Article c/o the Studio Pole marketing team
It was less than 10 years ago when almost no opportunities for the average amateur pole dancer existed. For those who were starting their journey in the competition circuit, to enter a comp meant going up against the seasoned professionals. Many of us in the industry often reminisce about starting out the competition journey with in-house studio competitions, or braving it at the local ‘pub comp’.
When Dani Blyszak opened Studio Pole in Thornleigh, she very quickly noted the limited opportunities for amateur pole dancers entering the competition circuit. “I wanted to create an event that was just like a professional competition. One that was on a big stage, ticketed, professional judges, a big audience and much more”, says Dani. In 2014 Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships debuted at Hornsby RSL, with a professionally run amateur competition open to all up-and-coming talent across Australia.
Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships set the standard of Amateur competitions from the get-go. Over the next two years, the competition was receiving more and more entries, and a new problem within the industry started to become apparent.
With an explosion in amateur competitions across Australia, in conjunction with the various established professional competitions, there appeared to be a gap in the market. Many competitors were bumping out of the Amateur division, only to lose their momentum when they realised they were up against the top dogs in Professional. There was next to no middle ground, and Semi-Professional level competitions were hard to come by.
Dani responded by introducing a Semi Professional Division to Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships in 2016. The newly introduced division was well received, and had a total of 12 finalists in its first year.
Over the coming years many noted pole dancers have taken the stage of Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships, catapulting their careers as they move from amateur, to semi-professional, to professional. In 2017, Tiffany Grace made history, being the first ever competitor to win both Amateur (2016) and Semi Professional (2017) divisions in consecutive years; “Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships is definitely one of my favourite comps. It is a competitor’s dream. All aspects from the audition process, tech runs, organisers, backstage atmosphere, theatre facilities and prizes are all amazing. Not only are the judges inspirational but the standard of competition is like non-other”.
As we lead into Hardcore’s sixth consecutive year, one cannot help but notice several finalists have seemed to grace the stage again and again. The reason for this, is simply how enjoyable Hardcore is as a competition to compete in. Semi Professional finalist Cat Fish first graced the stage as an amateur in 2016; “The stage setup is really nice, as it has proper nice tall poles with lots of dancing space around”. 2018 Amateur Champion Kristy Lee remarks; “…we’re all given ample information to prepare for our shows, and interstate competitors are given extra information such as accommodation advice… Dani even went as far as telling me where to get a spray tan last year!”
But it’s not just the great stage set up, one cannot ignore the seriously high standard of competition; Semi Professional finalist Hannah says that it’s the high standard of competitors that draws her to re-entering the competition over the last few years; “Hardcore has a really high standard of pole dancers… it pushes me to be a better pole dancer and improve my skills.”
In regards to this, Dani says; “The audition process is definitely a hard one as we always have over 100 entries but only a small handful will get through. People just have to remember when applying, it’s against all over Australia and not just your state”.
Finalist Mel C is excited for her 5thconsecutive year competing at Hardcore. She talks fondly of the competition saying; “Hardcore has a special place in my heart. It was my first non-in-house competition… I now organise my life around it, May is a no go for other events until I’ve confirmed with Dani the date for the following year!”.
When back stage you can’t help but notice the fellowship between competitors. Mel C goes on to say: “My favourite thing about Hardcore is definitely the friends I have made. The camaraderie backstage is unbelievable, everyone is supportive and friendly and being an interstate competitor, my first time especially, I felt so at ease, due in a large part to this.” Finalist Tasha re-affirms this by saying; “It’s really positive and supportive (backstage) which is amazing, especially when everyone is nervous!”
As we lead up to Hardcore Pole Dancing Championship 2019, Dani encourages everyone to come along and support the up-and-coming talent in the pole industry. With a powerhouse line up, amazing judges and many exciting sponsors, it is definitely not a night to miss.
Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships will take place on Saturday, May 18th2019. Tickets are available from:https://hornsbyrsl.com.au/whats-on/hardcore/