I attended CPDC in 2011. It was the first major live pole performance I had ever attended. I was still fairly new to pole dance and was star-struck at every turn. I had seen routines on YouTube and had pretty much pegged the Spatchcock as THE finishing move. If you had the flexibility, the Spatchcock would show up at some point in your routine, generally at the end. I feel like there are few graceful ways to get out of that move anyway so "the end" works. Another "must-have" was the Jade Split. I believe named for Jamilla Deville, this is the beautiful split while you're upside down on the pole, which shows you have no nerve endings left in your hip and tons of flexibility.
|This is about as advanced as I get|
Enter the Fonji. I first saw Natasha Wang do the Fonji through a Facebook video about two years ago (although a YouTube video shows her learning it from Timber and Steve about a year prior to that). If you don't know what the Fonji is, HERE is a video of Natasha doing the Fonji to reverse Fonji combo. Primarily a circus or Chinese pole move, advanced moves like the Fonji are quickly spreading into competitive pole routines. You can see Skittles' tutorial on the Fonji HERE. Although she believes the move is not as difficult or dangerous as it looks, I still consider it an advanced move.
So imagine my surprise at the competition last week to find FOUR of the eleven competitors in CPDC's Neo category attempted the Fonji! These are the amateur competitors! Sure, they have to dance very well to get to this level of competition, but they are still not at Pro level. And many did not finish the move cleanly, which means they are in danger of injuring themselves. What is going on here?
Where is competitive pole going? So many competitors aren't just pole dancing. They are taking contortion and acrobatic classes. They are adding in Chinese pole and circus tricks. Why bother with a simple (but beautiful) Allegra when you can do a drop from 20 feet up?
Although I was impressed with the athleticism of all of the competitors, I was extremely happy that the winning routines were well-rounded with tricks AND spins. And also happy that many had an interesting story to tell, rather than "just" being a dance. I know I'm not one to judge since I can't do ANY of those high-level moves. I just hope that competitors are not risking their safety and the integrity of their routines for the cheap thrill of a trick that has not yet been perfected.
I am curious to hear what everyone else thinks about this subject. Where do you think competitive pole dancing is headed? Are there tricks that used to be common place that you aren't seeing anymore? Which tricks do you think need to go and which do you wish would come back?