Thursday, May 31, 2012

Facebook for Pole Dancers

So, of course with almost a BILLION users worldwide, Facebook has helped connect a lot of people.  I know in my own little Facebook world, I have over 2,000 "friends," most of which are pole dancers from around the world.  It is so nice to have one place to talk to people and keep track of events.  There are a few other social websites that connect only pole dancers (perhaps to shield us from some of the creepers that try to friend us on Facebook).  I thought I would list some of those websites here.

Pole Dance Network

Tagline: The Official Social / Business Network Website For The Pole Dancing Community Worldwide

Pole Dance Network is the official website for social and business networking for Pole Dancers, Pole Dancing Clubs, Pole Dancing Schools and other individuals and organisations in this global community.
This site offers the ideal forum for the members of this community to share ideas, information and network in many ways. You can also promote your upcoming pole dancing competitions, expos and other activities in our events calendar.

Over the years, Pole Dancing has evolved to become a mainstream activity. What was once a taboo, adult industry activity has now become a household buz word and fitness craze for millions of men and women  worldwide.

MY PROFILE PAGE.

PoleRanking

The Facebook description is: "Worldwide pole ranking list which distributes the latest scores from pole dance competitions around the world."  However, it is a little harder to find a description or "about us" on the website.  They do have a forum for discussions, allow blog postings and the sharing of videos. 

MY PROFILE PAGE.

Rhiannan Nichole's Premier Pole Online

Their Facebook description lists the website as "...the social media hub for pole dancers as well as the most comprehensive online studio available."  The focus is on offering online classes, although they also have a forum and chat room.

MY PROFILE PAGE.

Polexia

Billed as the Poleapalooza Chat Club, their welcome line is: "Welcome to Polexia.net, a friendly online discussion board where you can join fellow pole dancers in discussing all things related to pole dance!"  Like many of the others, they offer a forum for pole dancers to discuss what they love doing most. 

MY PROFILE PAGE.

ePole Symposium

This is another forum that appears to promote anonymity: "No need to provide your full identity, but in general introduce self and tell about how long you have been pole dancing. What is your favorite and least favorite move? Are you interested in performing, competing, or just exercising? What does pole dancing give you?"  I haven't spent enough time here to see if it's a problem but the issue with many of these sites is that anonymity seems to give a lot of people room to be mean.  And I don't like that.  


My user name is lolorashel.  They don't seem to have a set profile page that I can share easily.  


International Pole Fitness Federation


As pole fitness gains momentum in the international community, it is necessary for advocates and practitioners of this sport worldwide to unify so that we may more effectively nurture pole fitness into maturation on an ongoing basis. The primary function of the International Pole Fitness Federation (IPFF) is to encourage pole fitness to continue expanding into mainstream athletics and to cooperate with other collective pole fitness bodies to help set agreeable standards and goals for pole fitness to reach toward.

IPFF seeks to use competition, showcase, and other pole fitness events only as a means of amplifying and supplementing the sport, rather than seeing these events as an end in themselves. Our logo is merely a symbolic indication of solidarity between persons, studios, associations and federations who share a common goal of helping evolve pole fitness and integrate it into the arena of mainstream sports, arts, and culture. Our logo is not for sale, as membership for private individuals to IPFF is free.

The intention of the IPFF is to collaborate with worldwide pole fitness entities to provide promotion, assistance with networking, inspiration, and structure to all pole fitness athletes, instructors, businesses, associations, federations, event coordinators, and other pole fitness professionals and collectives who would find such services desirable or useful. We believe that to host competitive events, dictate new names for traditional pole maneuvers and poses, and act as salespersons of our own logo is, by itself, inadequate. The IPFF does not wish to usurp any authority over pole fitness and parties concerning themselves with it. On the contrary, this federation was built to become a servant to the global pole community. Please accept the gift of our service for free, or better yet, join us in our service to the strong and ever-growing pole fitness community worldwide.

MY PROFILE PAGE.

PoleandAerial.com

This website will officially launch in the Summer of 2012.  Valentina of Pole Dance Italy suggested it to me.  Their mission statement: PoleandAerial.com provides the very best instruction from the world’s most elite pole and aerial artists. We are committed to motivating, inspiring and elevating our members around the world to meet their dance and fitness goals, building the largest global online community within our craft, and providing the very best in innovative products and equipment. Welcome to pole and aerial bliss!

Pole Junkies

Their mission statement: Offering local and online pole dancers the opportunity to access professional, certified instruction and information on today's fastest growing fitness trend.

PoleJunkies.com now offers class information, descriptions, introductions to our instructors and you are also able to register Online for Pole Dancing Classes, Aerial Yoga Fitness Classes, Men's Vertical Fitness, Aerial Hoop Classes. You can also register to book Pole Parties in one of our facilities or just about anywhere in Alberta!


Join our Online Community to meet new Pole dancers, Add friends, Share photos & videos, Join groups, Create events and Discuss pole dancing in forums.  


MY PROFILE PAGE.

StudioVeena

StudioVeena.Com:

StudioVeena.Com promotes the art, sport and fun of Pole Dancing through a supportive online community and streaming video lessons for everyone from the beginner on up. Founded in 2008 as a small community of online friends who shared a love of pole, StudioVeena.Com has grown to become the largest pole dance website in the world, boasting thousands of members who log on daily to share their passion with others in the community.

