United Kingdom Professional Pole Championships - What a day!!!
Article written by PDC Features writer Sophie Eminson.
When Annalisa Muresu got through to UKPPC, she didn't hesitate for a second before inviting me and her pole dancing Facebook friends all for a wonderful road trip to the show! We booked the tickets together, planned our journey and got very excited when they announced the guest performers!
UKPPC Elite Winner Charlotte Robertson pictured below.
Guest performers: Mimi, Vane Lunatica and Bendy Kate
Jess Leanne Norris
With my journey underway, listening to some sexy, sassy pole tunes in the car, the day was looking to be incredible! The competitors all had to arrive at 11am to prepare for their moment on stage, while I was helping with the X-Pole Aerial Playground, so needed to arrive for 12pm. The show itself began at 3pm. When I arrived, I got my wrist band and went to help set up the aerial playground which was a massive success. Everybody absolutely loved playing on all the poles, particularly the bright pink silicone pole! I had a go and still much prefer the chrome or powder coated, but the silicone was definitely the crowd favourite. I did manage to get the chance to go around some of the stalls, where they were all selling some absolutely lush pole wear and accessories! I sadly lacked the money to spend, but managed to come home with a gorgeous pole phone case from Sarah Scott's stall. I am still dying for Pole Amor's move tops however, and did come up with an extensive pole clothing Christmas list for 2015! All of the stalls seemed to be a success and my friends certainly managed to spend a lot of money on pole gear - but who can blame them?!
Kassia Portas pictured below.
Once 3pm arrived, everybody found their tables and we were all extremely excited to see the start of the performance. As this was the first competition I have ever attended and not competed at, I allowed myself to properly appreciate the set up of the hall, and how the stage was placed strategically in the middle of the room so everybody could see the performers very well from wherever they were sat around the room. I was happily sat on one of the tables on the judges' side, and could take pictures and videos from this angle excellently! As in true pole competition form, proceedings ran slightly late, but the competition did manage to get started only twenty minutes late with Mimi performing first to 'Masterpiece' by Jessie J, the same song I competed to in my last competition. Her performance was mind-blowing, especially for somebody that young, and she had a fabulous attitude and sass which couldn't be competed with even by the likes of Dan Rosen! I did manage to meet her later on in the aerial playground and she is very sweet and quiet in person, so was rather contrasting to her performance. Mimi pulled out some amazing tricks on the pole, demonstrating incredible strength and flexibility, as well as an energy to be reckoned with. The whole crowd loved her performance and she definitely got us all hyped up and ready for the competitors.
Now, I have to pause before moving on to a play-by-play of the competition to say that I was VERY impressed with the hostess for the event! Glory Pearl was the hostess with the mostest for sure, and she blew me away with her professionalism and humour, even when faced with having to improvise when the judges needed extra time to write out their feedback. The experience was made all the more interesting and fun to watch by having her hosting the event!
Quote from hostess Miss Glory Pearl "I walked 5.04 miles. That is all."
Jess Leanne Norris pictured below.
Now, onto the competitors! The instructor category was up first and their level of pole dance was absolutely insane! Alana White grasped the crowd's attention with some beautiful lines and flexibility, while Anna Louise really showed off her musicality and drama with some gorgeous facial expressions; she really connected with the music. Ayesha Agogo showed her beautiful lyrical side with some extremely creative transitions and lovely gold stage makeup. Chelsy Vaney stunned everybody with her strength as she began her routine with a jaw dropping extended dangerous bridge and showed off some raw gymnastic skill in her floorwork while looking effortless throughout. Cheryl Teagan also displayed some awesome strength to a haunting tune as she began her routine dead-lifting a handstand while holding onto her sheer cape with just her toes before demonstrating 3 perfect dead-lifts into a floating tulip. It was an incredibly strong, athletic performance. Claire Cotterill, 2015 Midlands Pole Championships Professional Champion turned it out in a gorgeous sparkly costume performing a routine based around mental illnesses. Beautifully choreographed, the routine displayed this with extremely strong moves such as a twisted grip phoenix and a death-defying death lay right at the top of the poles! Laura Boyden was another brilliant performer who gained the crowd's applause with her excellent feats of core strength, her Iron X truly displaying her to-die-for abs! Vania Noble had beautiful dance elements to her routine which reflected her adorable costume, and her technique was near-perfect. She had clean, lovely lines throughout as well as beautiful feet which we all strive for in pole. All in all, there could only be 3 places: Sponsors choice which went to Vania Noble, Runner Up which went to Anna Louise, and the Winner who was Claire Cotterill. Claire winning this kept up the tradition of the MPC professional winner winning UKPPC Instructor for the fourth year in a row. Way to go, Claire!
Annalisa Muresu kicked off the Professional category with an absolutely stunning performance, which was one of my favourites of the entire day. She performed beautifully, throwing in some lovely floor work and poses, as well as showing off her incredible strength with multiple dead-lifts and elbow holds. She showed her unique style and looked amazing doing so! Catherine Meadley represented in the professional category, dancing to the very popular Ed Sheeran classic, 'Thinking Out Loud' in an absolutely stunning white sparkly costume. Her dance base was very lyrical with her pole moves being surprising and perfectly executed, particularly her flip into handspring ayesha. Chloe Anderson's routine had a much more contemporary feel to it, with much more hard-hitting music than her previous competitor and she took a more serious approach to the choreography, hitting each beat on time. She impressed the crowd with her Gemini to Batwing combination, which really was brilliantly executed.
