It is curious, but as travel a lot, I finally went to only one French competition (but twice!): the Pole Art France. So I said to myself: « I go to the next one! “And it turned out to be Pole Theatre Paris … But before getting back to the heart of the matter and discover the talents of this competition, let’s make a little reminder of what a Pole Theatre is. By the way, those who are here just to discover the selection of the performances that marked me, you can head directly to the section “The talents”, at the end of the article.
Pole Theatre: what is it?
The Pole Theater is a real trademark. It was invented in 2013 by two famous Australian pole dancers Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle with the aim of gathering all types of pole dance in one competition. The Pole Theater contains 4 categories: art, drama, comedy and classic and, depending on the country and editions, two or three levels: amateurs, semi-pro and pro. But that’s not all! In addition to mixing different styles, the competition accepts everyone: men, women, solos, duos or groups!
The Pole Theater strongly encourages artistic research and expression. Finally, a small feature of this competition: only one winner is nominated by category. However, an overall winner (kind of a winner of the winners) is nominated by level and is the one who wins the biggest prize of the competition.
The Pole Theater was so warmly welcomed in Australia that the format was taken over by other countries (Great Britain, France, Switzerland, US, Greece, Argentina, Japan, Italy and some others), always with supervision of the two creators who ensure that everything is well respected. With such a description we can already expect something different but it’s even better in the real life!
Pole Theater Paris / Organization
In Paris, Pole Theater is organized by Pole and Dance studio and welcomes you in the friendly atmosphere of Café de la Danse. This Parisian style place is beautiful, not very big but warm (in every sense of the term, this time the girls were finally able to take out their little lace tops in the very middle of winter).
The timing is respected, all those who came by public transport were able to return quietly without running to ruin calling the taxi. The only problem: no refreshment drinks during the show. And yes, the bar was occupied by us, the exhibitors (but obviously many people missed it). Speaking of the exhibitors, this year the girls really had a large choice between the brands like Alexandelf, Miss Spin, Point Out and us, Pole & Me. It’s a pity that the organizers are forced to choose between the bar and the exhibitors (still we’re very thankful that they prefer us to the thirst of the audience).
Pole Theater Paris / Competition
In the competition there are always two essential parts: the participants and the judges. This year both were exceptional. Things start to be serious when you’re judged but such a qualified panel of judges as Heidi Coker, Eva Bembo, Brandon Grimm, Manuela Carneiro, Marion Crampe (!!!!), Mariana Baum and Lolo Hilsum.
But the participants were good enough to the judges panel and we had the pleasure to discover some new talents (patience, it’s coming!). They came from all over the world: France, Greece, Russia, Argentina, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark … to show us their talents and their vision of pole dance. There were not two performances that looked the same or left the audience indifferent.
And to make the show even more exalting, we had the chance to have Apolline among us! Apolline, the best presenter of pole dance shows and competitions, makes this unique link between the stage and the audience. And here, France, you can be proud because you have the best presenter of the world! I think it’s worth going to the theater just to see the performance of Apolline (if you speak French)! Besides, she worked so well that the audience was happy and warm that night! Congratulations!
Here we are, we finally arrived to the most exciting section of this article, namely the talents! The Pole Theater Paris was full of talents but we will talk about the best (this is only my opinion, you can have a different one). There is no order of preference because all these performances are completely eclectic and different.
As in my list there are two men (and yes, the mens’ pole takes speed seriously!), I will open and close my list by their performances.
Nicolas is a surprising boy (in the good sense of the word), I always have the impression to know him and to discover him every time. He does not stop to develop himself as an artist and always brings something new in his performances. But probably this piece is my favorite of all his previous performances. Nicolas gives us his vision of separation, “a succession of emotions, feelings, opposites and uncontrollable that mix and disappear.” Despite the subject that might seem classical, in this performance, there is everything necessary to keep the audience in tension, from the beginning to the end: a continuous flow, unexpected moments, emotions, a punchline, originality. It is not a surprise that his performance that won the overall prize in the professional level.
Lauriane made us live a more than intense moment (I think especially for the girls) by offering us a choreography which “is there to denounce all the forced married women in the world who are victims of their husband’s sexual violence” . Her performance is strong, tragic and emotionally charged. It brings us, once again, to become aware of the fate of certain women. Those women who seem so distant but that we actually cross every day, without knowing it.
Céline’s passage on stage was simply delicious! The Comedy category is far from being obvious. Celine knew how to transport us in her world of Egyptian pyramids where “to awaken a mummy can have funny consequences”. It was a fascinating choreography: it was a subtle fresh, fine and funny mix and there was a real story (!) that the audience lived together with Céline and Pierre. You should absolutely see it, it is delicious!
Maria Julia Aguiar
Maria is a rising star. We had the opportunity to see her in several competitions. She always fascinates me by her creative capacities and her perfect lines. Maria chose to interpret the life of Argentinian artist Frida Khalo. I would like to quote the description of his story so that you can better understand the choreography. « Frida was focused on painting when she suddenly felt pain all over her body. She was diagnosed a disease when she was young that attacked her leg and later in her life, she got in an accident that left her with a very sore body. Despite a life full of obstacles, she was a strong woman who overcame everything. Frida kept on painting till her last breathe, her best medicine was death. I hope the end is joyful, and I hope I’ll never return ».
It was a real trip to Argentina. Personally, I was completely immersed in this creation, moved by the talent of Maria to relay the emotions through each movement and once again fascinated by her lines. It was one of my favorite pieces that gave me chills!
Dasha is a hell of a talent ! Sometimes talents appear suddenly, and you really wonder where they come from. That’s her case! Dasha’s choreography is “inspired by the history of the Indians of America, their mystical and somewhat wild culture.” That night, Dasha set the stage on fire. This is the kind of brilliant performances where you inspire at the beginning and forget to expire in the end. It was a second favorite performance for me and I think I am far from being alone!
Juan Francisco Rodriguez
And here we are, we already arrive to the second men’s performance and therefore at the end of my selection of talents.
Juan’s performance was particularly striking for me and, I think, remains my favorite moment of the evening (the most favorite of the favorites ^^). It does not need lines and lines of description, just his history and his video are enough.
“Juan ran away from home when he was 10 years old. His mother was an alcoholic and his step- father used to beat him up. He’s been living on the streets for a few years now, amongst pieces of cardboard and rubbish. During the daytime he dances for money, or simply sits still, shaking a tin in his hand saying «spare some change for food». To passers by, Juan seems like part of the furniture, but he could be your brother, your father or your son. This is a tribute to all the Juans who every day fight to survive on the street. ”
I hope you enjoyed this review. I will be happy to receive comments from those who were part of the event as well as those who were watching the live or who are discovering the competition through this article. What is your selection? What are your favorites?
In any case, we do agree that this competition is worth a trip either as a spectator or as a participant![:]