Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Road to Chicago: I'm One Week Away

The Midwest Pole Dance Competition and Convention is one week away. My last blog entry was in May. Most of the minutes that I have spent since the day I took the stage in Longmont, Colorado have revolved around one piece of music, a lot of hard work, rejection, soul searching, and unparalleled joy.

I suffered a injury to my forearm in late February and was not able to grab a dance pole with my right hand until May. The stress was unbelievable. The deadline for the online entries for Midwest was looming in mid June and all I had was my music. There isn't much you can do in a situation like that. All you can do is sit tight and listen to your body. I had torn some tendons and muscle. If you can pick up a coffee cup and drink you might be out of the woods in a couple of months. I was told that if I kept on dancing I could end up being out until November.

The clock was running out by the time I started final choreography on my Midwest submission. As you know from my earlier blog post I was able to run the dance from beginning to end for the first time on the Dickens Opera House stage in May. I gave the video of that dance to two of my most trusted friends. Estee Zakar and Sarah Tallman.

All you pole dancers know Estee. Sarah is another one of Denver's dance treasures. Sarah is a professional dancer, and choreographer. She dances with the Wonderbound Dance Company (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado). She has also choreographed a number of ballets for the company. I met Sarah for the first time at my ballet school where the professional company used to rehearse. A lot of the floor work for my Midwest piece was based in classical ballet and if there was anyone in Denver that could help me with that it would be Sarah. Sarah graciously agreed to help me and we scheduled studio time on a warm June afternoon.

It was an amazing experience working with Sarah. She almost instantly memorized my music. I had been stumbling over the count for days. She looked into my musically challenged brain and just told me to count eights. And then she shared some of the secrets of her stage presence and what she thought about my Dickens dance. It was on the marley with Sarah that the arabesque's and pas de bourees took shape. In the pole studio with Estee we polished the final pole passes. The video submission rules for Midwest gave me three minutes to tell my story. I painfully cut my music and steps to fit the the time limit.

On the twenty-first of June I walked into Denver's Tease Pole Dance studio with Estee and we taped. I made a first pass and it was usable but I knew there was more. On the second attempt I was in the hardest pole move of my routine. The "Meathook" jade. Thirty seconds from home I had the first major fall of my pole dance career. On the way down I hit my ulnar nerve "funnybone" on the base of the pole. My arm went numb and I sat on the floor with one thought in mind, "Fuck." Estee was there with understanding and support. She said that a lot of her women were falling and that was just part of the competition. I missed pickup ice hockey later that night. I would be going back into the studio the next day and I doubt that I could have held a hockey stick in my right hand anyway. Estee and I taped Thursday night and I submitted my video a day before the deadline. My arm looked like it had been hit with a puck moving 90 mph.

I received an email from Mary Ellyn and Midwest Pole Dance July 2. "We are sorry to inform you that you did not qualify..." And so the soul searching began. Three days later in Estee's home studio I started picking up the pieces. I knew what I was up against going into the competition. I also faced another decision. Was I going to enter the Colorado Pole Championship? I did not have much time to think about it and that story will be another blog post. I danced and polished my routine. If I decided to enter Colorado I didn't have time to choreograph a new dance.

Lazy Saturday July 6. I blew off my morning ballet class and played on Facebook. While I was laughing outside and still stinging inside, I got a Facebook message. "Would I be interesting in dancing in one of the Midwest Showcases?" It is amazing how fast you can go from the depths of hell to the top of a mountain.

Yes! Hell Yes! Sunday afternoon August 25th. The road to Chicago ends.

P.S. I made the final round of the Colorado Pole Championship Masters (Over 40) Division.

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