That is not the beginning of terrible joke, I promise. But it is a good…
Pole Theatre was founded by pole star, Aussie sisters Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle in Sydney, Australia and is now held in now 20 countries with a worldwide competition, aptly named Pole Theatre World, of all individual country overall winners (and eligible division winners) to be held this cycle in England for pro and new this year, semi pro. Each country has a different organizer and Torwa Joe is our country’s newest leader.
Held during one action packed day and night, the Semi-Pros kicked off the competition in the afternoon on August 4th followed by the Pros later in the evening. It was hosted in a unique space that also serves as a film studio and was where Fast and the Furious was filmed! The black box type atmosphere provided privacy and Joe—or Fiyastarter as she’s also known—provided catered options featuring some of the healthiest and most delicious food the city had to offer. I personally made sure to sample all the vendors, for quality control purposes of course =)
Joe and her team organized workshops and fun outings for competitors, all-star judges including Shimmy and Sparkle, Carmine Black and Blue Phoenix as well as guests during an entire weekend full of southern hospitality featuring a “Strip and Stroke” workshop (male revue + painting class) and a “field trip” to the famous Pink Pony, one of the event’s many sponsors.
Pole Theatre USA ATL kicked off with competitors vying for titles in four unique divisions: Pole Art, Pole Drama, Pole Comedy, and Pole Classique as well as the overall champion title. Competitors came not only from Atlanta but also from all over the United States and other countries including Ireland!
The tagline of Pole Theatre is to “tell your story” and competitors absolutely delivered. While this is a pole competition, the rules are slightly different with tricks being only one element of the scoring criteria. Each division has it’s own unique requirements, such as in Pole Classique, which requires competitors remove at least one item of clothing and wear heels for at least part of their performance. Pole Art requires competitors to integrate another dance style into their performance whereas Pole Drama participants must tell a clear story. Pole Comedy, as you can imagine, must make people laugh. All competitors are judged on their costume and props, movement around the stage and audience engagement, in addition to their division specific rules.
Pole Theatre hopefuls applied with a video submission and a full stage concept including prop and costume and were notified of acceptance in early June. Most competitors took full advantage of the human prop allowance, telling detailed stories and many had costume changes or inanimate props that helped to move their stories forward. Divisions are purposefully small with three to five competitors each, which provided a highly curated showcase to attendees and a tight competition environment amongst the extraordinarily talented and creative competitors.
Semi-pro really needs to be renamed, as it’s hard to tell the difference between the strength and creativity the afternoon competitors showcased from the evening show. Many competitors used new-this-year technology to show a projection movie behind their performance. This technology allowed competitors to enhance their story telling and “set the scene” for their piece.
The Professional divisions were filled with well known pole dancers and returning Pole Theatre veterans as well as some new competitors including (but not limited to – seriously, everyone is a decorated and amazing dancer) Brian Wolf, Sammy Wong, Tanesha B, Arlene Caffrey and ME returning to Pole Comedy with an engaging piece about the true history of pole dancing.
Renee Wu, a multiple winner at previous Pole Theatres, came back to win again! Continuing to show her versatility on stage and also took overall winner.
Check out the full results below and follow all of these amazing dancers on the gram! Pole Theatre will be back next year. Follow them so you can apply and “tell your story” on the big stage!
Full Results Professional:
Renee Wu @reneefuzz
Full Results Semi-Pro: