THIS IS ME - SHOWTIME Solo 2019
This is my 2019 SHOWTIME Solo. I do SHOWTIME every year and one of the best parts of the course is getting to create a solo and preform it to my classmates (and half the studio who come to watch) at the end of the course.
This year our theme was Musicals, so all our solos had to be to a song from a stage or screen musical. My favourite musical at the moment of THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (although the real P.T. Barnum was nothing like Hugh Jackman's more open-minded, benevolent portrayal, just FYI) and I love the song THIS IS ME, sung by the cast as they are shut out by someone they thought had accepted them, and decide that, instead of hiding away, they will stand tall and be themselves. It's a very powerful song and one that has always resonated with me.
So I went all out and did it for this year's SHOWTIME.
I'm planning to revamp it and get some professional input before running it again for Pole Addiction 2020, so I see the above as kind of like a first draft. I know I want to include my static combo and the position I call an 'Amazon Split' (see below), but everything else is open to both timing and input from an instructor. There is also a spin combo I meant to do but went totally blank on during the night, so I really want to add that into the Pole Addiction routine, but we'll see what 2020 brings.
Below at the professional photos from my show, taken by the fabulously talented Emily from EMC Photography.
I Make No Apologies, THIS IS ME!
Amazon Split; I am told this is actually a Pegasus variation, however when I learned it my instructor wasn't sure what it was called and, for some reason, this shapes make me think of the Amazon warriors from Ancient Greek mythology. This is another trick I only learned to do confidently about four weeks before SHOWTIME, and I'm so very proud of it. For some context, this trick is taught in Advanced 3 Spin at Pole Divas, and I am in Intermediate Static and (most likely when I go back) Beginner Spin.
I take you back to 2017, my very first year at Pole Divas. The final weeks of term 5, and I was looking at the timetable for Term 6, checking to see if my Saturday morning Beginner Static class was still running, when my eyes lighted on something at the bottom of the timetable.
"What's SHOWTIME?" I asked the receptionist.
"The best course ever," she said. "You learn a group performance for SHOWCASE and you'll each do a solo to be preformed to the class in the last week of term."
It sounded fun to me, but I was worried I might be good enough.
"Is it open to Beginners?" I asked, fully expecting a no.
"Yes," the receptionist told me, "open to all levels. Do you want me to put you down?"
And that is how I found myself doing, for the first time (and every term since) two courses for the term. It was also my very first SHOWTIME, and our theme was Nineties Hits. I can't remember what song our group performance was to, but I remember our costumes all had to have a 'nineties flare' and we all looked stunning and different, but it was so much fun: I went with mesh and denim (which I also wore for my Beginner Static dance, as our costume was white and denim).
Our solos that year also had to be to a nineties song, and my choice was CLOSER by NINE INCH NAILS. I'd only heard it a week or two before I started SHOWTIME, during a Pole Moves class and had liked the choreography. I stole most of it for my solo and only used one pole. However, SHOWTIME was the most fun and, by the time Term 6 rolled around in 2018, I already knew that I was putting my name down.
Diva and Back Straddle from my very first SHOWTIME Solo in 2017. Photos: EMC Photography.
In 2018 our theme was 'Collaborations' and we glammed ourselves up and rocked out to GLAMOROUS by FERGIE feat. LUDACRIS. My abiding memory of 2018 is how much fun we all had with our costumes, going all out to create the best, most glamorous pole wear we could imagine. Our costume rules last year were white, gold and silver, either one or a combination, but white was by far the most popular, although everyone managed to sparkle in some way.
The choices for solo songs that year were also broader, as our song just had to be a collaboration between two or more artists. At the time I had been working on a routine for Pole Addiction 2019 to THIS FEELING by THE CHAINSMOKERS feat. KELSEA BALLERINI, and was anxious to use SHOWTIME as my training ground, so was over the moon to discover that I could use it. You can watch the video of that routine here more about why that particular routine was so special to me (and I did end up doing it for Pole Addiction this year) be clicking here. Once again, it was the most fun I'd had all term (and Term 6 2018 was very stressful for me, because I over stretched myself), and I knew at that moment that SHOWTIME was going to be an annual event for me. So, when it rolled around again this year, my name was on that list.
Hooked back and front crucifixes from SHOWTIME 2018. Photos: EMC Photography.
The thing I love most about SHOWTIME is, every year, it gets better. This year our theme was Musicals and, much to my delight, our dance was to THE GREATEST SHOW from THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. I love this movie and the soundtrack is to die for (although I'm not sure P.T. Barnum actually deserved a highly romanticised musical about his life, but that's a post for another time). Costumes this year were a solid colour each with sparkles, and mine was pink.