As a StudioVeena.Com member you will find that you are part of a positive affirming community. We strive to insure that your time and experience here builds you up as a person and benefits the community as a whole.

Veena:

As an ACE certified personal trainer Veena is uniquely positioned to teach and share her love of pole dance. Veena's method includes a unique teaching style developed through her years of teaching experience. She communicates proper body positioning and pace in an easy to understand and approachable way that you don't find anywhere else. Her unique progression through tricks and exercise options prepare you for each successive lesson, and when properly executed, improve your pole repertoire much easier than other options.

As a business owner and mother of four Veena understands your busy lifestyle. She has worked hard to create an experience that can be enjoyed at your leisure, whenever you want. With a world-wide audience she knows that her supportive community will be there at any time.

My user name is lolorashel.

So do you belong to any of these websites?  Did I miss any?  Which are your favorite and why?

Pole Fitness and the Olympics

There has been a push lately to separate "pole dancing" and "pole fitness" so that pole can be included in the Olympics (and I have been working on a post about the difference between different types of pole dance).  That separation would also somewhat relate back to my post about children and pole dancing. 

The lovely Valentina from Pole Dance Italy has written an article about pole in the Olympics and has translated it to English for us.  Thank you, Valentina!!!


This is the original post in Italian: http://www.poledanceitaly.com/2012/05/pole-dance-olimpiadi/

Do we really want pole dancing at the Olympics games?

Forget high heels, sparkling costumes and crazy choreography ! We go to the Olympics.

Reading newspapers or press releases of associations in favor of pole dancing to the Olympics, sometimes it occurs to me that this race at the Olympics has done more to elevate the value of the pole dance and make a clean break with the environment of strip club instead of being   recognized for its educational value and the high level reached by sports athletes.

Just watch this video to understand what we mean when we say that pole dancing is a sport.



To bring pole dancing at the Olympics, maybe it's time to stop for a moment and start from the bottom. The national and international organizations should be united for once to find common standards, which would structure the discipline from the basics. This does not mean that the organizers of the many championship around the world are not working good, instead, that means we have to have a common goal and to lay the groundwork for achieving it.

To better understand what is missing to pole dance to make the leap, we looked at the regulations of one of the sports that we think comes closest: gymnastics. Visiting the site of the International Gymnastics Federation FIG is in fact possible to download the technical regulations, found HERE, which we consulted.

Reading the FIG Technical Regulations, 2012, we focus on six aspects that we believe are the most important bases from which to start. The list that follows, is not the absolute truth, but we believe might be the beginning.

Athletes Level
As a very young sport, there aren’t still some specific levels to divide the athlete. In other sports, the levels are often assigned by the age of athletes. If we think of the soccer chicks, newcomers, young, students, juniors and the spring. A regulatory system that regulates and organizes levels, would be useful to unify the championship as well as address training courses in the pole dancing school. In the future it could also mean that the championships will no longer be accessible to everyone as it is now, but limited to age groups. Anyway to overcome this shortcoming, we must find common rules for the certification of the level of athlete.

Elements and Combinations
About this we all know that in any city you go you find a different name for the trick and elements and combos on the pole. Every school, every nation, every region and city uses different names to call the trick, take for instance the Scorpio (reverse and engage with the outside leg) and Gemini (reverse and engage with the inside leg). We all agree? Of course not. It is therefore necessary a common standard for the names of elements and combinations.

Qualifying
In gymnastics championships qualifiers are different according to the discipline. Often, however, are composed of different competitions, held over several days, with the elements and combinations established, or selectable by the candidates on the basis of codes drawn up by organizations. At present the majority of the qualifiers for the national and international championships, is done by sending a filmed choreography that is evaluated by a jury other than that it will judge during the competition. Without going into details of the working of qualifications in gymnastics, we understand that we need common rules for the selection to the championships. Although participation in the future will be bound to send a video, we might think of having two choreographies one with a combination of fixed elements or combo and the other one with elements selectable by the participants from a list of possible combinations. In this way the judges can be impartial and evaluate the technical and executive ability of the athlete.

Evaluation of competing
In some pole dance championships there are two categories under which athletes can participate: Pole Art where is judged the more artistic side of the performance, and the Pole Fit in which it is judge the side more gymnastics. We have to forget it and switch to an evaluation method based on common and precise standards, among which:

    ~ Codes of scores;

    ~ the definition of the value of each element, or combination of elements in an exercise;

    ~ the classification of penalties for performance and execution errors;

    ~ the requirements relating to the composition of the routines, whether compulsory or optional;

    ~ the classification of errors of composition and the penalties applicable;

    ~ the deductions for misconduct, errors, contraventions of the Technical Regulations or any other provisions

This list is not exhaustive, refers to some of the markings on the FIG Technical Regulations 2012, but represents a minimum codification  required in the evaluation methods of participants in competitions of pole dance.


