Vertical Pole Challenge
Vertical Pole Challenge, a brand-new pole dance reality show is about to hit the airwaves. Perry, the show’s Executive Producer, is here to give you the scoop on everything from the judging criteria to who can be a contestant!
How did you come up with the idea for a reality show based on pole dancing? Are any of the show’s creators pole dancers?
A friend of mine was selling a limousine bus that has a pole in it. So I googled some information to see what this bus was worth and then I came across several websites that had professional pole dancers, such as Jenyne, Felix, and others. I was captivated by the beauty of the sport.
From what I know, it’s not really known as common place that pole dancing is as sensual, graceful as it is. Really, in the eyes of the public, it’s known as something from the exotic world. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are two sides to this sport. That gave me an idea that we could show both sides.
No, none of the show’s creators are pole dancers. But, that’s not a problem because, when Robert Redford did The Natural, it wasn’t sanctioned by Major League Baseball, but the actor and executive producers spent time in baseball camps to understand the sport. Same thing with Cameron Diaz in Any Given Sunday, with Al Pacino. They spent time with the National Football League.
Give us the scoop! Who can compete in Vertical Pole Challenge? What are the criteria? What do the winners get?
Who can compete is very interesting because, if I was doing a show on tennis, I could say people that are ranked at a 6.0 or less can compete in this novice-style reality show. If I was doing a reality show on martial arts, I could say brown belts or less could compete but black belts could not compete.
What’s really hard, then, is that this sport is in its infantile stages, in my opinion. An example, a lot of the same moves have different names, based upon different studios and geographical areas. We’re really working that out as we go. There seem to be a small handful of top brass professionals and gurus and we want those dancers to be involved – as judges and also doing exhibitions. If you were paid in the sport, then you are professional, but a lot of people are student teachers, and are doing it part time and are not masters of the sport themselves. So we are really, truly working through that.
The intent of the show is to have two levels. The novice should compete for the prize money and the professionals will have their own challenge at the end.
Update: You do not have to be an American citizen to enter, and there are plans for an international version.
We have three judges from different categories. One judge is a celebrity, which makes it interesting for television. One will be from the studio arena, an owner/instructor. And one will be from the exotic dance world.
The novice competition is the actual show. There will be three winners per episode. At the end of twelve episodes, all of the three finalists from each will compete for the prize money. At the end of each episode, the prizes are $2500 for first place, $1500 for second place, and $1000 for third place. The beauty of it is that, in each episode, we’ll only have around 20-25 contestants – men and women pole dancers are welcome to participate – so the chances of winning are pretty good, percentage-wise.
We have twelve episodes, three winners per episode, so that’s 36 winners that will compete. They will stay in The Palms penthouse, a 10,000 square foot penthouse, so it will be a fun experience for the contestants – they’ll have poles, a bowling alley, a pool.
I understand one of the judges will be a celebrity. Will she (he?) also be a pole dancer?
Not always, no. The judging will be based on a criteria sheet. All the judges will be basing their decisions on a 10-category score system, which was created by the pole dancing industry. We selected input from several studios as to what they thought were the main categories that these contestants should be judged on.
The 10-categories are: strength, flexibility, horizontal maneuvers, smooth-flow transitions, foot positioning, originality, sensuality, stage performance, balance, and inversion maneuvers.
There are a lot of different varieties of pole dancing out there, from pure athleticism to sexy-as-hell. What styles are welcome to participate?
All are welcome. And, of course, they’re being judged on certain criteria. If the contestants wanted to try to base their dance on just 100% sex appeal, they’re not going to score well in the other categories. Same thing if they do just athletic moves – they aren’t going to score well in sensuality. We think it’s a pretty fair balance across the board.
Are there rules about costumes and footwear?
We know that if a person wanted to wear boots, then they have an advantage for a leg hold. But if they have short legs and they’re wearing boots, they could lose points in appearance. So we don’t have criteria for footwear – you can be wearing high heels or barefoot.
As far as their outfits, this is a television show, so tiny shorts are okay, bikini tops are okay, but, obviously, g-strings and pasties are not acceptable for TV. In fact, if a contestant has an outfit malfunction that results in exposing T&A, then they are automatically disqualified.
Will you be setting little traps or playing any games to heighten the drama?
No, we will not. We really want to demonstrate how beautiful this sport is, because we have teachers, we have attorneys, we have people from all walks of life. So, no, that is not the premise of the show.
On what channel can home viewers watch the show?
We will announce that no later than December. Right now, we are negotiating with approximately five networks and we are doing something a little different, because we are our own production company and we will retain control of the project. If we don’t, we really feel it will become about 180 degrees different from what I’m saying we want.
We want to have three episodes filmed and edited and ready for television first, and then we will make that final decision. All those networks are invited and it’s really our decision which network we decide upon.
We really feel it will be a mainstream show and have as much appeal to women as to men. So, we don’t want it to be on a 100% man-rated television network. We feel that this is a show that men and women will want to watch, even together. Pole dancing as an exercise is really mainstream, so we really think that we’re going to have as many women watching as we are men.
Anything else you’d like to share:
I have been, in some cases, the only male invited to watch classes, and, in a few cases, they actually have performed for me. I was amazed how comfortable the women were and, when I spoke to some of the students after class, some of their personalities were so different than while performing. I really do feel that this sport and exercise can help with self-confidence, which is power! Also, as we all get older, strength and flexibility are very important.