It was a nostalgic evening for me through my years of pole dancing with the best pole dancing studio in Australia, Pole Divas. Tonight, we celebrated 10 years of Pole Divas at Unleashed 2014 in its inaugural amateur pole dancing competition and this year definitely saw the level being stepped up yet again!
This year’s competition wasn’t a live audition but via video submission. I have been involved in the last 5 years of Unleashed, three times competing and twice as audience. The one in 2012 where Jennyrose emerged as Elite winner was the year I watched the live auditions. This year I had no expectations at all from competitors (didn’t even see or hear about routines prior) so it was definitely a treat and I enjoyed the night.
Let’s have a short review of how the evening went. The show started on time at 7pm as guests were seated at Greyhound Hotel and the general admission tickets allowed for people to stand behind the seats and upstairs. The venue was huge enough to accommodate the lot and it was a very good view from everywhere especially at ground level, except for the occasional 6-footer dudes or girls with hair buns that would block the view onstage. Performances with floor work were not that visible for seated guests (see, this is why I enjoyed my night as a spectator instead of being onstage so I can improve my performance should I join next year).
As expected, the evening started with a fantastic performance from the pole dancing instructors, grouped according to their studios. As you know, the theme for the evening was “school-theme” for a 10-year reunion.
Congratulations to Pole Divas founder Kennetta Hutchens, great milestone, fearless leader!
THE LOVELY POLE DIVAS INSTRUCTORS
Richmond: Goths / Misfits
Moonee Ponds: Geeks
Mornington: Football League
All I can say about their performances is this: smoking hot!
After the instructors’ routine, host of the evening Davina Currie commenced the evening by introducing all the sponsors which included Aerial Divas, Pole Fitness World, Pole Physics, Trademark Therapy, Rarrr Designs, X-Pole Australia, Beauty Bee and Spice-Up Australia. Davina then introduced the competitors and had a few changes of outfits according to levels, from the conservative pole shorts to the ultimate pole wear.
Just a little bit about Davina – she had spent the last decade in the fitness industry as an aerobics instructor and was managing a gym. I’m sure as nostalgic as she would be too earlier this evening, she opened up the Mornington studio in June 2006 after graduating from Pole Divas Prahran.
The level rises quite significantly each year, it’s almost a plus point if you’re able to do more advanced tricks from the level you compete in. Andrijana Perovic won her level with a highly energetic performance to a burlesque theme.
Rachel Bryant took to the stage a great start until she started performing on spin mode and slipped off the pole in an upside down move and could not continue her performance. It was nerve-wrecking to watch, we cringed and could only try to imagine how painful it must have been to be in her position. She was okay and everyone cheered even louder for her. Hope she recovers soon and gets a proper checkup on her neck or back. Polies, like athletes recover fast from injuries! Last year, Rachel won the Beginner’s and Doubles category being the only one from last year to go home with two sashes. So, don’t worry about Rachel – she’s a fighter and she’ll be back again next year for sure. That’s the Pole Divas spirit and she’s a champ!
Natasha Kotova had a mesmerising performance, with such fluidity and great eye contact with the audience. Emma King had an impactful performance dancing to Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Jennifer Zimmermann took the sash home with a great performance with stunning pole tricks.
As the levels progressed throughout the night, I didn’t envy the judges as they would have had a hard time judging the competitors. This category saw eleven stunning competitors. Zoe Crawshaw had a booty-shaking performance to Beyonce. Sara Colquhoun had the best use for floor space, leaping gracefully across the stage, truly a dancer. Yuan Liu (Bubbles) in her signature lyrical style, displayed great emotions onstage, touching hearts. Nicola Baschuk had great lines. Yeasmin Veronica had very nice emotional Latino piece and a stunning classy glitter monokini.
Cruella De Vil was in the house too, with amazing change of coats in her routine like a musical pole performance without the singing by Barbara Henderson whom I thought would have stood a chance in winning Best Dressed too but the talented lady did make some other costumes for the other competitors. She won anyway because the Best Dressed winner went to Heidi Ha in her transformers outfit. Barbara also made costumes for doubles pair Nut and Noodles and Elite 2nd runner up Melinda Clark. What a talented lady!
Who else? There are more! Just a few to mention from memory.
