Thursday, August 28, 2014

Confessions of a Pole Show Producer: NCPP 2014 Wrap-Up

Wow.  I could literally just say that, drop the mic and walk away.  The best way to describe my experience with producing NCPP is: WOW!  From start to finish, I had no idea what to expect!  This adventure started over a year ago, when Amy Bond first brought the idea to me.  (You can read up on some of that HERE.)  Shit got real when Ellen stepped in, secured a location and we actually opened up the website for sign-ups in March.

Looks like a pole move to me!
I don't really know what I expected to happen.  We planned.  We planned again.  And then we planned some more.  (You can read my one-week-ago update HERE.)  And while I stressed myself out for months prior to the show by using most of my lunches, and after-work hours preparing, once it came time to set-up, I felt nothing.  Just peace.  It was the calm before the storm, I told myself.  I was certain I wouldn't sleep Friday night and even more certain I would be a ball of nerves on Saturday -- show day.  Nope.  Still all good.  I went down to Ellen's on Thursday night to organize things.  We spent Friday picking up water and supplies.  Then we got a call that Chobi, the amazing rigger from Los Angeles, was at the venue and ready to set up.  Little did we know, once we arrived, he had actually arrived two hours earlier and was *completely* set up. 

I worried I hadn't secured enough goodies for backstage.  Then I heard someone excitedly talk about the gifts we had set out.  I worried I messed up the music and maybe forgot a song or made the playlist too confusing to understand.  But, nope.  The music tech, David, commented that the playlist was one of the most organized he had ever seen.  I worried that I had nothing to worry about.  Then I worried that I was going to cause something to happen by making myself worry about nothing.  My exterior was completely calm.  Whatever happens happens, I told myself.  The day was here and we had done everything we could to make it a great event.

There was a moment when I went to run up the stairs to the sound booth and I saw my grandfather in a dark corner of the audience.  He passed away years ago and I have been told by more than one medium that he is my guardian angel.  It almost stopped me in my tracks.   He looked young and happy.  It brought tears to my eyes.  As I continued up the stairs, I realized it was actually my friend's husband sitting in the shadows.  That moment was short but it brought me even more peace.  I knew that I didn't need to worry because we had done everything possible to make the event perfect and it was going to be a great day. 

And a great event it was.  We have received tons of feedback -- almost all positive.  Most have said this was the smoothest, most positive event they had ever been a part of.  You don't know how much that means to us.  This is EXACTLY what I wanted.  If you want the pressure of competing, there are many avenues for you.  However, if you'd like to get on a big stage, with lights and music and 200 of your closest friends watching, there are not always a ton of opportunities.  I am tickled at how awesome the day was. 

Ellen and I have so many people to thank.  We thank all of the dancers (we had about 65 performances throughout the day).  We thank all of the studios in the Bay Area (and out of the Bay Area, since Southern California, Nevada and Colorado were also represented).  With the exception of perhaps two studios, everyone had a dancer representing them.  We thank the audience members who came to support the local pole community.  We thank our judges, as most traveled from out of the area.  We triple thank our volunteers, who were so amazing and jumped in to help any time we needed it.  We thank our sponsors, and our vendors, who were selling fun things in the lobby.  We thank the San Jose Stage Company, for trusting us when we were like, "no really, we're just going to put up some big metal poles in your theater and bring a bunch of people."  We thank Chobi for bringing his own rigging and keeping our dancers safe, and for also watching out for us and playing bouncer when necessary.  We thank his son, William, for coming with him and sitting all day as well!  We thank Alloy Images for their amazing photography and videography!  We thank Clif Bar for providing snacks for the backstage.  We thank Girlie Grip and Tite Grip for sending samples for the dancers to try.  We thank Poleitical Clothing, and Girlie Grip for providing pole cleaner outfits.  And we thank PSO for providing guidance for us during the last year.  I also personally want to thank Bel and Twirly Girls for always supporting me.  Even though this event was for all of the Bay Area studios, they are my home studio.  And I especially want to thank Ellen.  NCPP could not have happened without her.  She totally gets my crazy, or at least tolerates it.  And for that, she is owed a million thanks.  I hope I didn't forget anyone.  This is why I hate giving acceptance speeches. 
Here's me not stressing out during the show

I want to go back to the dancers to talk about how special I think each and every one of them is.  I am not a performer.  I dance for Twirly Girl events or at Robert's 1220 events, but I am in no way the-best-performer-ever.  At the end of the day, I know I am safe because I am performing at home.  It takes a ton of guts to put yourself out there in a larger theater like this.  I was so proud of each and every person who took the stage.  I know some were disappointed with their routines but I did not see one bad routine last Saturday.  Thank you for bringing your heart and dancing for us.  Also, thanks for all the cool new music ideas.  I actually wrote my PDBA blog hop this month about NCPP songs.  I was only supposed to pick 10 for the blog hop but I really loved every song submitted to me. 