Judges
Who are the judges and what skills they have to judge the athletes, we read in the FIG Technical Regulations 2012: “In order to act in any of the judging capacities, it is necessary – except in the case of members of the Executive Committee acting on the Jury of Appeal – to possess the judges' brevet of the FIG currently in force and, where so required, the classification appropriate to the judging function in question.”

It should be noted that in many disciplines to get the judge brevet, you must have practiced the discipline in question and sometimes to have gained a national or international competition. At the time the judges in pole dance are pole dancers  (international or national champions), the representatives of the federations or celebrities in dance or in the show industry. If we stick to FIG regulations, it must be created an institute for the issuance of pole dance competition judge brevet and define minimum standards of access.

Poles
In the majority of the pole dance competitions are usually used two poles, one in static and one in spinning mode, positioned at a distance between the one and the other of 2 or 3 meters, with a size ranging from 38 mm (Australia) to 50 mm (United States), chromed steel as the X-Pole, and with a height ranging from 3 meters to 4 meters. The type of pole used is critical, athletes have to train on the pole that will be used in the race and know exactly the location and height of them.

We are of course leaving out many other fundamental aspects, but we believe that those presented in the article are sufficient to open a constructive debate on the subject. We would also like to see the international organizations to sit down together and develop common standards valid worldwide. In Italy we are ready and willing this to happen, and take part in the change.

So, what about you guys?  Are you ready for pole in the Olympics??

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Ugliness In The Pole Community...

Hot on the heels of the Pole2Pole controversy, another pole competition is creating a stir in the pole community. 

I have been excitedly watching Facebook for the announcements from USPDF regarding their pro and amateur competitors for 2012 (their competition is in New York this September).  I have eagerly watched a bunch of the videos (and am excited that our very own Shelly Lamb is one of the pros competing this year).  Then I suddenly saw some negative postings.  Some accusations were vague but there was clearly some drama surrounding the competition.  Apparently there are some questions about some of the competitors submitting late videos, which were still accepted by USPDF. 

Then I saw this thread on Studio Veena:

http://www.studioveena.com/forums/view/Unethical_competitions_20120528125649

amy - People give blood, sweat and tears to submitting and competing. However, some of those competitions out there today, even the most popular, are run by unscrupulous organizations that show blatant favoritism and inconsistent applications of rules and regulations, creating an unfair and non-level competing playing field. Some issues are lack of transparency in submission criteria, accepting some submissions after the deadline has passed, a lack of transparency about how judging is scored, a lack of transparency on posted scores, and math errors in competitors scorecards.

Do we continue to support those organizations? This is a conversation that needs to move from the shadows into public forums if we can hope to encourage change. Organizations need to be accountable for their actions to the members that they serve.

I've started a conversation on Facebook here (add me as a friend if you haven't already): http://www.facebook.com/Aerialamyy/...

...but I think it's important to involve as many polers as possible in this discussion. What do you Svers think?
Click the link above to read more on Studio Veena.
Read below for the posts on Aerial Amy's FB page:
If a competition does not have integrity, do you support it? The competitors work their asses off to submit, to come up with a routine, to perform. People put enormous effort and emotional investment into entering at all. Is it fair to the participants who are involved, OR to the ones that are passed over, that the competition does not have transparency or fair rules in the selection or awards process? How do we avoid this continually happening?
    • Andria Rose its a good point amy. dancers could stop registering unless they have criteria maybe... as an idea. the thing is, we all want to dance hey! so we try. and there are so many comps. i wonder if some kind of world wide group could be a spot for voices to be heard about this. it would be so good if all studios and comps were IPDF approved - or that there were enough approved that we could have the power to pick the good ones! (i hope i got the acronym right!)

    • Luki Martino You just never know what the judges are looking for. Each judge has a particular style that they are drawn to... It's human nature. With pole dancing there is such a diverse pool of talent to pick making it more unique than any other sport. Ballroom, gymnastics, cheerleading.... each sport has a pretty uniform style making it easier to compare one athlete to another. We got tricksters, rockers , and ballerinas... Much harder to judge

    • Aerial Amy Luki Martino, I'm talking about something different. Not whether or not your "favorites" get picked... I mean if rules are obviously not consistently applied to entrants/competitors, or if selection criteria ( or even numbers of competitors picked) are never announced, or if judging scores are not published despite repeated requests.

    • Luki Martino It would be really nice if scores were released along with judges notes. That way you know where you fell short and need to improve on. I have only been in 1 comp and the scores were never released, I just assumed that was standard. You bring very good points. there should be more transparency and rules that have been outlined need to be strictly followed in order to maintain a level playing field.

    • KT Coates This is what the IPSF world pole sports championships will do in July. Judges will be trained. The criteria is clear and given to all athletes and all scoring will be computerised and results posted. It's not about the judges taste it's about the athletes meeting the judging criteria. Every thing should be clear and fair.

    • Irmingard Mayer I think being transparent about who is judging and the criteria they are looking for should be absolutely mandatory. If those necessary standards don't align with reality, there should be some type of repercussion. What or how to determine this I don't know. Maybe a boycott of the competition as Andria suggested.

