Pole Dance America Championship Creates “Pic Contest” To Boost Competitors’ Scores
There are an ever-increasing amount of pole dance competitions taking place around the world today. Event organizers have eagerly jumped on the opportunity to create competitions for a sport that is growing in popularity. Pole dancers can be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of competitions, lost in a sea of confusing options. Many organizations are proactively trying to set standards in a budding industry that does not formally have any. With so many choices, who should be the authoritative voice we all listen to?
Every competition has its own set of guidelines. KT Coates of the International Pole Sports Federation is aiming for pole dancing to become an Olympic event, creating a rulebook and standardized judging system for the World Pole Sports Championship. The US Pole Dance Federation had past competitors wear heels in its compulsory round. The Florida Pole Fitness Championship requests that competitors have no past adult entertainment experience. Pole Sports Organization mandates that all competitors cover their gluteal folds or risk points deduction. You would be hard-pressed to find a competition in existence that doesn’t have some specific requirement and in turn no controversy surrounding it.
|Screenshot taken from Pole Dance America’s Facebook Group Page|
It seems reasonable to state that if you enter in any of these competitions, you must play by the organizers’ rules or don’t play at all. Pole Dance America is holding a competition this March. Event organizers created what they call on their Facebook Page a “pic contest.” The rules are simple, competitors must ask family and friends to post pictures on the PDA page of them holding signs saying, “Go fill-in-the-blank-competitor @PDA!” The competitor with the most posts at the end will earn extra points towards his or her overall score. It is not required for competitors to participate. But few are turning down the chance to earn extra points. In addition, one of the competitors stated on her Facebook page that she was notified of this contest only after she had submitted and been accepted to compete. Requests for comment from Pole Dance America have not been answered.
I realize why this contest was formed. It’s obviously an effort to gain exposure for the competition and organization. You could say it is clever for their marketing team to promote this way. I have to ask the obvious question here though… What does one’s ability to promote themselves have to do with his or her ability to pole dance? How can you use this as a contribution to one’s score in a legitimate fitness competition?
Pole Dance America bills itself as “the first systematic pole dance competition in the world.” They continue, “…that allow competitors to demonstrate technical skills, individuality and creativity to compete within the parameters of the rules to gain maximum points with the unique scoring system.” They have indeed created unique parameters. Their Facebook page says the competition in March will air live on national television. This is not an organization trying to host an amateur competition. They are aiming for the big leagues. It is my opinion that competitions utilizing popular vote contests to contribute to official scores are not moving our sport in the right direction. This is regressing us back to the days where pole dance competitions took place in strip clubs and audience applause chose a winner.
|Photo from Pole Dance America’s Facebook Page|
I do understand what an undertaking it is to organize and run a competition. I appreciate anyone who wishes to bring exposure and opportunities to this activity I love so much. I also believe we all have the right to speak up and voice our opinions on the practices of any given organization. We should be informed of the facts at the very least.
What do you think of this? Do you believe an organization is justified in incorporating a popular vote contest into a professional fitness competition?
UPDATE: United Pole Artists has received the following comment on the issue from Moses Carroll of Pole Dance America:
*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, United Pole Artists.