At Body & Pole, many of our students are remarkable performers and competitors. This month we’re featuring one of our pole students, Sara Joel, who recently competed in the USPDF Amateur Competition here in New York City at Symphony Space (and won!)

B&P: Hi Sara, tell us a little bit about yourself, your career, your family, everything!

Sara: Prior to pole dancing I trained in ballet, modern dance and yoga. I was an original cast member of Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” where I performed a duet I co-choreographed with my dance partner for 3 years. Now I live on Long Island with my husband and 4 children ages 2, 5, 8 and 12.

B&P: How long have you been poling? What made you want to try pole dancing?

SJ: I took my first pole class in 2014. The directors of Zumanity were planning to bring in a celebrity to perform a pole dance to spice up the show. I was asked to be Rehearsal Director in NYC. I had never touched a pole before, so I went to a pole class and fell in love! Turned out the celebrity didn’t sign the contract, but I was grateful to have been led to my newfound passion.

B&P: You recently competed in USPDF’s Amateur event, and won! What made you interested in USPDF competition specifically? Have you competed in pole before this event?

SJ: This was my first dance competition ever. I performed an aerial solo at Symphony Space when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child who turned 12 last week. In 2016 I went to see my teacher Regina Armand perform in USPDF’s Amateur event. I remember being impressed by the dancers and the event, but I never imagined being back on that stage myself. However, I continued taking classes with Regina and began classes with Lara Michaels and just kept on going. I can’t thank them enough for their instruction and inspiration! In 2018 I submitted a video to USPDF on somewhat of a whim and was delighted to be selected to compete. I loved the idea of returning to Symphony Space to perform on a a pole. I’m still stunned that I won!

B&P: What was your preparation like for the competition like?

SJ: When I received the news that I was selected to perform at USPDF I had already agreed to perform in Schtick a Pole in it at DROM on April 26. I worked a couple compulsory moves into my choreography then directed all my energy towards USPDF once that show was over. I have a pole at home so I choreographed and rehearsed there for a couple months. Jazz musicians call it “shedding”… When you shut yourself up in a room and PRACTICE!!! I realized I’d never rehearsed the transition from static to spin pole, so 2 days before the competition I rented the basement studio at Body & Pole where I could run the dance from beginning to end.

B&P: How does it feel to be done with the competition?

SJ: I am energized and inspired! And I feel more confident about moving forward.

B&P: What’s next for you with pole?

SJ: I am happy to be getting back to class at Body & Pole and learning new moves and meeting more dancers. I love the pole dancing community and ironically really missed it while I was preparing for USPDF alone in my room at home! I am planning to perform at Schtick a Pole in it in September then preparing for the USPDF 2019 Pro Competition!

You can follow Sara’s pole journey on Instagram @nycsarajoel. Check out USPDF on Instagram @uspdf