Recap of the USPDF Pro QualifierNovember 6, 2016 9:35 pm Leave your thoughts
USPDF Event Coverage
By: Colleen Jolly
The United States Pole Dance Federation (USPDF), founded in 2008, was the very first organization in the States to host professional pole dance competitions. USPDF laid the groundwork for every modern competition that came after it and launched the careers of such notables as Michelle Stanek, Alethea Austin, Karol Helms, Sergia Louise Anderson, Natasha Wang, and Jenyne Butterfly. USPDF was inactive for a few years and roared back to life the first weekend in October in New York City’s Symphony Space on the Upper West Side. Wendy Traskos founded USPDF and serves on the USPDF board with her sister Tracy and Brynlyn Loomis. Catalina “Pole Cat” is Wendy’s right hand person, adroitly assisted by a gaggle (or is it a glitter?) of polers from Wendy’s home studio, New York Pole Dancing.
The all-female competitors applied first via video submissions in two separate competitions – Novice or Amateur-Pro Qualifier and ranged in ages. Novice was additionally broken into two categories – Sexy and Artistic with one top winner while the Amateurs at the live event vied not just for first, second and third place but for a chance to claim their “USPDF Pro Card” and the right to compete at the official Professional level event next spring.
Unlikely many current competitions, USPDF requires compulsory moves for their Amateur and Professional levels including mandatory times on spinning pole and breaks points down to the quarter scale judging on elements such as “flexibility and extension” as well as “smooth and unique transitions.”
USPDF’s motto is the “the sleek, the strong, the sexy” and boy do they mean it! You won’t find gluteal fold coverage rules here! While next year’s Professional competition and this year’s Novice Sexy both required heels, the amateur competition did not, although it was strongly encouraged. There were no fonjis but there were a plethora of spreadies and heel clacks bringing some O-G spirit back to the competitive pole world.
The Novice competitors kicked off the day at noon with special guest performance by judge Natasha Wang. Lezah Victoria took Novice Sexy while Shay Williamson took Novice Artistic top places winning a host of prizes and the most epic gift bag brimming with gifts from a laundry list of sponsors and gift bag contributors.
The Amateur-Qualifier kicked off at 7pm with an opening performance by current reigning 2012 USPDF Champion Michelle Stanek and saw 18 extraordinarily different competitors from all over the country, including yours truly, take the stage. There was classic rock, hard rock, hip hop and even a Celine Dion routine proving that sexy is all in how you interpret it. Competitors were decked out in rhinestones and glitter, some high-heeled and others bare foot, rocking through their compulsory moves the no-hands jade, outside leg hang cocoon and body spiral while a packed crowd cheered them on. The Pulse Project closed out the night with an amazing blend of contemporary and pole art.
All the competitors I spoke with reminisced about being a “baby poler” and watching their heroes compete at previous USPDF events. As soon as this event was announced and it was clear that USPDF had returned, they jumped at the chance to be part of something special again – maybe they too would be the next pole star and have all that sexy-flexy amazingness rub off from sharing the same stage as their idols. Seeing the level of competition at Novice and Amateur, I have no doubt these are the names that you’ll be hearing for years to come.
Want to be part of all the action? Novice and Amateur-Pro Qualifier is back next spring and they are taking video submissions now (https://uspoledance.com/competitors)! You can only compete in the Professional Division if you won pro status at this event or a previous USPDF sanctioned event. Anyone can watch the amazing show though – you won’t want to miss it!
Video submission Dates:
Novice Division – October 2-December 16, 2016
Amateur Division – October 2-December 9, 2016
Pro Division – October 2-December 2, 2016
Amateur: March 31, 2017
Novice and Pro: April 1, 2017
Amateur 1st- Svetlana Semenishcheva
Amateur 2nd- Jennifer Schofer
Amateur 3rd- Gemma Lux
Novice Sexy- Lezah Victoria
Novice Artistic- Shay Williamson
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