Spanish National Pole Dance Competition!

2a Copa Pole Style España 2015, Alicante

I guess I should start this blog with a few apologies.  Firstly, I’m sorry this has taken so long to write because I’ve had so many people asking me about it and secondly, I’m sorry but there is no video to go with it.  You’ll understand the reasons as you read.
I wanna do a flash back to November.  I was still pretty new around here, didn’t understand much Spanish and was a bit all over the place really, trying to settle in.  At this point I had been going to my pole classes here for a month (and pole dancing for about a year and a half beforehand) and Jenny, the owner of the club, asked me if I wanted to take part in a competition.  I LOVE shows and competitions so it didn’t take long for me to say sí! I cracked straight on and chose the song ‘recovery’ by James Arthur.  I stumbled upon this purely by chance as I thought I might like to dance to ‘Depth Over Distance’ by Ben Howard (you can guess why by the title).  I was watching a video of Lukas Mcfarlane dancing to it (beautifully, I must add!) and then got side-tracked watching his other routines when I found his dance to ‘Recovery’ based on his recovery from a serious knee injury.  I was instantly inspired to do a similar idea but about my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME (November 2011-July 2012).
By the time I left Alicante for Christmas, I had about a minute and a half of my routine and a brain full of ideas!  I had also moved myself from the amateur category to the professional category because there were about 8 moves that I either could do or was aiming to do by April.  I went to the gym a lot over Christmas, did whatever practice I could in my room and had two opportunities to pole dance when I was in Nottingham so when I went back to Alicante in January I was ready to work hard and do my best! 

Me and my ankle weights have become good
friends these past few months!

With a bit more help from Jenny and loads of help from Saúl (my coach), my routine was nearly finished by Easter.  In this term I progressed so much as a pole dancer by being able to do more strength moves, more moves on the spinning pole (which scares me) and improving my back and shoulder flexibility.  With all this progression I began to worry less about winning the competition and just felt proud of what I have achieved! Having the competition to push me (and Saúl too), I have improved so much faster than if I was just dancing for myself.

After Easter is was go time.  I had a few bits to even out in my routine and a really tricky combination at the end that I needed to master – and after 4 minutes of throwing my bodyweight around too!  Then the weekend came…
On the Saturday I watched all the other competitors all day including Raquel, Belen and Ana from my club in the amateur category and Olivia in the kid’s category.  Also there was the doubles category and master’s category but no one from my club entered.  Because I’ve always done pole dancing with girls around my age it was amazing to see what these kids could do with crazy strength and flexibility and I loved seeing the masters still be able to do insane things even though they’re at least twice my age!  Then the Sunday was my turn!
My leotard! Designed by yours truly!
I arrived early with all the other competitors so we could try out the poles.  The poles used were Lupit poles that were 42mm in diameter (I’ve always danced with 45mm!) and there was one static and one spinning.  The spinning pole was horrendous. It spins so fast that you only have to touch it for it to spin for a minute or so!  It made me pretty nervous about my combinations on it as the ones we have in the studio are pretty stiff so I’m used to throwing myself at it as hard as I can so that it doesn’t stop before my combination finishes (I’d lose points if it did).  I then watched the amateur final (which sadly didn’t include anyone from our club) and I started to stretch during the male category.  Luckily I still managed to see Saúl do AMAZINGLY in his dance and although he didn’t place, he did insanely well!
I kept everyone updated via snapchat all day
The moment came.  I waited backstage with Saúl and then we waited in the wings.  I applied chalk all over my body so that I would stick to the poles and Saúl patted down every muscle in my body to keep me warm. Then my name was announced and I danced!  I made a little error when I went on the bitch of a spinning pole and had to make a second attempt because I went too fast and I didn’t quite go as low as I wanted to in my Russian split but overall I am happy with how my performance went! It was the hardest routine I’ve ever done in 9 years of dancing so the fact that I made it to the end was an achievement in itself!!  I also held my iron X for a personal record of 3 long seconds (thank you adrenaline!) and I could hear Saúl screaming in the wings and all my friends in the audience as I did it! 
Here are some (not great) pictures from my routine:

Handspring to pencil
Allegra (extended)
Iron X

I’m not sure how I ended up next to short people… My category was
just a show of six packs!
Sadly, I didn’t rank as high as I wanted to and there was a bit of dodgy judging going on… That maybe makes me sound like a bad loser but when I’m marked 3/10 for flexibility by one judge there’s something not quite right!  As I said, I’ve progressed soooo much as a pole dancer and I LOVED the whole experience! It’s also brought our club closer together as a group of friends and we talk nearly every day on our massive whatsapp group! I’m also glad that I had my flatmates and a few friends come to see me dance which was nice!

Look at me in my new top, still with a smile
on my face! (taken day of comp)
Pole Dance Art Alicante, May 2015 <3
The reason I waited so long after the competition to write this blog is because this is the part where I wanted to put a youtube link to my routine.  The bad news is I still don’t have a video other than the one my friends took from really far away.  The good news is, I’m no allowed to share it on youtube or facebook because I’m entering another competition in September! This one is the Midlands Championships in Nottingham so I’ll send off a video entry by the end of this month and by the end of June I’ll know if I’m one of the 8 people to be selected to compete!
Fingers crossed for the future right?

Annalise x