Oh. My. God. Last night was beautiful, impossible, amazing, mind-blowing, emotional, and so, SO much fun! Nina’s First Annual Colorado Pole Championship at the Oriental Theater in Denver took me on a sensory journey that I’ve never experienced before. The talent was almost incomprehensible. I am a pole dancer, and I STILL couldn’t believe some of the things I was seeing.
There were two divisions: Masters and Champions. Melanie and Bob both competed in the Masters category, and Ariel and Waeli competed in the Champions. First off, everyone who competed was super talented, and clearly put in A LOT of work. On top of the competitors, there were guest performances by some major heroes in the Pole world (people I’ve been watching on YouTube since my own journey started.) Estee Zakar, Karol Helms, Leesi Ruskaup, David Owen, and Nadia Sharif. And, of course, our own Ken did an encore performance of his Pole Expo routine! We all knew he was going to jump in between the poles onstage, but the entire audience gasped with fear, joy, and surprise when he did it.
Bob did a remarkable job with his routine; he did this one at the VF Boulder opening, but I could see how much more work he’d put in for the competition. I love how he weaves his life in ballet and pole together into his routines. He is able to portray so much emotion with his dance, and is always a pleasure to watch.
Ariel killed it with her “Summertime Sadness” routine. That girl can move; I don’t even understand how she gets into some of her more complicated tricks. The technicality of her routine rivaled many of the women in her division. Lucy and I were sitting together, and we were holding hands in a superstitious fashion; as long as we held onto each other, Ariel would get through all of her tricks safely!
Waeli BLEW MY MIND. I know a lot of what she is capable of, because I’ve seen so many of her competition videos, but this was something different. I couldn’t pick out the tricks she was doing because she weaved her movements together so cleverly that it looked like everything she did was new. Her song choice was brilliant. I’ve never heard it before, but I’m pretty sure it’s called “I’m a Ninja”. It was a funny, silly song in a lot of ways, but her dance was not silly at all. It was beautiful and serious.
And Melanie. She performed to a cover of “House of the Rising Sun.” She achieved so many things in her piece: she showed tremendous emotion, told a story, had perfect costuming, showed amazing flow with the music, and performed awesome tricks. I told myself I wouldn’t cry, but that was a shallow promise. Luckily I knew I’d cry anyway earlier in the night when I used a little extra eyelash glue. No videos up yet, but you can be damn sure I’ll link them up once they’re available.
As if watching all these performances wasn’t enough, then came the announcement of the winners! I knew there was crazy stiff competition, and did not envy the judges in any way. That had to be a really difficult job. Categories were Most Artistic, Most Athletic, Masters Runner Up, Masters Winner, Champion Runner Up, and Champion Winner. First was most artistic. When the emcee called Waeli’s name, I was so excited, but deep down just a little sad because I’d wanted her or Ariel to win so badly! “Still,” I thought, “with all the amazing artistry tonight, this is a huge honor,” and I cheered as loud as I could.
A performer I’d never heard of before, Holly “Honey” Miely, who is self taught, and who owns a studio in Aspen won Most Athletic. I LOVED her piece; she used different fabrics as props during her piece (that started as her costume), and the effect was stunning. I’d definitely been rooting for her to win something.
Then came the Masters Division. I could hardly focus on who the runner up was because I was so busy hoping it wasn’t Mel (because I wanted her to win), and that it WAS Mel (because I wanted her to win something)! Lucy and I continued to break each others’ hands, and then MELANIE WAS ANNOUNCED AS THE WINNER!!!!!! I screamed so loud I saw stars! All of her hard work, all of her dedication, everything she’s put in and given to the rest of us swelled through that moment and spilled onto the stage and into the audience. I could see the the love flowing around and through her, and I thought I would die of joy. The moment seemed to speed by and slow down at the same time as I saw other audience members jump to their feet (I was already there), and I could spot the Vertical Fusion family all over the audience. We were all screaming for Melanie as she accepted her prizes and began to cry. Oh Mel, I am so proud of you.
Finally, the Champion Division was announced. I desperately wanted one of our Vertical Fusion ladies to take this one, but after Mel’s win, I had a feeling we just wouldn’t be that lucky. I was wrong. WAELI WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Once again, I screamed until I saw stars (I still have a sore throat today). The look on her face was absolutely wonderful; I think she was really surprised! That woman took most artistic and first place in the Champion Division, and she’s ONE OF MY INSTRUCTORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a night.