Lauren Magner won this category dancing to Sia’s Chandelier. Lauren’s win reminded me of Simona Pop who won last year’s category in a similar manner and style; fantastic performance with extreme flexibility, lines and tricks that were pretty much Elite level. Oh, not forgetting her lovely Herve Leger grey pole outfit which I absolutely loved!
Nut (Hazel) and Noodles (“Mi” Goreng) had the best story and theme of the night, I reckon, totally unexpected with their white eyelashes and a mirror between two poles, it had a story of doubles seeing each other in the mirror and overpowering one another in a Black Swan theme with the white swan eventually killing the black swan. Loved it!
Rachel Bryant who slipped earlier in the Intermediate category had instructor Tania perform in her shoes; in a Ghostbuster-themed performance with her partner Sarah.
Doubles winners were Jacinta and Steph in their extremely synchronised cute burlesque performance.
Alison Wong appeared onstage first in a very strong performance as we continue to see her in the professional competitive space like Victorian Pole Championships and Miss Pole Australia.
Michelle Lee’s outfit was simply amazing, very pixie/fairy-like which matched her petite physique yet strong and great lines.
When Jacalyn Williams appeared onstage dancing to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck piece, I thought to myself, “This is very ‘Cleo the Hurricane’!” A few seconds later, I was left gaping with Jacalyn (Rockit)’s strong performance with her extreme kicks, leg extensions, head bangs, head rolls, crazy tricks, highly energetic and powerful right through to the end without looking like she was gasping for breath. Simply amazing! Well done!
Laura Lockhart took to stage too with a lovely performance in a theme where she was shot in the forehead and had blood oozing out of her.
Heidi Ha appeared onstage in a full mask in a robotic Transformer theme. Her theme was all about strength, power and intense look throughout. And for the very first time, I saw Heidi without her spectacles on. This theme suited Heidi very well. I’ve seen how Heidi come a long way and like other ladies, had worked very hard and she’s constantly inspired us. She thought she lacked dance moves, flexibility and tonight she proved herself wrong. The cute pocket rocket is also known my Kung Fu sister – because we always bow to each other before attempting a Kung Fu flag pole trick to motivate each other to enter into the brass monkey move). Heidi clinched two titles; Best Dressed and Elite 1st Runner Up and was the only competitor to obtain double sashes this year!
Kelly B took to stage in a red cape, in a red riding hood theme. The music started, and it was the wrong song. That didn’t dampen her spirits to restart her routine and ending it perfectly. It’s so lovely to see Kelly competing for the very first time seeing how she’s progressed so well over the years. A great dancer, she is!
Katie Lou has been a serial Unleashed competitor, we’ve joined the same categories over the years. Stunning lines, great strength and this year’s performance was really entertaining and fun as she danced to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. The song’s stuck in my head now at the time of writing this!
Melinda Clark who won the Beginner level of Aerial Unleashed a few years back had joined a few pole dancing competitions and did not get through some and with sheer dedication and perseverance. Tonight, she wowed the audience and judges taking home 2nd runner up as she danced to Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black. You see, pole dancing journey is about the experience to strive for perfection and having known all these amazing ladies is just simply spectacular.
Nostalgic competition for me because I first joined Pole Divas in 2010 I joined my first pole dancing competition in Intermediate level when it was held at Room 680 on Glenferie Road. I didn’t win, but the following year I won it together with Jennyrose in a doubles performance to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Just growing up with the studio and with the instructors, making new friends who share the same passion for pole dancing together throughout the years. Last year, I won Best Dressed and participated in the Elite category. Will I join next year? Maybe! Why? Because I can then have a goal to work towards to and can have fun along the way.
The ladies tonight were simply inspiring!
Congratulations to the organisers, participants and winners of #Unleashed2014. Now you’ll have to wait for the professionally-taken photos and official DVD coming out very soon!
Log on to www.facebook.com/PoleDivasAU for more news, information and pole inspiration!
Winner: Jacalyn Williams
1st Runner Up: Heidi Ha
2nd Runner Up: Melinda Clark
Winners: Jacinta & Steph
Winner: Lauren Magner
Winner: Jennifer Zimmermann
Winner: Andrijana Perovic
Winner: Heidi Ha
BEST Andrijana Perovic