Miss Pole Dance Amateur and Semi Pro Competition Preview with Kay Penney

Posted: Jun 28 2013

Miss Pole Dance is back for 2013 and we're look forward to the Amateur and Semi Pro Competition this weekend at Taylors Retreat.  We talk to the lovely Kay Penney to fond out more....

1.The MPD Amateur / semi pro competition this weekend. How is the event shaping up? What can we expect?
Every years brings new challenges not only from the competitor point of view but from the operational point of view – as proud innovators for pole competitions since 2003 the main vision still exists and is very strong>

‘Promoting the ambitious and talented’ and ‘educating the public’ so every year we strive to keep new viewers educated and hardened polers motivated !
This year we have decided to bring a little sexy back to pole (not directly through Miss Pole Dance UK competition but as a light hearted fun POLE BEAT challenge) – this really is for viewers to see the creativity that polers can bring to pole with high and lively music free styling on and around the pole – this in itself is very much like the challenges of choreographed routines but harder infect – as they don’t know what the music is they are dancing to until that moment of dance

2.Tell us about the categories and competitors.
Four categories this year - with our amateur division we have tried to encourage all to enter with no discrimination to age size shape or talent (over 16’s) all that we say is no going upside down. The semi pro student category division for those new to competitions  and pole techniques but who love to express themselves through the art of pole and dance. The doubles  category – again combining new and different combinations with a partner bringing new challenges and fun to pole where synchronicity and creativity is key here.  And finally the semi pro instructor category – possibly the most challenging but also giving many instructors the opportunity to show case their art as a dance form that so many loose during class teachings and in all fairness as being an instructor for well over 10 years myself allowing time to train and perfect moves for flow and fluidity too which can so often be lost in weekly training classes

1,Emma Woods
2. Nikki Cooke
3.Charlotte Hornsby
4.Tamara Castle
5.Emma Timmis
6.Ioana Lock
7.Anna Newberry
8.Natalie Layton-Mcintosh
9.Peace  Oyibo
10.Harriet Finch
11.Claire Quinnell

1.Catherine Meadley
2.Caroline Rees (Wildey)
3.Danielle Haynes
4.Hayleigh Denyer
5.Danni Laverick
6.Sophie Geldeard
7.Rachel Brewer
8.Racheal Porteous

1.Emily Howard & Nicola Halam
2.Becky Hampson & Kelly Beven
3.Vania Vitillo & Helen Webber
4.Courtenay Pipkin & Beck Hylton
5.Timonie George & Melissa Sidki
6.Rachel Breheney and Leah Walters

1.Zara Berry
2.Louise Stillman
3.Rebekah Metcalfe
4.Jaime Rangeley
5.Leyen Luu
6. Nadine Blacow
7.Kassia Portas
8.Natalie Elkington
9.Edevania Noble
10.Hannah Kaynes
1.Karla Hardy

3.As well as all the amazing competitors you also have a panel judges. Tell us about your judges and how the competitors will be marked.
At first it was hard for me to let go the responsibilities of the head judges position -  However as the enquiries for judging have continued to be phenomenal this year and as owner and event organiser, I am always looking for a wide variety of exceptional skills  and talent in the judging panel and believe yet again I have managed to achieved this.

Over the months all candidates send in a detailed CV explaining why they think they will be great ambassadors for the Miss Pole Dance UK community – after all it is a huge responsibility!! We pride ourselves on professionalism as the competitors deserve the very best. Naturally we encourage all and love to continually train judges too. Their personalities and temperaments are taken into account. How they communicate to us is a huge reflection on how they may communicate in life and importantly to the pole community, their family and friends.  Many months of preparation and emails are exchanged. 
This year I am proud we have Andi Arisenau Director and founder of ActiveCherry aerial, gymnastics and fitness centre in Eastbourne. As the head judge through all categories (to create uniformity and consistency throughout the competitions this year) and she has sent in a fantastic overview of the Miss Pole Dance UK judging system which formed part of the pre judges chat and meeting on the day, as this will be the first time all the judges meet – Andi and I,  I remember first met me at the MPD UK amateur competition in 2009 when the competition was still small as we were just bringing the competition to a gym, she then stood out for me, maybe it was her red hair !! or was it her dedication and persistence to want to help and vision were like mine, she so wanted to be a part of what I had created and for someone to have stuck by for so long I believe is the right candidate for this position this year – I love the way Andi thinks and expresses her professionalism too.
Supported by Andi we  have both, experienced competitors and judges on the panel and new  judges to Miss Pole Dance UK too ; There are 5 judges in each competition with one trainee and shadow judge – this does however make the judging slightly longer.