    • Caprice Burrell I'm a strong believer in doing your own thing. I see a lot of favoritism in not only pole competitions but also within the pole community itself. I guess as pole becomes more and more popular even more competitions will be formed which is a good thing because there will be more options. There should be something for everybody to participate in as it was mentioned earlier "we all want a platform to dance". That is the only solution as I see it.

    • Sheila Frank I agree and couldn't thak you enough for shedding light on this. For any prospective new or seasoned competitor, having a clear understanding of what is required as far as material goes in even an entry would benefit everyone. It would definitely save people from beating themselves up for their creative input and personal style and/or feeling like it was never good enough...

    • Destiny Alton-Sample has this Competition stepped forward to explain their decision to accept only certain applications after the deadline?? R they offering any sort of logical reasoning at all?? have they even acknowledged what is going on???

    • Aerial Amy Caprice Burrell I hear you and I do feel in my own life like "live and let live" but these issues affect you as a studio owner, mentor and role model for those women whose lives you touch. What do you tell someone who is pinning hopes on being accepted to such a competition? If you see fuckery (because there is no more appropriate word!) happening, and it directly influences people you respect or care about, what then?

    • Irmingard Mayer Amy, I understand that frustration and I think something should be done to monitor that. Until then.. I think that the truth does reveal itself eventually. If something smells fishy... people will take notice and that competition will lose respect across the community.

    • Caprice Burrell Amy I guess the pole competitions needs more time to mature to that transparency level of professionalism. In the meantime all I can do is create is a supportive, nurturing environment for my students so that they will not be too affected.

    • Lindsay Green Amy. Thank you so much for writing this! I am so glad I am not the only one who feels this way...I thought I was taking crazy pills!

    • Rena DeGennaro Amy, after last year i decided to no longer support (or respect) a certain organization. I still support the competitors and cheer them on, but the organization wont get a dime from me. I still believe judges should not be able to judge people from their studio! Major conflict of interest!

    • Star Smith So far, I have heard that most competitions strive for fair rules in the selection and the awards process...lost as to which one you mean?

    • Destiny Alton-Sample i feel at this point EVERYONE deserves an explanation. Competitors, Applicants, Fans, EVERYONE. SOMEONE from this organization needs to step up and issue a statement explaining exactly wth is going on. this situation is only going to get worse the more they leave everyone to speculate. A truthful explanation and acknowledgement is what the entire industry deserves from them at this point....

    • Aerial Amy Lindsay Green I think people are keeping silent publicly but there is a LOT of murmuring. Im not planning to submit for a comp so I don't mind sticking my own neck out... As a community, we deserve better and we need to start demanding it.

    • Lindsay Green I just posted something on Veena as well. People need to know that some comps are more legit than others and we can't grow as a community or be taken seriously by other countries if this is our standard and we are ok with it.

    • Rena DeGennaro I would even go out on a limb and say a few of last years competitors may even be willing to speak up, but then again that could potentially hurt them entering into other comps. I know a lot of people were angry last year, and honestly, this isnt the first time theyve allowed someone to submit past the deadline. If u bend the rules for one, u have to bend the rules for them all! Or at least that is how it should be done! Im not ok w the favoritism at all.

    • Jenny Bramble While I think it sucks not to get clear notes afterwards or a clear criteria...there might be other, non-sinister motives behind accepting people after a deadline. If the organizers look at the list of applicants they have and realize that there's a certian style they feel they are missing or if the applicants all have very similar styles, I could see them reaching out to or accepting someone else after the deadline.

      In the end, they are not just competitions for the women and men involved, but they are also a show for the audience. To draw the biggest audience, you need a wide range of styles that appeal to different people. Get someone who learns towards the sexy, someone with amazing strength moves, someone who is fluid, someone who can string together combos, someone with amazing flexy, someone with stage presence who makes you laugh...

      Just a thought. A few thoughts, haha.


    • Rena DeGennaro ‎(When i say other comps im meaning w/ other organizations, i could be wrong but im pretty sure they r done w this 1)

    • Jill Brink Olig I think as pole dancing continues to mature as a sport, we really need to take a hard look at how competitions are run. Judging anything artistic is very difficult to do objectively, but it can be done. I would strongly encourage the major pole organizations to reach out to the gymnastics and figure skating communities. They've already been down this road and have figured a few things out. For instance, judges come from their own separate organization and NEVER interact with competitors. I understand that this can be difficult in a community as small as ours, but as we grow it will be essential in maintaining impartiality. The other thing is judging criteria. Everything from the simplest half pirouette to the most advanced trick ever performed is assigned a specific point value. Everyone knows what each trick is worth and when creating a routine you know exactly what it's being judged on. Obviously, people create new moves all the time and if you do something no one's ever seen before, bonus points for you!

    • Aerial Amy Jenny Bramble if diverse styles is what a comp is looking for, they should say so because it's huge stress on potential competitors to create a video with NO guidelines. If the style matters so much then that should be outlined... A lot of dancers have a few styles they can work with and they could easily switch from one to the other, it's not fair to them to be pigeonholed either.

    • Aerial Amy Jill Brink Olig even simpler: when a judging body is asked to release scores and they refuse, then what? When they violate terms of ethics and impartiality then what?

