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Monday, August 25, 2014

Northern California Pole Presentational Brings All-Inclusive Pole Dancing to the Bay Area

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

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This weekend, the Bay Area witnessed the inaugural Northern California Pole Presentational, a showcase for pole enthusiasts from San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The brainchild of pole dancers Lori Meyers, Amy Bond, and Ellen Lovelace is billed as “a safe place for dancers to share their talent, and develop their pole skills by presenting their unique artistry in a supportive and inspiring environment.”

In other words, (and probably to the disappointment of some) the presentation is decidedly one about fitness, not stripclub-esque erotic dancing.

The NCPP encouraged anyone to participate; male, female, young, old, plus-size, tiny - a true “come as you are” attitude. And the all-inclusive event did feature a diverse group; many races, sizes — even a pregnant woman (who nailed it, by the way). Broken into four categories — beginners, intermediate, advanced, and duo/groups — the showing was judged by a panel of pole experts from all over California, Oregon, and New York. Rather than awarding places or scorecards, each participant was given personal feedback for performance. The goal? Everyone walks away with a few words of advice from some of the best in the biz feeling like winner.

The lack of competitiveness among the performers, as well as the varying degrees in experience, made for casual, friendly atmosphere. Even the shakiest of performers must have felt the support from the audience - made up mostly of boyfriends, teachers, and fellow dancers - in the intimate setting of the San Jose Stage Company’s blackbox-style stage.

Costumes, too, had quite a range. The dancers were wearing anything from basic sports bras to over-the-top glittered creations, although most of the dancers similarly opted to perform barefoot. Now, for those of us who are used to stripclub-style pole dancing, the absence of heel clacking (and the booty jiggling that goes along with it) seemed strange. Sure, it’s a move that probably grew out of stripclub performers trying to get the attention of tipping customers, but even in an event that had nothing to do with making money, it seemed as though a few clacks couldn’t have hurt some of the numbers that felt a bit flat.

In fact, in an event that showcased dancers that see pole more as a sport than full-time job, many of the routines leaned more toward the lyrical dance end of pole than the ass-clapping, money making end. As a result many of the pieces captured a surprising amount of quirky creativity. You think pole dancing can’t have a silly theme? The girls from Pleasanton-based Twirly Girls Pole Fitness would tell you to think again. In their Harry Potter themed piece, along with the majority of the other pieces of the day, the idea of “sexiness” took a backseat to cheeky choreography.

In their first season the Northern California Pole Presentational has managed to put together a group beautiful, comfortable-in-their-own-skin dancers who performed original choreography in cute underthings. What’s not to like?

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Laura Jaye Cramer

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