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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

lou dance filthy

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.

 

 

 

 

4. Lisa D at Pole Theatre Sydney Comedy

lisa d pole comedy

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

fontaine vertigo

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!

 

2. Bailey Hart at MPDA

bailey and luke

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

 

5. Amy Hazel/Andrea James Lui at Felix Cane Pole Championships

amy and andrea

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.

 

 

 

4. Natty at Vortex

natty vertigoThe 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.

 

3. Mischka at Vortex

mischka vertigoMischka 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.

 

 

 

2. Joanna Littlewood-Johnson at Pole Theatre Sydney

joanna pole theatre 3The 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.

 

 

1. Opening Number at Miss Pole Dance Australia 

mpda 2018 gospel filly

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!

 

About the Authors

JANE BLAIR

 

In desperate need of empowerment, Jane started Pole and Burlesque dancing in 2010 at Bottoms Up! Burlesque and Pole School. She quickly fell in love with the sense of achievement she felt when she conquered a new pole move.

After 3 years of pole dancing the bored Beauty Therapist decided Australia needed a magazine to celebrate this growing sport. With a dusty Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing up her sleeve and her head exploding with ideas, she felt like she was the right person to make it happen. She became the Editor of the Australian Pole Dancers Magazine in October 2013.

It was just before the release of Issue #1 of Australian Pole Dancers Magazine that Jane competed for the first time in the Rising Stars competition at the end of 2013. This triggered her hunger for performing and she went on to compete in VPC 2014, MPDV 2014/15, Dance Filthy 2015 + 2016 and Floorplay 2015 where she placed 3rd in the Semi-pro division.

Jane loves that pole dancing allows you to express yourself no matter who you are or what style you choose.

 

ALESSANDRA IZZO

AKA

ALLY CAT

ally apcAlly is a restless entrepreneur and passionate creative with a Piscean idealism and an aversion to authority. Having practiced as a Naturopath and Massage Therapist for 6 years, she abandoned clinic work in 2014 to spend more time doing what she loved most: working with her pole family at Bottoms Up! where she has taught since 2009, and instructing 80’s dance fitness under her own creation RAD Fitness

It didn’t take long before her creative juices led her to conjure up Pandemonium Events, and under this brand she has produced and co-ordinated ten pole, aerial and variety performance nights.

Besides teaching and producing, Ally loves being on stage. She competed in the Victorian Pole Championships in 2013 and then again in 2015 where she won the VPC Amateur division and went on to compete in the national finals. She also joined APDM Editor Jane Blair and their Bottoms Up! family in a Rocky Horror group performance at Encore! 2016 (nominated as a finalist for Best Group Performance at the Victorian Aerial Awards 2016) and competed in the Pro Comedy division of Pole Theatre in 2016 and 2017. She was also honoured to be awarded the 2016 Trailblazer of the Year award at the Victorian Aerial Awards. 

Having toyed with the idea of starting a pole magazine herself in 2011, Ally watched the growth of Australian Pole Dancers Magazine with much interest, contributing articles to the publication before formally becoming a partner in November 2015. She loves being part of APDM as she feels it is something that the entire pole community can use as a means of connecting with one another, learning from one another and growing together.

 

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