    • Rena DeGennaro They arent released bc they obviously have shown favoritism in the past. I dont think someone should get extra points for "attempting" a harder move and fall out of it or its not executed correctly. I like the idea of points for each move, but i still feel this organization would still manipulate it to get the results they want...

    • Jill Brink Olig At this point I am merely guessing as to what's going on. (I have a pretty good idea based on timing.) Would someone mind inboxing me the facts so I'm not speculating incorrectly? I understand people are trying to be discreet.

    • Rena DeGennaro If they are not somehow forced to be held accountable for their actions then they have no reason to change. At the same time they have A LOT of big names as supporters who help them keep supporters. New polers are not aware of the issues weve seen the past few years, and im sure im not fully aware of them all either. So what is our next step to making the situation better? :)

    • Rena DeGennaro Some of the issues r mentioned throughout this post :)

    • Gina Tann I'm so confused. That said, I agree that competitions *must* be willing to exhibit complete transparency when it comes to their rules and the application of such. Otherwise, what's the point in applying for a competition? Masochist much?

    • S.T. Shimi PM me Amy...I'm thinking about entering a couple of comps so this conversation is sort of freaking me out....

    • S.T. Shimi But to offer the "benefit of the doubt" perspective from someone who has no idea what y'all are talking about: maybe the entries that were accepted after the deadline were from competitors that were legimately confused about the deadline? So they kept the accepting of those of videos on the down-low? I def. think that judges need to be selected as much as possible w/o a conflict of interest ( and it can be done with enough notice)...and you step out if it still comes up ( common practice on granting panels). Release of scores and notes: I do feel that these would be useful to a competitor after the fact and they can make them so that no names are attached to the specific note...but the tricky part of that is how those scores & notes can be used against the judges rather than as a learning moment for the competitor...so I can see why many take teh easy way out and simply refuse to give those notes out.

    • Irmingard Mayer I don't think deadlines should be negotiable. Rules should be rules in a professional competition. Bent for one then bent for all. I didn't realize this happened.

    • Hailey Robbins You just said everything that has been on my mind the past few days, and a discussion I had with several other pole ladies this morning. Well said!!!!

    • S.T. Shimi Lindsay, will you post a link to your SV thread?? I can't find it.

    • Tia Sosa I think it needs to be judged in a similar way to gymnastics. It's so close in the routine aspect that it would be simple to do. Routines would be worth a certain number of points based on tricks and each error would deduct a certain number of points. Judges wouldn't be able to judge their own students or friends or the scores would be averaged from a panel of judges

    • Rena DeGennaro S.t it was deleted

    • Irmingard Mayer Studio Veena and web master said it was because the post was unrelated to the main thread. Lindsay, were you "Ember?" Please start a new thread and repost as they suggested and hold them to that promise!

    • Aerial Amy

      For those who are interested, you can see the time and date a video was uploaded to YouTube. The url of a video is typically yoitube.com/watch?v=(identification number) . For example, a video of mine is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETL...See More
    • Aerial Amy ‎.... You might be surprised at your findings (plural).

    • Lara Michaels

      I'm guessing this about the USPDF competition? good discussion. I'm glad that these topics are brought up, and I think they are important elements of a competition. If you intend to submit for a competition, and are late with a deadline, you shouldnt be accepted. it's the responsibility of the competitor to prepare adequately, and submit far enough in advance to ensure receipt of submission. how will they prepare for the competition, if they cant even prepare a video appropriately? I think for judging though, even with trained judges and criteria, decisions will still be subject to judges taste. it's unavoidable- you can have three people doing the same trick exactly the same way and judges may still have a personal preference based on dancer's body type and lines, and other things that make each dancer unique. I think maybe, a lot of pole dancers are not accustomed to the constant rejection of the arts- you can do everything right, and still not make it. over and over again. and there's always the option not to participate if you dont like the competition. every competition is different- some like to focus just on tricks, others reward other elements more heavily. pick one that focuses on what you excel at. it is extremely difficult to judge anything artistic. while it's admirable to pour your heart and soul into a video, it's delusional to assume that you should get selected as a result. it's also amazing to me that people might take one competition and one set of judge's opinions so seriously. it doesn't mean you're a bad dancer, they just didnt like the 3 minutes you happened to present on the one day you recorded. pole has a reputation for being an accepting community. this is great, but competitions arent about accepting everybody. you should pole for yourself, not for judging approval. I know the USPDF does encourage applicants to send a request for feedback, so that if you werent selected, you can use commentary to improve. I agree it would be nice to have an outline of the judging panel, not names, but perhaps their background, number of judges, examples of how things are weighted when they are scored, etc. maybe publicly releasing scores of all applicants, or at least those selected, would be helpful as well. it might potentially bruise some egos, but would help rest some of these concerns. and maybe restructuring the selection process at this point would be wise. the community has grown so there are many qualified applicants. many people excel at stage performance and suck at recordings. others, can lay it out on tape, but are a disaster on stage. offering a wider, longer selection process could help accomodate more qualified applicants that were potentially looked over in one short round.

    • Lara Michaels also, i certainly hope there wasnt any favoritism in the selection process. it would be surprising, and disappointing for many reasons.

