By Leong Qi Tyng – Contributing Writer
On the 11th of February, the University of Essex hosted the 2017 South East Regional Pole Dance Competition. It was an inter-university competition and the winners would go on to the Nationals to compete. There were four categories to compete in total, namely the Beginners, Intermediates, Advanced and Group. The other eight universities competing were from the University of Kent, University of East Anglia, University of Brighton, University of Essex, University College London, London School of Economics, Imperial College and University of Sussex.
The Herts Pole and Aerial Society competed in all categories with Bahasht Haydari competing in the Beginners, Mark Widdowson in Intermediates and Gina Robinson in Advanced. Competing in the group category were Bryony Dunn, Daryl Cuthbert, Ryan Field and James Trodd. Together, they make the Dream Team and performed to the theme of Ninja Turtles.
Although the event started with sound issues, the hosts managed to keep the atmosphere lively by having interviews from the crowd, picked at random, with questions such as what’s their favourite pole move. Those who answered proceeded to demonstrate the moves on the poles set up on stage. Ayodeji from Imperial College London even went on stage to serenade the crowd to fill up the breaks in between. There were guest performances by two of the three judges as well.
Pole dance is flexible, in the sense that it can be performed in a variety of styles ranging from athletic to sensual. It can also tell a story like a drama or a comedy. The competition was almost like a theatre play because the competitors were decked in costumes and props as well and each performance tells a different story.
Alas, it was announced that Imperial College and the University of Essex would proceed to the Nationals, also winning vouchers to exciting aerial classes with Spin City Aerial Fitness. However, all was not lost when Gina Robinson of the University of Hertfordshire came out first under the Advanced category!
For more information about the society, please visit https://hertfordshire.su/activities/societies/society/8636/