Kassia Portas displayed her beautiful flow in her routine as she danced in a pretty pink and purple costume with her hair flowing out. She impressed everyone with her controlled Fonji and strong grip changes in her handspring. Then, Katherine White danced to a slow, chilling version of 'One Way Or Another' where she was very creative and her flow was magnificent. The way she rolled effortlessly into her Titanic, a move most pole dancers struggle with regardless of their level, set her apart from the rest. She also showed her flexibility and dynamic side with a split handstand, half cartwheel to floor split which was amazing.
Instructor category winner Claire Cotteril pictured below.
Marcin Miller, the first male performer of the day really showed that men can pole too as he showed some incredible strength with his opening move, the Shark, as well as displaying amazing flexibility and dance ability in his floor work. The crowd adored Marcin particularly when he revealed the rainbow under his costume slowly throughout the routine, showing his support for gay rights. Rebecca Plume lightened up the place with her '20's inspired routine to 'Fat Sam's Grand Slam' from Bugsy Malone. She really showed her knowledge of the music with her leg changes in time to the song in her handspring near the beginning of the routine. The second half of her routine went into 'My Name is Tallulah' from the same musical, where she showed her flexibility high up on the spinning pole. Finally, Rosa Lisa showed her adeptness with spins and creative flow in the final routine from the Professional category, as well as her ability to wow the audience with her drops and handspring combinations. Once again, there were only 3 places available in this category: Sponsors Choice was Kassia Portas, the Runner Up was Marcin Miller, and the Winner was Catherine Meadley!
Finally, the Elite category was here. This is the one that everybody comes to UKPPC to watch, as our favourite pole stars compete for the ultimate UKPPC title. First up was Amy Williams, who had some effortless and flexible floor work in her routine, as well as some excellent musicality, flexibility and clean lines. Charlotte Robertson came next with a gorgeous orange costume which included material down the sides of her legs which looked amazing on stage. Her routine was very much in her signature style, and she amazed everybody with her range of flips and tricks as usual. Her gymnastic and dance ability, as well as impressive flexibility really was awe inspiring and she did an amazing job. There are no words that can really describe her performance this year.
Quote from judge Robyn Rooke "I'd like to say that I loved the performance aspect this year. It was definitely obvious that a good stage presence trumped tricks alone."
Elite runner-up Daniel Rosen pictured receiving his award from judge Robyn Rooke.
Dan Rosen really amped up the crowd with his sexy, floor grinding routine to popular track 'Often'. All of the girls in the audience went wild for his performance as he really went for it with his amazing floor work. He also wowed everybody on the pole as well, never faltering once, it was a flawless performance where my eyes were concerned. Hannah Rose then was absolutely awesome with her insane amount of strength and control in every move. She was a real competitor there and proved herself in that routine in her lacy turquoise costume. She held every move beautifully and she was one hundred percent on point with the music and her choreography. Heather Walker then gave an interesting, dynamic performance starting out as a pretty doll in a box with very controlled, pretty movements, into a rocking beat stripping off into a purple two piece with some pretty outrageous dancing. Her routine was very centred around dance and she pulled it off very well. Jakub Kolasa then came out with a very different, serious routine which he managed to pull off extremely effortlessly. He displayed a lot of strength, fluidity and flexibility. His stage makeup was flawless and he shocked the audience with his dynamic flips and tricks.
Jess Leanne Norris came on to begin her routine in an absolutely breath taking costume. The costume was a white two piece covered in the most sparkling diamantes I had ever seen in my life and an attached floaty skirt. In contrast with her bright red hair, she looked absolutely beautiful. The beginning of her routine really showed Jess in her best light, with the most incredible range of flexibility, as well as holding a perfect human flag. However, upon transitioning out of her stunning Eagle, Jess slipped from the top of the pole, which obviously shook her confidence. She then stood up, blew kisses to the audience and walked off stage. It was a sad and shocking experience for all.
Elite runner-up Daniel Rosen pictured below.
Lorna Walker then came on and managed to rally the crowd once more as she took to the stage in a beautiful costume complete with flowing skirt and her long flowing hair. She performed a gorgeous flowing routine to 'Fix You', managing to terrify everybody with her drop out of Iguana which was completely intentional, although we all feared for her life! Finally cam Sam King, dancing to a Latin inspired number where he really enticed the audience and got them fired up as he performed some amazing strength based tricks, such as his aerial dead-lift to Iron X and some even more incredible flexibility based tricks like his Spatchcock! Overall, the elite category turned out and I was super impressed! The Sponsors Choice was Hannah Rose, who also won Best Tricks, the Runner Up Dan Rosen, who also won Best Entertainer and the overall winner was Charlotte Robertson. Best Choreography went to Lorna Walker, and Best Flexibility to Jess Leanne Norris who truly did deserve it.
The other two guest performers, Vane Lunatica and Bendy Kate absolutely killed it with their routines! Vane had beautiful choreography and really wowed everyone in the audience with her connection to the music, not to mention her fluidity of motion and understanding of lyricism. Bendy naturally was the crowd favourite, performing her winning routine from the International Pole Championships just days earlier. Her beautiful flexibility and dance ability really shone in this performance and the entire room could see exactly why she deserved to win the IPC. Bendy's routine played to her natural strengths, showing off a few of the latest tricks and poses she has been working on. The absolute awe of the crowd didn't even comprehend the majesty with which she took to the stage, and she showed everyone how much she enjoyed herself!
Photography and images courtesy of Macey J Photography and UKPPC.