    • Yvette Roulette-Bogus I went to a competition like that (not as a competitor) and was extremely disappointed. I know exactly what you mean :(

    • Aerial Amy

      Lara Michaels you bring up great points about how a submission process could be longer to allow for a true sense of a competitors traits in the context of submission requirements. I dont think we are talking here about sour apples or people upset at not being chosen--we all have a responsibility to understand that competitions do not say anything about our own worth as a dancer or individual. Yes, late submissions being selected aren't fair to everyone else who worked hard to get in on time. But on the flip side, if late submissions ARE accepted, how can competitors expect fairness in judging on the day of the competition?

    • Lara Michaels very true- it seems like it was a bad and compromising decision to accept late submissions.

    • S.T. Shimi

      any chance that people were legitimately confused about the deadline? I have missed conference calls because I miscalculated the timezone. Deadlines are deadlines is one very legitimate principle to hold...but if there was a genuine mess-up I think that softening that deadline is also acceptable and compassionate. I don't know if that's what happened here though! I am speaking as someone who has had to enforce deadlines; make the call on when to not be a hard-ass about it and been on the other side of both.

    • Lara Michaels it was my understanding it was legitimate confusion on the part of many west coast applicants. i think many thought it was midnight on the 24th or something, so they extended the deadline to that time. regardless, some sort of announcement should have been made about the extension.

    • Aerial Amy ST, quite a few people were confused. Those who asked or looked for clarification could see that the deadline was 11:59 est. a good number of people thought it was pm, saw that they missed it, and didn't submit. Why shouldn't they get a softened deadline too? It's just not fair to everyone equally.

    • S.T. Shimi Yeah that I agree with. SO you're saying that it seems like only some people got slipped under the radar? I get you now.

    • S.T. Shimi Speaking as a perpetually confused non-American, I really wish that deadlines that were time-zone based just went ahead and spelled it out for all zones!

    • Aerial Amy Exactly, Lara Michaels and S.T. ShimiIf some are given the benefit of the doubt, ALL should be.

    • Lara Michaels ok, i think i finally understand the root of the discussion. so- points for improvement- clearly announce that it's a panel of judges selecting, announce a deadline, and stick to it. shouldnt be too hard to clean that up... also- in light of that, responsibility of the applicants- if you're sad you missed the deadline, prepare farther in advance next time.

    • Aerial Amy Lara Michaels yes. Transparency And accountability in ALL aspects of judging and selection, period.

    • Lara Michaels ‎... i will say as devil's advocate, still confused why anyone with the intention of submitting would leave it to the last possible minute to submit... never hurts to be a little early....

    • S.T. Shimi WOrking up the nerve, maybe? Waiting to find that perfect video? Stuff happens. But yeah...my organisation learned the hard way when the artsgov system crashed and burned as we tried submitting our NEA app at the last minute! Having said that, I'm pretty sure that the NEA relented for us and others that one time. Still, we turn it in a week out at a minimum now. *shudder*

    • Aerial Amy Lara Michaels injury, sickness, family drama... Who knows? Who are we to judge? Individuals are accountable to themselves for their own actions and what does or does not result from them. Organizations are respnsible to members for theirs.

    • Lara Michaels absolutely- im not judging anyone's personal circumstances, but maybe you won't make the deadline this year if these things come up. that's life. USPDF should have announced the extension, since that decision was made on the part of the organization. I'm just pointing out we can't completely disregard the responsibility of the applicants to make a deadline.

    • Luki Martino I didn't make the deadline because I had to have a last minute surgery.... I'm ok with it... Just gives me another year to get ready :-)

    • Charley Crystal I missed the deadline because I couldn't find a place to film and had to make appointments in order to meet the submission criteria that no part of your body could be cut off through out your video. I had 2 older videos that I decided to choose between then it was pointed out that I missed the deadline since I thought it was midnight.

    • Laura Ashton

      Not only do I not support a competition where I suspect there is something dodgy going on (remember the Pole2Pole USA cup?) but I'll actively seek to see justice done and fair play, in that case it was making a fuss about the return of entry fees to competitors with withdrew over the organisers' actions. I'll have to read and digest the comments above to fully understand which competition you are referring to and what the problem is with it. Anyone feel free to fill me in?

    • Gina Tann S.T., I think a deadline is a deadline and needs to be treated as such. You miss it, you wait until next year. Sucks, but deadlines exist for good reasons.

    • Luki Martino What I did notice is that there were several inquiries on the USPDF page where people were looking for clarification... And they all went unanswered by USPDF staff. Rather the questions were answered by other FB users... And you have to do some hunting on the USPDF website to find the deadline.... the exact time was listed in response to a comment.. Not in the actual gideline details.

    • Laura Ashton That's so true Gina. A deadline is exactly that and although it's tough on people who miss it, to extend it would be unfair on people who actually obeyed the rules. Same thing happened here when a pole company extended the deadline on a competition because they only had ONE entrant, in that case it was not only unfair but also illegal according to the law in the UK.

    • Gina Tann And I typed that with the knowledge that a few of my very favorite dancers didn't submit because they ran out of time. :( I would have LOVED to see them compete but I don't think it's fair to receive some videos past the published deadline, and not others.

