We had a chance to catch up with Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle, the inventors, creators, founders of Pole Theatre. They seem to be every where these days. What is Pole Theatre and how did they get so popular so fast? See what they had to say to find out! UPA: What is Pole Theatre? M & M: Pole Theatre is a wildly entertaining competition that focuses on the art of performance. There are very few rules or restrictions placed on the performers’ creativity, and we encourage the competitors to really let their imaginations run riot. The competition is divided into 4 categories: Pole Art, Pole Comedy, Pole Drama and Pole Classique. Competitors are allowed props (including ‘human props’!), other apparatus, elaborate costumes, background sets etc – basically whatever they need to bring their story to life. Below is an explanation of the categories. Pole Art The category of Pole Art is for performances incorporating another dance style (e.g. lyrical, contemporary, latin, commercial, ballet etc). Contestants will be judged on musicality and flow. Contestants are expected to create a performance that demonstrates an artistic interpretation of movement and music on the pole. Pole Drama The category of Pole Drama is for performances that tell a story. Contestants will be expected to build a clear storyline in their performance. Pole Comedy The category of Pole Comedy is for performances that incorporate humorous and comedic elements. Pole Classique The category of Pole Classique is for performances that celebrate the beauty and art of sexy/sensual style pole dance and striptease. Contestants must wear heels for at least part of their performance (minimum 1 minute). Contestants are required to remove at least one item of their costume in this category. G-strings, pasties etc are permitted. UPA: What makes Pole Theatre unique and different from other pole competitions? M & M: Basically, what makes Pole Theatre different is the freedom it gives competitors to create their most imaginative performance pieces. The emphasis is on performance, and not necessarily on the level of difficulty of the tricks. Competitors can be singles, doubles, male, female – there is no distinction or separation other than the categories themselves. Where other competitions impose a lot of rules and regulations on competitors, Pole Theatre pretty much gives performers carte blanche to do whatever they like on stage! UPA: Pole Theatre seems to have gotten very popular, very quickly. Can you tell us your theory on why that is? M & M: The popularity of Pole Theatre worldwide certainly surprised us! I think it’s due tothe fact that the competition is so much fun not only to watch, but also to be a part of. Pole Theatre opens up the competition world to lovers of entertainment and performance art. You just never know what you’re going to get at Pole Theatre – the concepts that the performers come up with astound me every time. We’ve had a drunk Scot on a stolen mobility scooter, a mouse with a giant piece of cheese strapped to her back, Super Mario Brothers fighting for the princess, Borat pole dancing for the great nation of Kazakhstan, Charlie Chaplin, a gay Jesus on a cross, the the Greek Myth of the Minotaur, a sensual and beautiful performance to live accoustic guitar and vocals… I could go on and on! To watch Pole Theatre is an incredible experience – the laughter, the tears, the emotion, the inspiration, the controversy and the titillation – what more could you want in a show? UPA: What cities/countries has Pole Theatre debuted? What new cities/countries will Pole Theatre be happening? M & M: We have had Pole Theatres in France, Croatia, the UK, Australia, Ireland, and in December in South Africa. Next year there will be Pole Theatres in the USA (Denver), Japan, Hong Kong, and about five more countries yet to be announced… UPA: Tell us how the idea of Pole Theatre came about and what is your mission? M & M: We created Pole Theatre because we began to notice that there was an increased focus on the fitness and sport side of pole worldwide. We love pole fitness and pole sports as well, but we are most passionate about the theatrical and performance side of pole. While we were on tour in Europe, we noticed in a lot of our workshops that the girls were complaining about the lack of creative performance options available to them. In Australian pole dance, we have a long tradition of bringing big pole shows to the stage, and we wanted to create a competition that would really showcase the performance and artistic skills that pole dancers have.
It was also really important to us to give competition space to the sexy style of pole
We have seen it pushed out of many competitions, and as Maddie and I arediehard fans of the beauty and artistry of sensual pole performance, we wanted to create a separate category especially to celebrate this style of pole dance, Pole Classique (which is kind of a playful reference to the fact that “classical pole” originated in strip clubs). To find out more about Pole Theatre, visit their website at www.poletheatresydney.com. There are other sites as well http://www.poletheatreuk.com http://poletheatreusa.com