Monday, 1 November 2010
To Strip or Not to Strip? - The History - Miss Pole Dance UK
Picture of Elena Gibson the first Miss Pole Dance UK professional champion
Stripping or Costume Change??
The History - Miss Pole Dance UK 2010
To strip or not to strip this is the question?
In 2005 there was controversy in the newly acclaimed Pole Dance competition industry (now being introduced for fun and fitness!!) - This ruling, in the inaugural Miss Pole Dance UK Professional category and competition held in Brighton, a new competition created specifically not placed in the gentleman’s clubs to help educate and formulate a more professional and accepted art form and image, and was in fact designed primarily to be more for ladies eyes only!!
It was decided that the act of clothing removal could be deemed as ‘stripping’. Which is what the organisers of Miss Pole Dance Organisation, headed by Kay Penney, founder of Miss Pole Dance UK (2005) and subsequently Miss Pole Dance Amateur ( 2008), Semi Pro categories (2010) and Mr Pole Fitness (2009) , defiantly wanted to move away from, as to become more accepted and to divert the eyes more towards the technicalities of the art form as opposed to the nakedness of the female form which was definitely apparent in the early days of Pole technique and Pole Competitions pre 2005 –
In 2006, however, it was decided by the organisation there needed to be a distinct clarification between ‘stripping’ and ‘costume change and or removal’ during the pole presentations and competitions.
The organisation was mindful that the use of elaborate, flowing and decorative costumes definitely enhanced pole performances at competition level, creating more interest for the viewer and the use of costumes on and around a pole was definitely a technique that requires skill and exact precision. Not only adjusting moves carefully and calculating, where limbs are safely placed around the pole:- where the material does not inhibit the safe grip on the pole. Questions were also asked by judges during the costume change, as to whether the fluidity of the routine has been compromised.
Where a candidate may score more for creativity and presentation with a glamorous and eye catching costume, may in fact loose points for a poor and non fluid routine and techniques due to the costume change and removal!
Most importantly we also have to consider the health and safety factors of the competitor when using clothing and indeed props, within a routine, on and round the pole – Clothing could also be a main slipping and tripping hazard or may attach and trap limbs to the pole too!!
This was very evident by one contestant in the preliminaries at the World Championships, held in Zurich this year, 2010, where officials were at hand to step in a t a moments notice had her costume thread not snapped as it wound around her limbs as she was suspended high on the pole, apparently unaware and ablivious as to the seriousness this may have been.
Will the outer costume come loose during a performance and become tangled? Will it entangle around the person and or the pole during rotations, especially on fast spinning poles? Which could be extremely dangerous too? For example, this could cause strangulation or attachment of a limb that needs to be freed suddenly and quickly during a complicated move or combinations of moves and prohibit a proper and secure execution and grip.
The clarification was set that if outer clothing or over garments are to be removed during, before or after a routine this must be done in a NON sexual way –The definition and meaning of stripping –To allure your audience in a sexual manner, to entice and tease your audience!! (hence the word - strip tease) and at Miss Pole Dance we believe is definitely more suited in a more traditional burlesque routine!!
This non stripping ruling is still in effect today in many pole competitions across the world and of course only applies to outer garments There also is a very strict ruling of no exposure, either accidential or on purpose! of the bottom (g string underwear effect), groin or breasts (exposure of nipples), which very rarely happens luckily.
However, since Elena Gibson, the very first Miss Pole Dance UK 2005 professional champion was ‘stripped’ of her world championship title in 2005 in Amsterdam, for this same ruling after it was claimed, allegedly, she was found admitting to ‘stripping’ on video camera after her official crowing!! For removing her tutu in her transition from a ballerina to a rock pole chick. One of which was embarrassing for the organisation to retract her official title after being awarded in front of a very large crowd and devastating for her as a professional competitor too, who had obviously worked hard on her pioneering and award winning routine.
The ruling and word ‘prohibited’, is used within the Miss Pole Fitness UK Amateur category level, which we have been successfully running as an organisation since 2008where the competitor, who is new to competitions and indeed pole, who’s main focus is on her strength building, variety and uniqueness of tricks at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, developing her own individuality around the pole, all excluding inverts! – which we believe is actually quite difficult to do as (poling for under one year in a non teaching capacity) creativity is challenged and stretched , combinations, techincalities, lines flexibility and presentations of moves on the floor and pole as a performer in a choreographed set sequence of moves all set and interpreted to their own music choice all in less complicated costumes!! The focus therefore being mainly on technicalities of pole moves. The candidates’ extensions, lines, technique incorporating not only the height of the pole but the floor work and circumference of the pole too. Combinations are explored too – all the fundamentals of Semi Pro and the Professional categories – ones that are very much easily forgotten once the ability, challenge and fun is often found in the inverts!!
In the new category introduced this year, the Semi Pro, this particular ruling is a little more relaxed and a candidate is not disqualified for costume removal, as long as it is not done in an alluring and sexual manner, which runs through the whole 3 judging elements of their routine of course.
1) Presentation - 5 marks maximum
2) Performance of dance and or fitness – 10 marks maximum
3) Tricks – 15 marks maximum
The organisation reserves the right to change its rulings yearly as the industry continues to develop and evolve, as the main society accepts and acknowledges the true art form pole creates and as this being the first year of Semi Pro - we will be allowing costume change in the future at Semi Pro level.
At Miss Pole Dance UK Professional level, costume change is also permitted.
For more information regarding Miss Pole Dance Organisation and its competitions, the rulings and regulations and judging please email us on
www.misspoledance-uk.com – industry leaders and experienced event organisers in pole competitions since 2005
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