First we have the assistance and first aider Michelle Bebbington who is an accomplished accountant and instructor for Pole Passion too!! She will be checking and double checking the scores. 

Next we have Julanne Barry who will  this year be our trainee judge who is an accomplished and experienced poler and who has visited many many competitions across the world including the world championships in Switzerland last year too – she has always been willing to share her knowledge and fun and donate her time too.
Annie Norris owner and founder of Pure Pole Studios in Herefordshire, a previous MPD UK professional champion finalist in 2008, and is certainly not new to the challenges the competitors will be feeling right now and during the competitions – she continues to instruct and inspire others with her passion for the pole
Donna Gant and Justine Mclucas both bringing different back grounds and specialism’s to the panel. Donna who has served in the British army is well known for her power and creativity on the static 52 mm pole; the bigger the better Donna boasts!! 101 spinning techniques on and around the pole amazed me and i wonder if anyone achieved without hand blisters, bumps and bruising ! – hardcore Donna. 
Justine McLucas an elegance to the pole  as a former ballet dancer who was  riddled with ballet injuries preventing her from following her ballet dreams has come back to achieve in the pole world and is now safe to say a bit of a celeb since reaching the finals of Davina Mccalls ‘Got to Dance’ last year
Emma Haslam OToole  is new to the Miss Pole Dance UK panel family but not new to pole – she has been poling since 2006 and also accomplished in aerial silks, hoops and trapeze since 2011.  She is a passionate instructor in pole fitness and aerial classes and also teaches strength and stretch classes too and is keen to support all the competitors too
Sarah Scott who we all know and love, our current Miss Pole Dance UK professional champion an amazing example of an amateur sharing her passion in a smaller competition in a doubles category many years ago,  who went on to massive things and is now sharing and travelling the world with her love of  all things fitness and pole
Emma Birch who i have known for many years who has also dedicated her love to the pole through her own school and competitions  - she continues to teach and encourage all ages on and around the pole
Natasha Sumner, also an articulate accountant  who was one of my first students in Pole Passion I noticed a sparkle in her eye from day one, she has also been an integral part of Pole Passion and the competition organisations for many years at a national and international worlds level too, supporting competitors on and  of line for many years now – she is also an accomplished and experienced advanced poler.

And finally Jennifer Barrell (formerly known as Gooch) who is one of the model faces of RPole, a previous MPD UK double competitor, advanced instructor and assessor for accredited pole instructor training – she is a fitness expert and loves to encourage students nationally and internationally
All judges are not only selected because of the poling and dance/fitness and gymnastic back grounds but that of their professional and supportive and importantly calm approach to competitors and the competitions themselves – Naturally like life ! not always things go according to plan so it is important to be flexible, adaptable, accurate and able to think quickly, act professionally and support all in the process along the way – not always an easy task in hand !!
We at Miss Pole Dance love to support the creativity of pole as an art and dance fitness form therefore we try not to discourage competitors with too many restrictive rules and do’s and don’ts. 

In each Miss Pole Dance UK category there are three sub judging categories:

1)The Presentation category is marked out of 5 per judge, marking their style and individual identy, this can be expressed via their personality body language costume and props they may choose to use.

2)Dance and fitness performance marked out of 10, is their presentation engaging the audience and judges paying particularly to their choreography their stage presence their music choice and interpretations, good use of both the poles – one static and one spinning requiring different and varying techniques.

3)And pole tricks marked out of 15, the originality of combinations and tricks the energy strength and power the grace the fluidity and flexibility
Therefore encompassing all elements of pole technique

A candidate maybe particularly strong at her tricks but then not so strong at linking them together in a elegant flow of seamless fluidity expressing herself to her chosen music and theme.  Deductions can also be made for obvious mistakes such as slipping tripping costume malfunctions and missing the pole!

