UK Professional Pole Championships 2021 review

After a break of almost two years, I am absolutely barry buzzing to be writing a review of a pole dancing competition again! This has been my first time spectating at a pole competition since March 2020 and shit the bed it felt amazing to be back in that crowd and having my anus blown to smithereens by an array of incredible competitors.

Since its last run in November 2018, the staple in nearly all UK pole dancers diaries that is the UK Professional Pole Championships (UKPPC) returned in November 2021. Having changed ownership since it’s last run in 2018, I was eager to see what format UKPPC 2.0 would take. And boy was two years worth the wait, as UKPPC 2.0 blew my tits off.

This year, obvious changes to previous UKPPCs were a fourth Performer category alongside the standard Instructor, Professional and Elite categories for competitors. I loved the addition of a Performer category, as it made the competition more accessible to those who are not necessarily professional dancers. Also, I believe each of the competitors who won their category and/or a special award (more on those below) won a cash prize of £100! Now, I am in no way ready to enter UKPPC anytime in the next 25 years at least, but if you are then a tidy £100 in the back pocket is a cracking little incentive to compete.

However, my favourite addition to the revamped UKPPC is definitely how increasingly inclusive the competition has become to pole dancing’s strip club roots. For the first time in UKPPC history, dancers were allowed to perform in heels and there was a special award for the Sexiest performance, alongside the other special awards of Best tricks, Most unique, Best choreo and Best entertainer. The judging panel also included current, badass strippers, and rightly so too. Seeing the authentic roots of pole dance being represented and honoured at UKPPC, both on the stage and in the judging panel, is a bloody brilliant step forward for the pole dancing industry. Long make this movement grow and continue!

A big positive to UKPPC 2021 was that the competition ran pretty much completely to schedule. As a seasoned spectator at many a local and national pole dancing competition over the years, having a competition that runs on time is about as rare as Boris Johnson chatting actual sense, so hats off to everyone at UKPPC for making this festive miracle happen! There wasn’t one element of the day that felt like it dragged (as it very occasionally can do at pole competitions) so that was bloody brilliant.

However, one cannot talk about UKPPC and not mentioned the legend of a Compère that was Courtney Jackson. Personally, I am always in awe of compères at pole events, and have nothing but admiration for their confidence, Courtney being no exception. They had the rowdy crowd in the palm of their hand, in fits of laughter throughout the evening and struck a perfect balance of filling the time between performances without waffling on unnecessarily. Mark my words Courtney is one to watch out for in 2022!

The fabulous Courtney Jackson bought the compère game!

Another winner winner olive dinner for UKPPC was the bustling atmosphere that came with the competition. There were plenty of stalls selling everything from pole grips and exercise equipment to pole wear and sparkly heels for both spectators and competitors to treat themselves to. Also, the competition was in a great location, with accommodation, restaurants and bars nearby –  perfect for some post competition partying, which we definitely partook in.

UKPPC 2021 was such a badass day that choosing a highlight from the competition is a tough call. However, there were two moments that literally had me jumping up from my seat with joy –  both from the Professional category. The first being the very talented Pam McGee performing to Slipknot’s Before I Forget. As a metalhead, I have been waiting YEARS for someone to perform to a proper heavy song, so to hear not only Slipknot, but decent era Slipknot blasting from the speakers whilst Pam threw down some gymnastic witchcraft on stage made my metal loving little heart very happy! As for the second moment, well fucking hell’s bells I don’t think anyone in the audience was ready for this. You know you’re in for a treat when the utter sexpot that is Rhiannon White hits the stage, and UKPPC was no exception. Midway through her performance, Rhiannon pulled a motherfucking Death Lay out of the bag. A. Motherfucking. Death. Lay.  For those who haven’t witness one before, a death lay is basically (lol, it’s anything but basic) a no handed Superman laying across the ceiling. Not only did Rhiannon bust out this move at the top of the very tall UKPPC poles without wetting herself (which I think the rest of us if we’re being honest with ourselves would do) but she did it beautifully and effortlessly in heels! The audience erupted and it was like being at a gig hearing everyone scream the house down. Shout out and Pam and Rhiannon, your performances made my night!

Overall UKPPC 2021 was a cracking evening. Watching all the competitors smash it out of the park on that stage was just what I needed to give my pole mojo a much needed kick up the arse. I booked into and actually attended three pole and one stretch class in the week following UKPPC, I honestly cannot remember the last time I attended four studio classes a week in a long time! Kassia Portas, the entire UKPPC organisation team and the fabulous competitors all deserve a massive round of applause for creating such a well-run and inspiring competition. Bring on UKPPC 2022!

X-POLE
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