What's It Like Being a USPDF Judge?

The 2018 US Pole Dance Championship is well under way!! We're all on the edge of our seats to see who will snag the reigning champ title in the Pro Division tonight! While we anxiously wait, we had a quick chat with our very own Antoine Du Pole, one of the judges this year who has the incredible task of scoring all of the rockstar talent hitting the stage. *grabs popcorn*

Hey Boo! So how many times have you judged USPDF and what's your favorite aspect of it?

I've judged USPDF three times; two at Symphony Space where it's being held this year and one in Connecticut, which was a qualifier. My favorite aspect of being a judge is seeing the diversity in performers, both technically and artistically. 

Right, they're all so unique in style! So how do you make sense of it all; what are the elements the competitors are being scored on? 

It's actually different for each category of the competition (whether they're doing the Novice, Amateur, or Pro) but generally speaking, they're being judged on overall performance, flexibility and extension, technique and timing, difficulty, smooth/unique transitions, and, of course, the compulsory moves. 

So no matter how unique the dancers are, the compulsory moves kind of create a solid baseline, right? Which do you think is most challenging for the Pro Division this year? 

I think the Inside Leg Cocoon and the Twisted Sister are the most challenging moves for the pros. Sometimes it can be hard to fully meet the requirements for the performance. For example, sometimes competitors don't complete a specific number of revolutions around the pole or hold a pose for the pre-determined amount of time required by the compulsory move.

Bahaha true, sometimes it feels like you're holding a pose for forever but it was actually barely 3 seconds.  As a judge, what's one thing that makes you fall in love with a dancer?

I'm looking for a well-rounded performance. For me, it's not about being very technical or very dance-y, but instead a combination of both that creates a whole package and is well presented.  

Okay last thing and we'll let you get back to it! Who is one of your personal pole idols?

A long time ago, there were a few select people that I idolized. But now that pole is more accessible to the public on social media, I find that I'm inspired by pole athletes of all different levels for a bunch of different reasons. There isn't just one thing that makes someone a great pole athlete! 

Awesome, enjoy that front row seat while you're judging! And to the incredible competitors....may the odds be ever in your favor!!!