Gracing the Big Stage with Gia
In November this year (2019) Sky High's head instructor, Gia, hit the big Miss Pole Dance Australia (MPDA) stage for the third time! Performing on the grand Enmore Theatre stage in Sydney feels like just a pipe dream for many Aussie pole dancers with MPDA seen as the pinnacle of Australian pole competitions. We decided to ask Gia just what competing is like for her and how to take the competition stage by storm.
1. Tell us a bit about your background. Any previous dance/gym/sports history? How long have your being poling and how did it start for you?
I started pole dancing in 2013 when I was 18. I was looking for something new and fun to try and jumped into a pole class. 18-year-old Gia was very skinny with no confidence, strength or body awareness. I had never done any sport or dance prior, and so pole dancing was very new to me. I was always very shy to participate in sport and I hated dancing. I was an incredibly awkward person.
I very quickly fell in love with pole and was taking 3 classes a week for a year before I became an instructor. I credit my steady progress to persistence and regular practice and training.
2. How many competitions have you competed in and what titles have you achieved?
I first competed in the South Australian Pole Championships (SAPC) in 2015, where I placed second in the Amateur Division. I choreographed this piece and made my costume myself. This routine took me to the national Australian Pole Championships 2015, where I won Sponsor’s Choice. Looking back, I am so proud of this routine and am really impressed with myself. I was definitely a baby pole dancer, but I did it all by myself!
In 2016, I competed in the Professional Division of SAPC and I tried to perform and dance in a way that was not true to me. I felt so inauthentic and awkward with this routine.
It was a huge learning curve for me when I completed in Miss Pole Dance South Australia (MPDSA) for the first time in the same year. I loved performing this routine and I felt amazing on stage. Surprisingly, I came 2nd and that took me to the Miss Pole Dance Australia (MPDA) finals in Sydney at the Enmore theatre.
I have since won in MPDSA in 2017 and have represented Sky High Pole and Fitness (my second home) another two times at the Miss Pole Dance Australia finals in 2017 and 2019.
In total, I have competed in 10 state and national competitions with four titles.
Miss Pole Dance Australia 2020 competitor
Miss Pole Dance South Australia 2020 - 1st Runner Up
South Australia Pole Championship 2018 Professional competitor
Miss Pole Dance Australia 2018 competitor
Miss Pole Dance South Australia 2018 - Winner
Miss Pole Dance Australia 2017 competitor
Miss Pole Dance South Australia 2017 - 1st Runner Up
South Australia Pole Championship 2016 Professional competitor
Australian Pole Championship 2015 Amateur Division - Sponsor’s Choice
South Australian Pole Championship 2015 Amateur Division - 2nd Place
3. Which has been your favourite competition you’ve competed in and why?
My favourite competition has been this year’s MPDA 2020 show! Not only did I love my show and music, I walked off that stage feeling so happy. I think it was because I was on stage with Scarlett! I felt completely prepared for this routine—so prepared that I feel I could’ve pushed myself harder. But that just inspires me to do bigger and better in the future.
4. What is your favourite part of the competition process?
Those 4-5 minutes when you’re on stage…it feels magical. It’s so thrilling. My favourite part is definitely the performance. The anxiety, stress, and training in the lead up can be really horrible, but it’s always so worth it.
5. What’s your method for choreographing a killer competition routine?
Put in pole moves and combos that you can do with 100% confidence. You should train your routine to a point where your pole moves feel easy. Put your soul into your dance and practice, practice, practice.
6. Heels or barefoot?
Heels! 8 inch boots for big floor tricks and sandals for slinky dancing that elongates my short legs. But always 8 inches.
7. Tricks or Floorwork?
I choose dance! I dance in a way that makes me feel confident, proud and fluid. Sometimes that means tricks on the pole, sometimes that means rolling around on the floor. But the answer is always dance.
8. What are some tips you think every new competitor should know?
Set yourself realistic goals that push your boundaries.
Practice regularly and incorporate rest into your regime.
Eat healthily and enjoyably.
Seek and listen to feedback.
Be prepared - costume, makeup, training and everything else involved in comps can be very costly. Organise your budget and schedule early so that you are ready for comp day.
Make new friends on comp day and put your heart on the stage!
Interview written by Scarlett Rose and answered by Gia.