Rarely head judge has to stop a performance but this may occur in the instance of health and safety of a candidate or a bystander!! Or an unfortunate costume malfunction. If the music fails then the candidate may have the option of going again once all the other competitors have performed. We have an complaints procedure as well, whereby any competitor or their chaperone can email in up to 48 hours after the competition if they have a question or would like to question an appeal to the judges.  We also like to receive open and professional communication to constantly improve and support each candidate
4.How is your event different and what do you hope to contribute to the pole dance community with the event?
Naturally we pride ourselves on our professional approach yet keeping the fun at the top of the list and most importantly on the fact we care – We care about the competitors, the judges and helpers who very often donate their time to the event for free – we care about what people think about our pole community, so every final detail is thought about – every year we like to improve and most importantly listen to what people have to say.

My main aim as mentioned is to promote to create a pole family and a stage that people are proud to be apart of, not forgetting the foundations of pole and that people can be as creative as they like with their pole expression -  this competition has always been about the community and this year Taylors is the ideal event place – we do however feel Ben will be building extensions for next years as its is definitely getting more and more popular.

Different? are we different? I will let you decide that  - I can say we are extremely passionate and whilst supporting other competitions over the years I have certainly heard time and time again – how do you do that job year after year lol – its easy – I love a challenge I love being creative I love to see people having fun and if i can help in that in one small way then we have achieved our special goal .

5.How did you first get interested in pole dancing, what made you try it?
Well this goes way back when pole dancing was still a taboo thing to do and only strippers and exotic dancers did it in the ‘underworld’!! My first pole experience was at a party  – yes they had a pole !! how naughty!– i had no clue what i was doing but he dance music enticed me to the unused pole and actually i loved the fact i actually had a dance partner that didn’t tread on my toes, was always standing strong and was always there when i put on my music (the pole) – i was told i was a natural by onlookers and with my back ground love of dancing acting and theatre i begun to feel important, significant, fulfilled and could move in a way to express myself like id never been able to do before.

I have experienced the power of the pole – Never wanting to judge others I had no challenges about wanting to learn – I did however have challenges about what people thought about me doing it – i trained hard for 2 years in the confines of my flat in the cosmopolitan city of Brighton – it’s Brighton, so therefore it must be ok, I kept telling myself !!  fearful of what my young children and parents would think no one knew for two years (apart from my supportive husband Steve who has since gone on to create the world’s first free standing portable pole without a ‘stripper’ stage the RPole  - constantly battling societies impressionable, stereotypical, preconceived ideas we soldiered through having some serious fun along the way
6.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most? 
 Self expression a sense of freedom, the creativity and story that a strong body can achieve
7. What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
Cross ankle release – i love it because not all advanced polers like it or can achieve it!!

Felix’s Spatchcock – seeing a body bend like this is pronominal and to see it live on a spinning pole still make me go wow every time – pure art and beauty of the body
And naturally the Special K - say no more
8.What are your favourite strength training moves on the pole and why?
My students laugh at me with this one I love pogo pole!!  great for cardio which I notice I lack since not performing so much these days. You can really challenge the arms biceps and triceps with this one legs thighs and calves and of course the core if you engage your torso – love it. You can bounce really high too when the energy levels are there. It always makes people laugh too we keep it in our instructor training too because of the fun element of it
9.What pole dancers do you admire or inspire you?
Every year i am inspired by the Miss Pole Dance UK competitors at the competitions and way too many to mention. I love dancers that are elegant, classical, expressionable feminine, talented, focused, strong mentally and physically – they continue to inspire me and many others in our community – can I list all our Miss Pole Dance winners here?

10. How do you think pole dancing has evolved over the past few years?
The past few years since 2008 has created a new breed for sure. The fitness gymnastic, poler has emerged and I’m in awe and I love the new challenges they bring to pole and to our classes. Our Pole Passion list of moves will never be completed !
11.Three words that mean pole dancing to you.
Can I have four please - EMPOWERMENT, CONFIDENCE, FITNESS & FUN! - Our company motto.

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