We received only one piece of negative feedback so far.  It's the damn bear again.  It is kind of funny to me that Pat elicits such a hateful reaction out of some people.  People either love or hate Pat -- there is no in between.  But, Pat is here to stay.  As we say in our FAQ's:  "The bear in our logo is a reference to the California “Bear Flag.”  As our showcase is in Northern California, we thought it would be fun to incorporate that into our logo.  We also want this showcase to be light and fun.  We understand you have many options for competitions, and believe that some polers are hungry to showcase their talents without the pressure of competing. This does not mean that we do not take this showcase seriously, but we believe we can put on a safe show without losing our sense of humor."  Like I said on Facebook, if hating our logo is the only negative thing anyone can come up with, then we're doing it right. 

Thanks to Alloy for catching Ellen and me crying like babies
We received a great write-up from SF Weekly.  I know some people were bummed that stripping is mentioned, but that is what the general public associates pole dancing with.  So, I don't mind the reference.  I am proud, however, that events like NCPP are showing that pole is a legitimate sport and is not just for the strip clubs anymore.  You can read that piece HERE (in fact, I urge you to leave a comment on their page so they can see how many polers there are around the world!).  

The day was surreal.  Sometimes it still feels like it didn't happen.  I feel like there is so much more I could say but I don't want to get too wordy.  So thank you again to everyone who supported us.  I am excited to announce we are already planning the show for 2015.  We are still looking for feedback, so if you would like to leave a comment below, we would love to hear what you thought about NCPP 2014!


  1. It sounds like an absolutely fabulous event!!! Congrats on all the hard work you put into it!

    1. Thank you so much! It really was an amazing day. I'm so proud of everyone involved!

  2. What a great write up Lori, and I think you hit every nail on the head! You brought tears to my eyes when I read about your blessed you must have for what I saw from the outside looking in....I don't think I ever saw you or Ellen stressing out or freaking out...You both did what needed to get done, and if their were a stressful moment you never let the outside world know! You were calm, totally together, had a smile for everyone, You both did such an amazing job...I've been to many events and this one ran so smoothly...and to think it was your first event ever!!! At one point I looked at my watch and you were actually a few minutes ahead of the game!!!
    I also found myself dancing in my seat to your great play-list!

    As for the Bear...I had to laugh when I read me the Bear symbolized a fun and whimsical event...get rid of the stress and have some fun!
    Yes the Bear is the Calif. State Symbol...Dress him up anyway you want...its all good...again...this wasn't a contest but a chance for alot of pole peeps to test the waters of being in front of a crowd.
    A true professional keeps their emotions in check...and you both...had everything checked off...CONGRATULATIONS...

    1. So the person who looks like my grandpa is Yolanda's hubby! :-D Yeah it was a great day and thank you so much for being part of it. We love Pat so Pat isn't going anywhere. :-D

  3. I've said it many times and I'll say it again, thank you!! The concept of a non-competitive fun showcase was a success, I felt it all day Saturday, even with butterflies in my tummy. Throughout the day I would see you and Ellen coordinating and producing with focus, smiles and ease, that helped me relax.

    Thanks to whoever provided snacks. I didn't eat much couple days leading up to NCPP and that morning nibbled on a slice of Starbuck's coffee cake. Few minutes after I walked off stage in excitement/disbelief that I did it, I was starving! lol It was fun having vendors, I got the cutest Yogabela shorts and top.

    I am glad that stepping out of the box included participating in NCPP, you, Ellen and everyone involved provided a top-notch showcase. Love you!!!

    1. Forgot to mention, I am going to order NCPP item(s). Will be proud to have the NCPP Pat logo. It is a great representation of the focus of the event!

    2. Yolanda, I am so, so appreciative of you coming and participating! It was so lovely to watch you perform!!! And thank you for rocking Pat!! :-D