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.
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.