by Jane Blair and Alessandra Izzo aka Ally Cat
How is it the end of 2017 already? Where did it go!
We hope you’re thinking about who has influenced YOU the most this year, because voting in our APDM Top 50 is opening next week! You can vote for anyone who you feel has been most influential in the Aussie pole community this year – this might be your teachers, studio owners, pole bloggers, event producers – or your favorite pole stars.
Both Jane and I have attended many pole events this year, and watched many more on video… It’s our job to keep up with what is happening on those stages! However, with so many performances in the year we are unable to see every one of them. Thus, our top fives are reflective of who we have seen. Feel free to post your top five in the comments, along with links if you have them so we can watch the videos too.
So without further ado, here are our favorite performances from the Aussie pole stages in 2017!
Jane’s Top Five
5. Lou Landers at Dance Filthy Sydney
Known for her handstands and spreadies, Lou Landers took a year off competing this year. But that didn’t stop her getting freeeeky for the Dance Filthy elite showcase in Sydney. Lou brought power to the stage donning her signature style with a twist. The audience could not look away. It was dynamic spreadies galore combined with the impeccable musicality that made this performance spectacular to watch. Lou is absolute goals for sexy floorwork and flexy tricks.
Lisa D revived an old classic of hers to bring to the Pole Theatre stage this year. There was plenty blood and guts, she literally killed it on stage (excuse the pun). Her pole work was classically Lisa D and she stayed in character the whole way through – this included sleep poling. Her victims, Elle Diablo and Loli Box, were fabulously cast and did some epic onstage dying. Lisa surprised the audience throughout the performance with costume changes, props and murder. The crowd was in stitches.
3. The Red Crowned Crow at Dance Filthy Sydney
I mean, who doesn’t love watching Fontaine slither and slide around the stage? Featuring back-up dancers Gigi and Shay, Fontaine got down with the sickness for an incredibly fierce number. Her powerful dynamics combined with slinky flow had the audience drooling in their seats. The back-up dancers took it to another level with their synchronised legwork. It’s no surprise she took out the title, her style fits perfectly with the Dance Filthy criteria of being a filthy floorwork goddess!
Bailey’s performance at Miss Pole Dance Australia this year was a sure highlight for me. Featuring husband-to-be, Luke Bern, Bailey danced the story of her Grandmother losing her first husband in WW2. I am a huge fan of the way Bailey dances up the pole just like she would on the floor. Her flawless passes on and off the pole matched beautifully with the theme and the connection between Bailey and Luke on stage left no dry eyes in the room. Bailey’s performance was a refreshing break from the heel clacks and spreadies that is MPDA.
1. Arizona & Ivy at Floorplay Melbourne
Arizona and Ivy brought the house down with their performance at Floorplay Melbourne and got the loudest applause of the night. The duo played voodoo witches and the piece had a dark feel from the start which was consistent throughout the show. The musicality was impeccable with neither of the girls missing a beat. Their legwork looked phenomenal on stage and the use of backbends was super effective with the theme. The whole piece just worked and the audience loved every second! Arizona and Ivy are an act to watch in the future, I think we are going to see some epic things from them.
Ally’s Top Five
Number five is technically two pieces, intrinsically linked by the two characters: the black swan and the white swan. While they were intended as competition entries at the Felix Cane Pole Championships, the theatrical quality of these twin tales coupled with the patterns and echoes repeated throughout both pieces, the powerful Tchaikovsky-laden soundtrack, and the use of mirrored choreography, held me captivated from start to finish. I felt like I couldn’t blink, as I didn’t want to miss any part of it. I never saw this duet live, though I bet if I had it may have been bumped up the list for me.
The first Vortex competition this year had some outstanding performances, but Natty really knocked it out of the park. I’ve noticed Natty’s musicality before but this piece took it to a whole new level, and set the tone for a year of greatness from her. I saw this one live, and while the venue wasn’t glamorous, the “up close and personal” experience for a competition that was all about the low flow made this a jaw-dropper. I’ve seen thousands of pole performances in my time and this one will go down as one of my all-time favourites.
Mischka the glamazon just owned this routine from start to finish. With her forever legs almost taking out walls on the tiny Vortex stage, she nailed every hit of her music without resorting to a cliché of Michael Jackson movement. MJ music is notoriously difficult to do justice to even when using signature MJ dance moves. But Mischka infused her own personality and style off the pole, as well as her beastly jaw-dropping manoeuvres around the base of the pole with such precision in musicality that the entire audience held its collective breath.
The subject matter of this piece touched me deeply. Joanna truly honoured the story-telling of her tribute to Anne Frank, while dancing the spirit of hope and humanity in the face of abject horror. Joanna’s personal connection to the Holocaust would have helped her do justice to an extremely difficult issue, but her approach to the highly charged and emotional material carried an honesty and sensitivity that left me speechless. It was beautiful agony. For crafting such an incredibly moving piece that was not just captivating and visually breathtaking, but an outstanding tribute for an extremely painful topic, I personally would have given the overall prize to her on the night.
A large ensemble piece has the potential to exalt us to the heavens, or render us squeamishly recoiling in hellish discomfort. Chilli Rox manages to nail the MPDA opening every year, and I’ve relished every single one that I’ve seen. But this year was Chilli’s Opus. Not only did it feature a breathtakingly star-studded cast, and pretty much every type of visual feast we’ve yearned for (and let’s face it, it was all of Chilli’s fantasies come true) – it took me on a roller-coaster of emotions. I was hypnotically transfixed, hit right in the feels, sexually aroused and then frustrated, hyperventilating into a paper bag, and by the end, weeping in joyous ecstasy. Thank you Chilli Rox. What an incredible end it was to a year of magnificent pole!