I'd actually just been at the pole expo the weekend before and had brought a body suit that worked perfectly. The routine this year featured more tricks than I've done in previous routines (possibly because I'm at a higher level and can do more) and I loved all the short, sharp movements in the dance. I also got to do a small solo, which was great fun and I rememberd to smile the whole way through.
Usually, in pole performances, I am concentrating so hard on my movements and not stuffing the whole dance up that I forget to smile, and so all my photos are of my 'serious concentration face', so it was great to get some amazing pics showing off not just my tricks, but my smile as well.
My solo this year was also my favourite to date, featuring my favourite combo, a beautiful costume I brought with this dance specifically in mind and some of the most beautiful yet advanced tricks I have ever put in a routine yet. Usually, my SHOWTIME routines consist of lots of movement around the pole, and one or two tricks on the actual pole. But most of my routine this year was aerial, i.e. on the pole, and I did more tricks than I knew what to do with.
To me, this (more than anything) shows my growing confidence in pole, more than what level I happen to be in at Divas ever could. SHOWTIME is always my favourite end of year reflection moment, because I really get to see how far I have come. So here's to progress, not perfection; here's to slow and steady; here's to good form; and here's to another wonderful term of SHOWTIME. Let's see what magic we will create next year with SHOWTIME 2020.
The problem with SHOWCASE is that, in the lead-up, everything is RUSH RUSH RUSH and it always feels like you're never gong to be ready.
Then you wait... and wait... and wait to get up on stage, biting your nails and making last minute alternations to your costume and make-up...
And then, two and a half minutes later, it's over.
Sometimes it feels almost anti-climatic, to be honest.
I got smart this year and restricted myself to do dances. I did five in 2018 and it was just too much: I was stressed, sore, exhausted, and didn't enjoy any of them. Two was a good number, although I am thinking of doing three in 2020, but let's see how I go. Certainly, I will never, ever again do five dances (until the day I become an instructor and get to dance with my students #tenyeargoals) and it was nice this year being able to put my energies into just two dances, rather than spreading myself so thin.
However, SHOWCASE this year was not without it's bumps and I very nearly pulled out of my hoop dance just two days before the show. I had some issues with this dance and really, really, REALLY didn't like (and still don't like) the song, and the dance really did nothing for me either, it just wasn't my style of movement. I'd been looking forward to doing a bit of a sexier hoop number to Justin Timberlake's 'Sexy Back', but a change of classes in Week 3 due to a booking mix-up saw me having to learn the new dance. I've rehashed my feelings over this so many times, but I just did not want to do this dance and would probably have pulled out of it were it not for the support and encouragement of my friend, mentor, instructor and PADCS studio owner, who helped me get some perspective on my negativity towards this dance. It also helped that I'd already sorted out my costume (which I actually loved, it was my favourite costume of the night and of any Showcase to date) and I knew that Emily from EMC Photography would be there and I love seeing the images she captures during SHOWCASE. She has never taken a photo of me performing that I haven't loved, and I really wanted some shots of me, in the hoop, in my amazing costume.
And the photos I got were absolutely sensational!
Furthermore, to be surprise, I actually really enjoyed the dance when I was up on stage. I still hated the song (so pleased that I never, ever have to listen to that song again!) but I found I could move well and enjoyed the thrill of the performance enough to be able to dance to the counts and not listen to the music.
All above photos by EMC Photography.
I was also quite lucky with my hoop show, because my father was sitting right up the front and in the centre, so he got a great video for me, from which I was able to grab some fantastic screenshots.
All above images are my own.
After hoop I had an almost two hour break, before I had to come back for my pole performance: SHOWTIME. I have done SHOWTIME every year since I started dancing at PADCS (back when it was just PDCS), but this year was my favourite. SHOWTIME is the finale of the show, a group performance done to a theme, fully choreographed and learned over roughly six weeks. This year the theme was Musicals, and we did our dance (very aptly) to THE GREATEST SHOW my The Greatest Showman. My father took a video of this routine too, but he wasn't in as good-a-possy as he got last time, so I had to wait for professional photos to come out but, once again, Emily didn't disappoint and they look amazing.
All photos above taken by EMC Photography.
This year's SHOWCASE also come with a surprise for me: I won the Dedicated Diva award for 100% attendance, and there is a free pair of shoes coming my way in 2020.
So, another SHOWCASE has wrapped for the year and PADCS is currently closed for summer, with classes starting again in mid-Jan. Next year I will be continuing for Intermediate Lyra and returning to Intermediate Static Pole after a two-term break to deal with a training plateau. Hopefully next year I'll remember to blog here a little more than I have this year (opps) but remember you can always keep up with me on Facebook or Instagram. No matter how quiet I am out here, social media is always running.
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.