2015 Season Updates

Here’s a copy of the handout that we distributed at the Pole Expo, with a few small updates. You can read the complete Rules on the website here, that have been updated for the 2015 season.

GENERAL OVERVIEW OF POLE SPORT ORGANIZATION COMPETITIONS 

We are the largest professional and amateur competition in the world, and the original “inclusive” competition, meaning that anyone who registers is allowed to compete, regardless of age, gender, skill level, or location. No submission videos are required to enter our competitions, all you have to do is sign up!

We have 2 series: the Championship series and the Artistic series. The available events and levels listed below vary between the two series. The winners of the regional Championship Professional events move on to the U.S. National Pole Championships in the Championship Professional categories (men & women separated). The winners of the regional Artistic Professional events move on to the U.S. National Pole Championships in the Artistic Professional category (men & women combined, as the elements of evaluation are gender neutral).

EVENT TYPES

Championship: technical aspects weighed most heavily (ex. Difficulty of moves). Solo performance.

Dramatic: Intended to evoke emotions of sadness, angst, or pain from the audience, artistic elements weighed most heavily (ex. Stage presence, flow, interpretation). Solo performance.

Entertainment: Intended to evoke emotions of happiness, excitement, or laughter from the audience, artistic elements weighed most heavily (ex. Stage presence, flow, interpretation). Solo performance.

Showcase: performance only with no feedback. Solo, doubles or group performance.

Showcase Plus: performance with written comments only from judges. No scores, no placements. Solo, doubles, or group performance.

Doubles/Groups: between 2-6 performers.

Lyra: aerial hoop competition. Solo performance.

SKILL LEVELS

If you placed 1, 2 or 3, in an event that had 6 or more competitors at an event in 2014, you must move up one level for the 2015 season. Otherwise, levels are self-assessed.

Level 1: no inversions, not required to use both poles.

Level 2: inversions from the floor allowed, no aerial inversions, no aerial shoulder mounts. 3 points of contact at all times while inverted on the pole. “Inverted” is defined as hips higher than head.

Level 3: 3 points of contact at all times while inverted.

Level 4: all moves are allowed.

Professional: all moves are allowed, prize money available at the National level. Open to residents of specific U.S. states for the Championship series. Open to all U.S. citizens or residents for the Artistic series. Must compete at a regional event and place in order to move on to Nationals.

AGE GROUP CHANGES FOR 2015:

Age groups are being further divided* as follows:

Youth:  4 – 12 years of age as of February 28, 2015
Teen:  13-19 years of age as of February 28, 2015
Junior:  20-29 years of age as of February 28, 2015
Senior:  30-39 years of age as of February 28, 2015
Masters: 40+ years of age as of February 28, 2015

*Age groups may be combined at PSO’s discretion based upon number of competitors registered.

JUDGING FOR 2015:

Throughout 2014, Pole Sport Organization continued to work refine the computerized judging system based upon feedback from the judges themselves. We also created a Judging Practice Module (“JPM”) beta as an online aid to familiarize judges with the computerized system prior to the training sessions before the competitions. The JPM will be further refined in 2015, and our IT team is completing development of the PSO Judging Certification Program which will allow those interested in judging to utilize an intensive online training system to work become certified to judge each successive level.

INTRODUCTION OF ORDINAL-BASED JUDGING:

After extensive research and study of PSO results as well as systems that have been used in other artistic sports such as ground dance competitions and figure skating, PSO will be reverting to an ordinal-based placement system beginning in February 2015.

From a practical standpoint, the actual judging will not be affected, other than getting rid of the median scoring. Each competitor will still receive a score consisting of numerical scores based on the maximum allowed for each element at that level and a total score. In the past, PSO judges have been taught to use the total score to make sure that each competitors overall placement is where the judge intended it to be. This will remain the same. What will change is how the results are tabulated.

Even with training and the median calculation, because there is necessarily a subjective element to artistic sports, the possibility remains that one judge may be giving scores higher than the average while another may be giving scores lower than the average, yet the placement that each judge gives those same dancers may place them in the exact same order. As an extreme example, at the Professional level, where the maximum score is 100 points, one judge may give scores only in the 80-100 point range, while another may give scores only in the 60-70 range, but both judges may come up with the same order of finish.

Unlike a numerical system, an ordinal system assigns a rank order (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) by which the placements can be sorted but which does not allow for a relative degree of difference between them. Since judges are trained to make sure that the placements of each competitor accurately reflects the order in which each judge has placed their performance for that event, assigning an ordinal more accurately reflects the overall placements by the judges and are less likely to be skewed if the individual scores differ greatly. Competitors will still receive the actual numerical scores from the judges, but only the ordinal-based results will be publicly posted.

For each judge, the computer will assign a point value based upon the number of competitors and the ranking given that competitor compared to the other competitors in that event. For example, in a group of 5competitors, first place would receive 5 points, second place 4 points, third place 3 points, fourth place 2 points and fifth place 1 point for each judge.

Highest and lowest ordinals for each competitor are still dropped from calculating the final marks to ensure that there remains no incentive for a judge to be biased in their placements of the competitors.

Where a judges scores has created a tied placement by that judge, then both competitors receive the higher mark, but then the next placement receives marks as if each competitor had not been tied (Judge 3 and Judge 4 in the example table shown above).

If two or more competitors are still tied, the tie-breaker procedure outlined on the PSO website will still be used to determine final placement.

The totals then will reflect the final placement for each competitor, but will not publicly reflect the allocation of points given to each competitor by each judge. That will be provided to each competitor individually.

Providing final placement by ordinal system will eliminate the need for the median calculation and will provide a more accurate reflection of the judges intention regardless of the whether the judge scored more generously or more stringently. In reviewing results from the last season, generally the final results will not be greatly affected, but it will lessen the potential for human error by a judge. In our continuing quest to provide you with the best possible judging system, we believe that you will appreciate the benefits of using the ordinal system!

PRIZE MONEY

Prize money will be available for the following divisions at 2015 Nationals:

Women’s Championship Professional event top three placements in each Region will automatically be qualified to compete at the Pole Sport Organization 2015 U.S. National Pole Championships (“USNPC”) on August 14-16, 2015, in Redondo Beach, CA, where the winner of the Championship Professional Women’s event will receive a cash prize of FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($5,000.00), second place will receive a cash prize of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($1,000.00), and third place will receive a cash prize of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500.00).

Men’s Championship Professional event top three placements in each Region will automatically be qualified to compete at the Pole Sport Organization 2015 U.S. National Pole Championships (“USNPC”) on August 14-16, 2015, in Redondo Beach, CA, where the winner of the Men’s Championship Professional event will receive a cash prize of TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($2,500.00), second place will receive a cash prize of SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS ($750.00), and third place will receive a cash prize of THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS ($350.00) if 16 or more men compete at the regional level. If 15 or less men compete at the regional level, the winner of the Men’s Championship Professional event will receive a cash prize of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($1,000.00).

Artistic Professional event top placements in each Region will automatically be qualified to compete at the Pole Sport Organization 2015 U.S. National Pole Championships (“USNPC”) on August 14-16, 2015, in Redondo Beach, CA, where the winner of the Artistic Professional event will receive a cash prize of ONE THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($1,500.00), second place will receive a cash prize of SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS ($750.00), and third place will receive a cash prize of THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS ($350.00) if 16 or more dancers. compete at the regional level. If 15 or less dancers compete at the regional level, the winner of the Artistic Professional event will receive a cash prize of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($1,000.00).