October 7, 2013
Colorado Pole Championships – Jen West’s personal experience
I wanted to share my personal experience (although not extensive) with participating in pole competitions. The first competition I submitted for was the Great Midwest Pole Competition in Tinley Park, IL in 2011. I had literally no idea what to expect for the competitors in the Masters Division (over 40) and I was incredibly impressed with the talent and strength! I had trained hard but was incredibly nervous. At that point in my pole experience, I did not think to engage the audience so I looked down for most of the routine and the one time I did look at the audience, I completely lost my focus and ended up having to freestyle the last minute; and that rocked my world. I was so down on myself for forgetting. After I got over it a bit, I realized that it would not have made much difference in my result which was 5th out of 6. I had some work to do with my style!
The next large competition I was accepted to was the Colorado Pole Championships in Denver, CO. This time I chose a song that I knew would make me smile, however it was a challenging song to choreograph. I think I changed it at least 6 times! I had learned to look up, smile and use my arms much better than in 2011 so I was happy with that but I needed to set some goals for myself this time: do it for myself, be ok with not winning and to do unique tricks. I feel that I accomplished all three and for that I am proud. The one trick I really wanted to hit was the fonji, since not many people do it, and after I did it, I was sort of out of my body. I freestyled a few things on spin because I got going too fast but it did not freak me out this time. I did not have to focus so hard on the toe point or the straight legs because it was happening naturally. I ended up slipping out of the last trick but it did not bother me because I achieved my goals and ended with the music ha ha!!!
This time what I am taking away is that I have a unique style that I need to develop more. Transitions are my next goal! I ended up 3rd out of 5 and I am so proud. I have to add that the support I received from both friends and strangers was touching and unexpected from strangers especially. It tells me that I put on a good show for you. It also tells me that for you “polers” that I get the pleasure of seeing at Studio 3sixT or other studios, you get to share in my pole journey as much as I get to share in yours.
One last thing that I want to add about the Masters Division, because that is what I compete in, is that the friendly competition is so unique. It feels nice being able to train with competitors, give words of encouragement and receive them, truly be happy for the winners and make new friends. Although I do not consider us to be old, I am still amazed at what our aging bodies can do on the pole.