    • Irmingard Mayer The date and time along with time zone for deadline should be clearly marked. Information for entering should be fully expressed in detail. Any entrant not following guidelines should be disqualified. Pretty cut and dry!

    • Rebecca Angell

      Sigh. Competitions are so subjective in some of the scoring (that will never change...and I have unfortunately seen it on both sides) but I absolutely believe there are standards, rules, clarifications, etc that can (at least I hope) make a compeitition as fair as possible. The keys here are consistency, CLEAR communication, absolutely NO visual display of favoritism (this happens a lot and makes me VERY uncomfortable), and guidelines that are so bulletproof in their verbiage that there is no question or confusion. I am pretty sure that I just described a utopian competition that does not exist. I have noticed in the competition world that failure on execution is 80% explained by a complete lack of preparation. (I am talking across the board here...not in specifics). Integrity must be upheld...it's something I feel so strongly about. These women put so much into these competitions, and there is a lot at stake for them: their personal growth, their businesses, their reputation...and for pole to be seen as a legitimate sport, things MUST be fair. They HAVE to be, otherwise, it is a waste of time. While sometimes people disagree on outcomes (this happens on judges' panels as well, believe me), there needs to be a scoring system in place that gives a clear, definitive separation in what the task at hand is. With any performance sport, there is always subjectivity, but a lot lies in CAREFULLY choosing qualified people who can look at things fairly and objectively with zero emotional attachment to contestants. I am seeing more and more, in the close knit world of pole, this is pretty difficult to do. Everyone knows everyone. It is up to the members of this community to put aside bias and promote the sport more than their personal 'favorites'. I have found that I feel I do this quite well in judging competitions (having been a contestant in past dance competitions and had bias both help AND hurt me...it's not right, not as a contestant is it

    • Rebecca Angell Ack! Hit enter! Cont: my fault. The key is all in being consistent, doing what's right, and eliminating bias. Period. I hope hope hope this sport excelerates our expectations, and as it grows, I think the kinks get worked out at the expense of others. That sucks.

    • Lara Michaels

      Yeah, I think communication maintenance can be improved... Just to ensure all guidelines/rules/deadlines are all clearly visible on all Internet representations of an organization. I feel for a lot of perspectives here- the people that were confused about submission time, the desire to offer flexibility for them, the lack of communication, the desire to see deadlines upheld because how is it fair to those that did make the effort to get their submissions in on time? I think it's a dual responsibility of the organization to communicate, and the applicants to get their shit together. If both parties can do that, we eliminate these conflicts.

    • Rebecca Angell

      And addressing the deadline issue: I completely agree with hard and fast rules. I was in a scholarship pageant once, and I received 1st runner up. I complied by the rules. It was later brought out that the officials solicited the girl that won the day before the competition (the deadline had passed two months previous). Their bending of the rules cost me $5,000 in college scholarship money. Was she better than me? That is debatable. Were the rules not followed and something fishy happened? Absolutely. This stuff matters.

    • Aerial Amy Fabulous points ladies and thank you for your input and perspectives. Here's another to consider: WHO is picking applicants? Is it just one person, or a committee? based on WHAT??

    • Irmingard Mayer

      Both are vague. The site just says "USPDF" selects finalists. As far as criteria they say it is the same used for the competition, based on: "technique, transition, coordination, creativity, individuality, flexibility, strength, extensions, consistency, dynamics, dancing and performance." It's hard to know where emphasis is placed for judges or if there is an official scoring system in selecting applicants as they have in place for the competitions. Also I do want to point out how confused so many people were about guidelines to compete under "pro" status. Many comments on youtube videos ask why prospective applicants didn't submit as "pro." I knew the guidlines, but am I missing something or is that not expressed on the website?

    • Allison Sipes Irmingard - USPDF Pros are only those who have previously competed and placed in the top 3 (or 5 depending on what comp it was - regional or nationals) in their events ONLY. There were about 24 eligible "pros" to enter this time.

    • Irmingard Mayer Yes, I knew this... I was just saying how the guidelines for that are not expressed anywhere that I can find under the competition rules. There was confusion among others.

    • Cara Norman Heuser

      Along the lines of the amateur/pro status question, I had the same questions. I'm not sure how it's quite fair that people who have won &/or placed in national competitions or dance in what would obviously be considered professional shows/organizations are amateurs. It seems to me, in my humble opinion, that they should be in the "pro" category. I don't fault the folks who submitted because the guidelines given were not clear. But it should be the job of the organizers to be clear about the distinction and to place reasonable limits on what qualifies for each category.

    • Charley Crystal

      With the USPDF being the first national competition I think information was more clear during it's inception than it is now...some of us old school people are pretty aware of how it works because it was on the old website - I'll go look now and see if I can find more information about it. But as Allison said you must have placed within the organization and been granted pro status to compete as a pro. I think it best to consider USPDF a professional level competition with 2 categories/divisions instead of looking at it as 2 competitions which is what I used to do.

    • Irmingard Mayer Charley Crystal please let me know if you find it. I can't anywhere. As I said, I knew the qualifications for pro but the only suggestion I see is that under rules it says to submit videos under "USPDF Amateur 2012" with no mention of the pro category.

