With so many pole competitions popping up all over the world, it can be hard for polers to find one that encompasses both the fitness aspect as well as the freedom of expression and creativity. I was lucky to have found just that with the Southern Regional Pole Dance Competitions. Founded by Moses Carroll of MC Healthcare the SRPDC brings the pole community together in the South of the United States.
The SRPDC brings awareness of fitness through the art of pole dance to the fore light, while competitors complete three rounds of activities. The first round is the compulsory round, where each competitor pre-selects moves to be scored on, scoring includes: flexibility, grace, skill, difficulty, transitions, and climbing technique. Because this round is more for the fitness aspect it is performed with no music and no shoes. The second round is the theme round, which is where the competitors are scored on ability to answer questions, mannerisms, outfit, and personality. The last portion of the competition is the performance round, where the competitors get to flex their creative muscles and put on a show. Points are given for costume, music, creativity, and construction.
I found myself in the unique position to be able to sit down with Moses and talk to him about the competitions and what they mean to him at the 2011 Miss South Carolina Pole Dance Competition hosted in Columbia, South Carolina at the Marriott Hotel Capital Ballroom.
What brought your attention to pole dance for fitness?
Moses Carroll: I have always had a fascination with gymnastics and enjoyed watching the competitors perform. When I viewed my first pole dancing competition I fell in love the skills, grace, and flexibility it takes be a pole athlete/performer.
How many states do you currently host competitions for and what are they?
Moses Carroll: We are growing really fast, in 2009 we hosted the 1st ever Miss Georgia Pole Dance event. Then in 2011 we added Miss Texas, Miss North Carolina and Miss South Carolina. In 2012 we plan to do Virginia, Florida, Oklahoma, and Missouri as well.
How did it come about that you started hosting these competitions?
Moses Carroll: After 15years of managing health clubs and specializing in marketing and promoting health & fitness, I wanted to get involved in building fitness programs that keep people motivated. Poling does just that; I enjoy giving competitors a chance to compete and learn.
What do each of the awards mean?
Moses Carroll: Miss Flexibility - This competitor focuses on tricks that display a unique and superior flexible strengths than other competitors
Miss Fitness - This competitor has is well toned and muscular with out losing her sex appeal and softness.
Miss Creativity – This competitor introduces new tricks or combinations that wow the judges.
Miss Personality - This competitor has the personality of Miss America that interacts with the audience and judges not only during the question and answer round, but also during their performance piece.
Miss Technique - This competitor has great lines, transitions and combinations, as well as displays a detailed knowledge of technique that it needed for the moves that are displayed.
The People’s Choice Award is an award that is based on votes from the audience. This allows the audience to be a part of the process and lets them choose a winner as well. The People’s Choice award is sponsored by Pole Nation founder Trixie Lovett.
Miss Echo, which is my favorite and is sponsored by MC Healthcare, is the biggest of all the Superlitory awards and demands an in depth explanation:
In Greek mythology, Ekho (Greek: Ἠχώ, Ēkhō; "Sound") was an Oread (a mountain nymph) who loved her own voice. Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and visited them on Earth often. Eventually, Zeus's wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt. Olympus in an attempt to catch Zeus with the nymphs.
Sometimes the young and beautiful nymph Echo would distract and amuse Zeus' wife Hera with long and entertaining stories while Zeus took advantage of the moment to ravish the other mountain nymphs. When Hera discovered the trickery she punished the talkative Echo by taking away her voice, except in foolish repetition of another's shouted words. Thus, all Echo could do was repeat the voice of another.
My thoughts when I read it – The Echo Award Winner – can only show expression in dance to express love, hurt, fear, joy and/or loneliness.
What do you feel about the issue of pole becoming an Olympic sport?
Moses Carroll: As a sport I see it possible, and I hope that it can make its way in to the games. Until WE as a community can bring levels and educate its going to be an uphill battle gaining the respect that it does. You have so many want be pole trendsetters trying to make money off of teaching bad techniques also a lot of people that don’t have certifications teaching or opening studio to ride the wave – but they don’t have a true love the poling. I don't pole – but I love it, respect it and believe in it. My desires larger and when I'm ready to release the next step… I will give you an exclusive….
What sets your competitions apart from others similar to them.
Moses Carroll: We give the competitor a legitimate chance to compete. We also communicate and educate which is important in the direction of what we are going to accomplish in the industry. Trixie Lovett which is the competitions head judge – meets with each judge. We keep everyone on the same page – but each judge has their own opinion.
What are your goals for these competitions?
Moses Carroll: I want to have a pole version of the Ms. America Pageant. Which will become a national competition between all the states. I believe that this will help build the popularity and respectability of pole as a sport without losing the art of dance.
I know that you travel to all of your sponsoring pole studios and learn pole moves….which move was the most fun for you? And the hardest?
Moses Carroll: The flag hold was the most fun cause I didn’t think I could hold myself up, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found that I could. The hardest was the "reverse grab"; I got my first pole bruise trying that… Ouch!
Do you plan on expanding the competitions to include a men’s division? Other areas?
Moses Carroll: Yes, I plan on adding a men’s division and a Junior division by 2014.
What has been the hardest obstacle for your competitions?
Moses Carroll: Separating our standards from what other competitions do. Our format so unique and challenging – it really separates performers and athletes
Who are your favorite polers? Why?
Moses Carroll: Sabrina Woods, because I love her grace, precision, and execution of the movements. Rebecca Butcher has an aggressive, daring style and she moves like a panther, which is amazing. Fawnia Dietrich has a very unique and sexy style of dance and she has been a major trendsetter for the pole community.
What would you like to say to any future competitors?
Moses Carroll: Pole on both sides….
Any last comments?
Moses Carroll: Be on the look out for the Southern regional championship and 2012 schedule..
For more information on the Southern Regional Pole Dance Competitions, how to compete, or sponsor information, visit