Submitting a Pole Dance Trick for IPSF Approval
Many have tried classifying and defining pole dance tricks as a way to standardize our skills and build a universal language in pole. One organization working to define pole dance tricks and assign them each a value for the purpose of their competitions is IPSF (International Pole Sport Federation).
Soňa Kochová, a pole dancer from the Czech Republic, recently submitted a few tricks to the IPSF that were accepted into the Code of Points. The Code of Points is a manual that states the official moves and their points for an official IPSF competition.
This organization explains in their Code of Points that the “scoring system is broken down into four parts; Technical Presentation Bonus, Technical Presentation Deduction, Artistic and Choreography Presentation, and Compulsory” to determine the winners at competitions. Soňa explained to me, in a recent interview, that the IPSF announced on their Facebook page in January that if you had a move you thought should go into the IPSF Code of Points you should submit it by sending an email with a video or picture of it. So she did.
Not only did her tricks get included, so were Eugenia Tovar’s from Venezuela, Felipe Mendoza’s from Chile, and Polina Syniachenko’s from Slovakia, and I was honored to be able to interview them to ask them about their experience with this process.
The athletes speak about their experience
Soňa Kochová has a webpage in her country where she writes about pole dance. She has articles with videos explaining certain moves and transitions. She sent the IPSF the links to these posts so that they would be considered for the Code of Points. One of them, she says, is partially her own creation. It’s the Apprentice, as she calls it, and it consists of a one handed straddle, inspired by a picture of Yvonne Nguyen.
Sadly, this trick wasn’t accepted, as well as another 46 of them. However, four of them did make the Code of Points! They are: the Helix Spin; Russian Layback; Vortex Spin; and Hand Based Split Spin.
For Soňa this recognition gave her a “fantastic feeling” because she feels that she contributed to this database of moves for other athletes. “It is a really great honor for me”, she says.
From Shooting Star to Vertical Marchenko Split
In Eugenia Tovar’s case, she submitted a move baptized the “Shooting Star.” It was created with the help of fellow pole dancers Jennifer Hernández and Elimaira Sabeh. “Back then I was preparing myself for the South American Pole Championship and while practicing my routine I had an image in my head of a trick I wanted to do. So I asked Jennifer to hold me and between the three of them it emerged”, she says.
To be able to do this trick – which was included with the official name “Vertical Marchenko Split” – you need extreme flexibility. (That’s kind of obvious after looking at the picture, right?) It was awarded 1 point (maximum score) in the IPSF Code of Points. You also need strength, and you can get into it from a number of moves.
Currently, Eugenia lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and teaches pole dance in many studios. It fills her with immense gratitude that the IPSF recognized her effort, as she says. “It’s definitely an honor.”
Product of inspiration
Polina Syniachenko says that while practicing at her studio in Slovakia she was playing around and improvising, and being inspired by music and love. That’s how she came up with the floor balance split. For this move you need flexibility, coordination and balance, according to her.
“I’m very proud that my work is appreciated and that I am part of the history of development of pole activities”, she says, regarding this recognition for the Code of Points from the IPSF. She was born in Ukraine and has won many competition titles, owns a studio and a pole dance clothing brand.
Recognition or not?
I also had the chance to contact Felipe Mendoza, current Senior IPSF male champion who sent in about 16 tricks,he says. Six were included in the Code of Points. As you can see in the image below, some of them we have known for years in the pole world. However submitting to IPSF is not only about sending something that you created but also about including moves that exist but are not in the manual yet.
Felipe says he does not feel this is a recognition for him in the way that it is for the other pole dancers I interviewed regarding this topic. He says this is because it was he who submitted the tricks to the IPSF and not them who contacted him instead. “I feel a recognition is when someone gives value to your effort without having to send anything to be recognized for.” he stated.
For Soňa, Polina and Eugenia it’s a whole different story. Soňa says that she loves “to contribute to the pole dance community all around the world because she wants to inspire others. “I want someone to look at me and say that because of me they didn’t give up!” She believes in the saying that “winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit”.
Pole Dance Venezuela (www.poledancevenezuela.org)