Last week, a group from Polecats Manila went to Kuala Lumpur to compete at the PoleStars Championships 2014. Company members Miguel Ignacio, Kayleen Ortiz, and Duds Ignacio were going to compete in the pro divisions; our students Georgina Rovira and Ronald Singun in the amateur divisions. I was invited to judge. Hannah Villasis was in KL for work and decided to join us for the fun.
We arrived late Friday night, was driven to the hotel by Shiva who I met the last time I was in KL (that trip I stayed for only 12hours! I crossed from SG just to watch the pole championships).
Checked in Ibis Styles Fraser Business Park– such a nice hotel with very friendly staff. We booked through Agoda.com — I really love booking my accommodations through them. They’re very accommodating and will make sure your booking is hassle-free.
checking in with kayleen, miggy, hannah, duds
See! Our rooms were fun. And with complete amenities. And a breakfast buffet! And best of all, it’s in the same building as the competition.
The next day was all about the competition. Rehearsals for them, judges’ briefing for me, Hannah helping source hair and makeup supplies. We also had cocktails where we were treated to a circus show.
Then Sunday morning– we woke up early to prepare. Hannah and I drew on Duds with a permanent marker– he was playing a tribal Prince and would need tribal tattoos to complement his costume. Hannah worked on Kayleen’s hair to make her look like Ibong Adarna.
Off to rehearsals they went, and I had a judges’ meeting. Vee Lea, of IPDFA and organizer of the competition, briefed us on the judging criteria: Deductions, Core, Technical and Artistic.
Group A judges (amateur and semi-pro) were: Renee of Groove — Deductions, Reiko — Core, Ming of Acropolates –Technical, and me for Artistic. Vee would take over someone’s place whenever there would be conflict of interest (in my case, for George and Ronnie).
Group B judges (pro): Hyun Joo of JKAERIAL– Core, Masayo of Sweeti Pi– Deductions, Marlo Fisken — Technical, and Marion Crampe– Artistic.
with the other judges and the wonderful people of x-pole
The Pole Fit award was for the highest score of Core+Technical; Pole Art for Core+Art; Ultimate Champion highest for all combined scores.
I like the judging system here. Judges have been chosen based on their expertise. And since we were only judging one category, we can really focus on those criteria instead of being overwhelmed by judging the whole performance.
And so the competition began. There were a lot of really strong performances! I learned new tricks and combinations. I was so inspired watching all the competitors. Pole dancing really has infinite possibilities!
I was quite proud though that after each polecat performance, my seatmate Ming would say how good the performances from our studio were.
Then, awarding time. I was quite nervous. Maybe this is how a mother feels when her children are competing?
I gave out the awards for Women’s Amateur — and when the host showed me the name of the champion — Georgina Rovira, wow I was so happy! I gave George her medal and prizes and she cried. So cute.
And it went on. Ronnie won Champion for Men’s Amateur. Kayleen and Duds were runners up for Pro Doubles. And Miggy won Pole Art and Ultimate Champion for Pro Men’s. Wowwww. I was so happy and so proud!
I’ve seen everything that our competitors have gone through to make it to this competition. Conceptualization, choreography, costume design, hours and hours of rehearsals. With other students and company members pitching in to help.
At the end of the night, Ming says to me-“Your studio produces the best people. Amazing.” And I say, “It’s not my school, but ours. Thank you! ”
And I guess that sums it up: It starts with one, but grows with many. Teamwork always wins.