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You’ve Been Selected to Perform at PoleCon 2020, Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve been selected to perform at PoleCon 2020! We’re heading back to where it all started ten years ago in the great city of New Orleans aka NOLA. As a previous performer and someone who amazingly got selected to perform again this year, I feel it is my duty to share some words of wisdom with you. If nothing else, you can get a good laugh at how my first performance turned out and how I took it in stride regardless.

Reflect back on your submission and start to visualize a look and feel of the performance. What does it look like to you? What kind of music is playing? What props will you be using? How does your outfit reflect your performance? These are all things to consider when beginning to formulate your routine. Also consider practicality and transportation. You may want to float on a mattress but, how will you pack said mattress, will you have time and money to get one once you arrive in NOLA? These are all things to take into consideration.

For me personally, every routine starts with my song selection. It’s how I choose my outfit, props, and begin thinking about choreography. Two years ago when I performed in the Up and Coming Showcase, I chose to perform to ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. I thought it was a great piece to showcase a newer performer as well as my personality. I also wanted to be true to the characters in the movie and went with a super sparkly outfit with sequins complete with a tophat. I knew that I also wanted to have a piece of removable clothing to represent shedding a layer/personal growth as well so I found a jacket that completed the look.

As much as I wanted to have additional props, and I definitely toyed with the idea, I knew it would not be feasible because A. I was also going to be a vendor and had to bring two extra suitcases just for that purpose B. I didn’t want anything to get damaged and C. I wouldn’t have time to buy anything. If, however, something is important to you/the routine and you feel it would be crucial to have, find a way to make it work. Perhaps you know someone who lives in town who can help procure or make something for you. Just be sure you’ll have time to rehearse with it once you arrive.

Have a good mix of power moves and floorwork. The poles are standard x-poles but they’re not the ones you practice on everyday. They’re not attached to a ceiling, instead they’re held up by part of the stage that’s built for polecon. They can wobble a bit. They can get slippery even after the pole cleaners wipe them. I honestly felt like I was going to slip halfway through my performance (also my palms were sweaty because I was nervous). Make sure that your routine can handle have pauses in case you need to make a quick adjustment for something unexpected.

When choreographing your routine, put in moves that you can do in your sleep. Just because you nailed something the first time you tried it and then have forgotten about how to get into it means it’s probably not a keeper. Additionally, whatever moves you do opt for – make sure you’ll have ample time to practice them as well as the routine. Make sure to pack pole grip as well. It will be a lifesaver!

Lastly, expect the unexpected. When my music came on, it was so faint no one, including me, could hear it. And then when I started to get up the pole into my first move, I felt like I was going to fall. So I just nicely asked if we could start over. It was embarrassing for sure, but I wasn’t going to perform and not feel good about it either. I just simply started my routine over and it went almost flawlessly from there. But overall I was happy with my performance. I had visualized it from start to finish and was happy with the end result.

Lily T.

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