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Justine McLucas talks about judging at the UKPPC

Posted: Nov 30 2012

With the UKPPC coming up this weekend, we talk to one of the judges Justine McLucas to find out what she'll be looking for from this years finalists...

1.You are normally the other side of the judges table competing in pole dancing competitions.  How does it feel to be a judge at the UKPPC?
Actually I haven’t competed in a live on stage comp since Oct 2011 – I decided to stop competing and focus on my role as studio owner of Ecole de Pole, as a performer, touring globally to teach workshops and run my Performance Company La Plume Noire, in order to focus on the show side and “people’s” version of pole as opposed to its competitive aspect.

2. What do you think makes a good judge?
Someone that has experience in competing themselves – and at a high standard – I don’t think people that have never competed can really judge others. Having extensive ability and qualifications in the field you are judging is also important so you know what you’re looking for as well!

3. What will you be looking for in the performances of the finalists at this years event?
 I want to see people that make pole into a show – that means covering all aspects of the art of pole not just being able to do a big trick or only strength tricks – or only use your hands – or forgetting to dance and link things – I want to see a variety of tricks, a show, emotion, choreo, strength and flexibility – all of it (I’m a greedy audience member I want to see it all!!)– not just one side… fluidity and making it look like a professional performance not a demonstration of fitness. It needs to have finesse and quality! Something special to keep us hooked on your performance.

4. What tips would you give the finalists in preparing for the event and putting together their routines?   
Make sure you have the stamina – try running your routines at least twice or three times in a row the whole way through each rehearsal to build it up so on the night getting to the end you won’t lose your energy!  Eat well and rest the day before.

5. How have pole dancing competitions changed since you first competed? 
Well the first two I took part in I wore heels.. then I wore heels for half the routine, now I always have bare feet.. so the style has changed a lot! Gymnastic and Contemporary Dance has really become the centre styles for Competitions.  I love this though as ballet and contemporary dance are my backgrounds and I think it takes a lot of skill to be able to perform a pole routine competently in these styles. I do hope that the show side doesn’t get lost however!

6. What has been the most enjoyable competition you took part in during your career so far and why?
Definitely Miss Pole Dance UK 2011 – it was organised well, we were looked after, loads of info to help us prepare. The girls backstage were all really friendly and we all helped each other all day – there was a real performer vibe – no bitchiness or evil eyes, it didn’t even feel like we were competing it was more of a showcase feel, which I think helped me to perform and win Best Entertainer that day! It was also a dream come true to place 2nd that night after such an amazing day in Brighton!

7. Will you be competing or judging any competitions in the future?
I judge a lot of comps these days, having judged the Spanish National Comp, Russian Miss Pole Dance and Battle of The Pole in Sweden as well this year, so I will continue to judge other International comps as much as I can to bring my side of pole art and dance to the judging criteria. I really do think I have retired from comps – but you never know what will happen

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