    • Aerial Amy Jill Anne that's a good point. What about this: if additional applicants are selected, then the overall number chosen will increase. should those who submitted on time be penalized with a wider competition field?

    • Aerial Amy Agree. I didn't mean to seem like i was challenging you to figure out a fix... you're right in that there's really no good solution at this point.

    • Cara Norman Heuser Charley, I like that way of thinking about it better. It's confusing, especially now that the organization doesn't really have many other competitions anymore.

    • Karen Possessky

      I am a certified ethicist and an ex-figure skater. "Transparency" is one principle of thought studied in the field of ethics. Yes, for any business, organization, competition, etc.... to be ethical, it's process and information should be transparent. Another principle of thought is issue of consistency that by its practice, allows predictability and fair advantage for all stakeholders. Stakeholders is another term regularly used in ethics that refers to those people who are impacted by decisions made and I agree Aerial Amy, that whether you compete or not, if you exist within the pole industry, you are a stakeholder (secondary at least), because how a competition, organization, et al. conducts itself reflects the entire industry. Acountability is also extremely important in the study of ethics because without it, lack of transparency and inconsistency will persist. If the industry as a whole wants to break through glass ceilings, than we need to 1) be ethical 2) be kind(not resort to covert bullying "gynecoharm" to cope with feelings 3) work together cooperatively by practicing tolerance for the sake of the collective common good 4) continue to communicate to understand one another via non-violent communication methods.

    • Karen Possessky

      I may also add (excuse grammar errors above :-/) that every person has a right to self determination. That means they have the right to determine for themselves what he or she wants to do. As long as a person is making an informed choice, (i.e. they enter conditions knowing that there is ambiguity and/or no clear transparency), then they risk the potential consequences (i.e. frustrated experience, exploitation, financial loss, lost time, et al.). For a person to make an INFORMED DECISION - another big ethics term - one must have all the necessary information required to deliberate before coming to his or her decision. A person should be able to have enough info to weigh the risks and benefits as it relates to his or her life and then decide whether or not the potential benefits outweigh the risks for making the final decision. If a person does not have all of the information to make an INFORMED CHOICE - this is unethical practice. However, an individual does have responsibility to seek the information. One cannot expect that the information will just fall on his or her lap. The individual may have to dig to get the data needed to deliberate and then decide (it's a process called the 3 D's).

    • Karen Possessky

      Oh goodness, sorry to be long winded, but another major principle came to my mind, that of PLURALISM. We live in a pluralistic society, one that has varying points of view depending on your seat and experiences that shape you. The fact that people are discussing this or any subject of debate is simply a result of pluralistic culture. How can we ever come to tolerance if we do not share views and attempt to understand, even if we never agree. Everyone's definition of "best" is going to be different. So allegations that talking aout this is whining or bitching is a disservice to the entire community. To evolve, we have to talk about it, even if it is a tough pill to swallow. Ignoring it, keeping it in the closet, or under the carpet, does not make the conflict magically disappear. By illuminating it, talking about it - it allows opportunity to stretch and meet one another in the middle to a point of at LEAST understanding. We cannot expect TOTAL agreement in a pluralistic society. But, we can at least say, "Hey, I don't agree with you, thank you for sharing your points of view respectfully and openly. This may be something we'll just have to agree to disagree on." Life goes on with tolerance at least. "To tolerate" is better than "to hate". If we can tolerate and communicate to understand (not to have total consensus), then we are at least working together and can elevate the industry as a whole. If we hate, divide, stop talking, be silent, etc... then we cannot break through glass ceilings and the outside general public will have little chance of taking our industry and causes seriously. We, the pole community and industry, have large barriers to cross. We will never cross those barriers if internally, we are keeping silent, shutting down, and not trying to understand one another. With that, respect that others may hold different views than your own, ask questions to understand the other side, make your points of view without resorting to violent communication (intimidation tactics, bullying, trash-talking, name-calling, sarcastic fun-making, etc...).

    • Karen Possessky

      Total consensus is unrealistic expectation, something that could only exist in a utopian society. Understanding is something we can strive for. If we can never truly understand, we should not stop trying. In the meantime, respect that individuals have the right to their unique point of view based on their seat in life and experiences that shape them. Never stop talking, never stop asking questions, never stop trying to understand - the alternative would be to have a divided community overwhelmed with suspicion and fear about who can I trust and who can I not trust. This existence risks turning people off and just sending them away. That kind of existence also risks the general public viewing the pole industry as fragmented, disjointed, and potentially unworthy of being taken seriously for the olympics. This existence also risks us remaining in a stigmatized trench that as far as the public is concerned, can stay down in.
I am disappointed for many, many reasons.  Part of me feels like, if the issues with USPDF are so well known, then those who don't want to be part of the competition just don't need to submit.  USPDF is it's own entity and if they want to just hold their own popularity contest, that is their choice, right?  However, how many newbie pole dancers are excited to join the competition circuit and don't know about past issues.  The conversation on Studio Veena is pretty heated.  I would love to hear from all sides about their take on this subject.  You know me...I just hate that our tiny community so easily gets ripped apart from the inside out.  I do get that competitions can be nasty.  Is this just to be expected?