I competed in Pole Sport Organization’s Northeast Aerial Art Championships in early November of 2014 and placed 1st in the Pro Division. This advanced me on to Nationals which would be held in August of the following year.

I have never considered myself an athlete and I find the process of competing to be taxing. In the world of pole dancing specifically it is a very isolating experience. In most cases you perform alone, you pick the song, the moves most suited for your body, the theme, the costume and an array of other elements. This level of creative control is satisfying, but it also adds a lot of pressure to making all the hard work worth the effort. If your piece is not well-received it’s hard to not feel a personal sense of rejection. It’s an odd combination of narcissism and self-doubt.

I have always found the process of creating and performing a pole performance to be fascinating, as it is a mental, physical and emotional struggle. I wanted to capture every step I could along the way. So I decided to film all my training sessions and couple them with candid confessionals about how I was feeling on any given day. I was not completely certain what I would do with all the footage once it was gathered though.

I began filming in February 2014, when I chose my song and rough concept for the piece. I trained every aspect of the routine for 6 months, all for one 4-minute space in time.

My piece was about embracing present circumstances, whether good or bad. It was also about having the courage to step forward into the future uncertain realm. I find these to be realities in every day life as well as in the context of a pole dancing routine.

I ended up placing 1st in my division. And while I am very happy with the result I am even more pleased I was able to overcome so many hurdles along the way. I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this experience.

I hope this short documentation will resonate with fellow pole dancers who have been in my position as well as people outside our community who do not quite understand why we do what we do.

– Irmingard