with strangers since college in the dorms but it made sense to the budget.  Not to mention, it would force me not to isolate myself and be more of an active participant.  It ended up being an incredible experience and we all respected each other’s space and sleep.  (Shout out to Utter Beauty, and take her “Use Yo’ Meat” Workshop!).

On Sunday my roomies got notified that their flight back to Texas was canceled and they would be able to fly out for a day or two.  Thankfully because of the connections they made in the pole community and at the convention, they were able to find places to crash and lay their heads until then.  ‘

This support doesn’t just happen for performers.  You have so many opportunities to connect with others in seminars and classes or maybe just from dancing next to each other while watching the Black Girls Pole showcase. (You’re going to dance trust me, it’s lit).  You also have the chance to meet companies and sponsors you could work with in the future or different studios you will want to visit on a future date.  (I still plan to make it to Phoenix Fitness and Dance I promise guys!).  From what I have experienced, everyone is there to root each other on and make connections.  Maybe go to Medieval Times.

The Entertainment

This one is probably more obvious but still needs to be acknowledged.  The showcases will blow your mind and inspire you.  You have the opportunity to see performances from different cultures like Latin Heritage, Black Girls Pole, and Queer, to different styles such as Experimental, Power Flow, and Contemporary.  You have a Comedy Pole to make you laugh and a Creepy Pole to make you shiver. Not to mention, hello!? Aerial! There are not a lot of opportunities to catch live Aerial performances so this is a great opportunity. Furthermore, you have Men of Pole, Dangerous Curves, Sexy, Low Flow and Floorwork, Sports, Youth, Up, and Coming Stars and so many more.  If you are like me who regularly competes, there is a special joy and peace in just watching a performance and not having to worry about performing yourself.  Make sure to plan your day accordingly!

The Memories

This is cheesy on my part but it’s true! How many people can be at the coffee machine at work on Monday and answer the “How was your weekend?” question with “Oh ya now, caught up on Bravo and oh, went to a Pole Dancing Convention”? For one whole weekend, you can disappear from your “Real World”, and totally emerge in your passion with other passionate people and leave your troubles behind.  See tricks and skills you’ve never seen before then take workshops to learn how to do them.  To share pole stories (and whatever else) with another poler from across the country?  Meet some Instagram icons you’ve been Fan-theming for years and saving their videos.  And this year, even play some slot machines and have some drinks while still in your costume from Creepy Showcases. (Not that I know anything about that…). It’s a great time to bond with friends and make it a fun little trip, or go it alone and make new colleagues. Why not both?  There is a seat for everyone in the Pole community.  Let this be something just for you and your joy and let the chips fall as they may.

 

Last year I remember packing before I caught the NYC —> Baltimore train to Live! Casino, still questioning if I wanted to go.  I was worried about the money I was spending if I would be lonely if these strangers I agreed to stay with would be chill, if it was even going to be worth it at all.  I will forever be grateful I put on my big-girl panties and headed to Penn Station that day because it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my adult life. Now here I am writing to them.  So if you were looking for a sign, here it is!

It’s not like we’re a cult…. We promise… not a cult…

 

 

Casey Danzig
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