As an instructor, I take great pride in watching a student learn a move that eludes them. Sometimes they pick up the move from somewhere else and I simply help them figure out the “trick” to it, other times I will watch what the student already does and see if they can be encouraged to take the move and create something else with it. To me this is the greatest honor. This is why I teach. I love seeing their faces when they do something they never thought they could do. And every so often I get brought to tears, either by watching them overcome an obstacle or when they complement me in such a big way.
A case in point: I have been coaching my best friend Bianca Beasley since January of this year, after she came to me wanting to lose weight. She had just been discharged from the military and was having a tough time adapting to civilian life. (This is quite common with our brothers and sisters who face the dangers of war time.)
I had known Bianca for a long time before all of this however, and jumped on the chance to help in any way I could. Bianca was/is an eager learner, never afraid to fall. She picked up on the movements quickly and pushed past the obstacles she faced in day to day living. There were many days that she was covered head to toe in bruises from trying a move repeatedly until she felt she had it down.
In August she decided she wanted to go for the title of 2011 Miss Georgia Pole Dance (a title held by the one and only Nicki Shaw ~2010); [which would be held October 22-23 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center by Moses Carroll of MC HeathCare] we began planning her routines, her costume, and her music. She wanted to tell a story, but at the same time have fun with it. With the competition being on October 23rd it was decided that a Halloween theme would be fun and fitting, she pick a vampire costume and planned her routine to the song “Bloodletting (the Vampire Song) by Concrete Blonde.
We listened to that song repeatedly until she knew without a doubt when it would peak for her power moves, and when it would slow down for her to take it easy. I had explained to her that this method would work for her best so she can rest between the crescendos. As the day came closer, Bianca practiced so hard that the skin of her foot was worn off and her muscles were on the verge of giving out. And yet, she continued to push on.
The weekend of the competition was finally here. As we sat in our hotel room, I gave her a pep talk. I let her know that no matter the out come of this competition, she was already a winner to me for overcoming her disabilities and by pushing herself to go for it. The day of the competition she nailed every move in her compulsory round barely thinking twice about it. She walked with poise and grace through the question and answer round, answering her questions clearly, projecting her voice, and smiling the entire time.
There was a break between rounds for a couple of hours, where we went to get something to eat. The entire time Bianca was worried that she messed up her routine for the compulsory round. I told her she did great and that I could see the judges enjoyed her question and answer round as well. We reviewed the video of her rounds and she began to see what I had said was true. And back we went to the venue, for me to do her hair and makeup for her final round.
Bianca went with the vampire theme, and as I finished her makeup, the transformation was complete. She looked the part of a rockin’ vampire ready for her date with the pole. As she lay on the floor the chimes of the opening cords of the song began and she began to “wake” for the routine….slowly uncrossing her arms from her chest and rising from the floor with a tired yawn.
Bianca played to the audience and let the music take over. Nailing move after move she followed her planned routine perfectly. I felt myself begin to tear up. This is why I instruct, this is why I love pole. I watched my best friend (and student) transform before my very eyes. She was a beast on the pole. I had never doubted, but I knew she needed to prove it to herself. As the routine came to an end, the music slowed and with a crossing of the arms back over her chest, and a final sassy crossing of her ankles, Bianca the Vampire went back to “sleep”. The audience loved it!
As the judges tallied the scores for a final time, I talked with Bianca some more; letting her know she did great and that I was proud of her. She was nervous of what the outcome would be, but was ready win or lose. As the judges handed out the awards, “Third Place goes to Miss Tiger Lily……Second place goes to Miss Von Brianna…….And First Place and the title of the 2011 Miss Georgia Pole Dance Champion goes to Bianca Beasley!!!!” Bianca’s face lit up with disbelief.
I have to say I had tears of joy in my eyes as I watched. As her coach, I knew how hard she worked for this. I knew what obstacles she had overcome. I was as proud as any instructor could be. My best friend had just taken first place in her first competition. Now she finally knew what I knew all along…..she was a beast, a force to be reckoned with on the pole.
Special congradulations to all the competitors of the event, both profession division and amature division. If you missed out on this competition be sure to check out the website:
Thanks to Moses Carroll for putting on a great event!
Thanks to all the secondary juges!
Special thanks to all the lead judges:
Nicki Shaw (2010 Miss Georgia Pole Dance)
Trixie Lovett (Founder and CEO~ Pole Nation)
David C. Owen (2nd ranked male pole competitor two years running)