Community Over Competition: PoleCon 2019
If you’ve been bitten by the pole dancing bug, you know how easy it is to become obsessed. In some parts of the world, finding others who share your passion is easy. In other places, pole is still considered taboo or classes are simply not available. So what’s a lonely pole lover to do? Enter, PoleCon!
The International Pole Convention is a celebration of all things related to pole dancing: there are performances by dancers of every style and many different skill levels, there are workshops with pole stars (both already famous and up and coming), there are vendors with every sparkly shiny product a dancer could want, a playground to fly on pole, hoop or fabric and even free classes to learn about everything from floor work to marketing your brand.
This celebration lasts most of the week and pops up in a different US city each year. This year, dancers and enthusiasts travelled to Colorado to learn, spectate, teach, perform and meet others who share their passion for pole dancing.
I was happy to attend, this being my third time at PoleCon and this year, I had the distinction of also being an instructor. It was a proud moment for me to be involved on that level.
The hotel where PoleCon was held was beautiful and I spent quite a bit of time on the gorgeous grounds surrounding it. The convention serves guests both breakfast and lunch and, though I am never awake for breakfast, lunch is always enjoyable and the desserts are even better. I try to set a spending limit when I visit, and managed to stick to it pretty well (just some new Cleo bottoms, a tank top, some leg warmers…all the essentials), but attending a pole convention always means shopping. Still, as nice as all that is, there are two things that really stand out to me about PoleCon every time.
The energy at the event is quite unique. Another dancer told me that she feels PoleCon has a friendlier vibe than other similar events and I’m inclined to agree. Though the pole community, on the whole, are a friendly bunch, PoleCon does have a more laid back feel to it than many other pole functions I’ve attended. I always meet new dancers when I go and, as someone who isn't naturally very social, that says a lot about the crowd. I attribute part of this energy to the other thing that I find really refreshing about PoleCon; it is free of competition.
The stage in the main room is always busy with dancers performing but they are not competing with each other. They’re there to be seen by their community, to share their creativity and love of dance. They are all celebrated without a panel of judges to tell the audience what to think or to assign value to their performances and I just love that. The pole world is so saturated with competitions at this point, a forum for dancers to simply be themselves, free of a scoring system is a breath of fresh air.Mind you, on the last day, there are contests in the main room like who can deadlift the most times, but these are just for fun and not really comparing one dancer’s art to another.
So, if you haven’t visited, I encourage you to come to New Orleans next year, where the International Pole Convention will meet again! You will enjoy fun performances, shop for all the sparkly things and (most importantly), you will connect with others from around the world who share your joy for our particular art form. I’ll see you there!