Will you combine my age group?

Will you combine my age group?

This is one of the more common questions that we get. Here’s an outline of how we go through the process of deciding the scheduling of age group divisions.

  1. We look at how many of each category and level have signed up.

  2. We look at how many of each age group have signed up. If there are enough to split out every age group separately, then we will. If not, we will combine age groups with Junior/Senior together and Master/Grand Master together.

Example #1 Sign Ups:

Dramatic Level 2 Junior = 3 competitors

Dramatic Level 2 Senior = 3 competitors

Dramatic Level 2 Master = 3 competitors

Dramatic Level 2 Grand Master = 1 competitor

We would do a division for:

Dramatic Level 2 Junior/Senior = 6 competitors

Dramatic Level 2 Master/Grand Master = 4 competitors

Example #2 Sign Ups:

Exotic Level 3 Junior = 7 competitors

Exotic Level 3 Senior = 6 competitors

Exotic Level 3 Master = 1 competitor

Exotic Level 3 Grand Master = 0 competitors

We would do a division for:

Exotic Level 3 Junior = 7 competitors

Exotic Level 3 Senior = 6 competitors

Exotic Level 3 Master = 1 competitor

Example #3 Sign Ups:

Championship Level 4 Junior = 8 competitors

Championship Level 4 Senior = 1 competitors

Championship Level 4 Master = 1 competitor

Championship Level 4 Grand Master = 1 competitors

We would do a division for:

Championship Level 4 Junior/Senior = 9 competitors

Championship Level 4 Master/Grand Master = 2 competitors

What happens if I don’t like my age grouping?

  1. If you are the only person in your division, like the Master in Example #2, then you can email us right after the competitor list or the schedule comes out and asked to be combined with the other age group so that you’re not alone. If we can easily make this change, we are more than happy to do so. The earlier you ask, the more likely it is that we can help you.

  2. If you are not the only person in your division, everyone has to stay put. In Example #1, one of the Grand Masters couldn’t move into the Junior/Senior division.

  3. You can always opt to do a non-judged Showcase if competing against others just isn’t for you this time.

In summary, we would encourage you not to worry about who you are competing against, and instead focus on creating a routine that is uniquely yours - something that you’re proud to put onstage.

4 Helpful tips when going homemade on competition costumes

A guest blog by Erin Mathew, one of the PSO Unicorns

Competition prep and training can be an incredibly nerve-wracking time for any pole dancer. Despite all the anxiety and physically taxing aspects leading up to a performance, creating a beautiful costume can be a welcome distraction. As someone who has found solace in spending hours gluing rhinestones on a costume for competition, I can say that it is the activity I look forward to the most throughout the whole process. Here are just a few tips to help you get started and provide inspiration.

Tip 1 - If you are not an experienced seamstress, find the perfect base to your costume.

The best place to start off is to find a pole outfit that fits you perfectly with minimal chance of a wardrobe malfunctions. If you have a preferred brand of pole wear where the sizing is consistent with what fits best for your body, you can choose a solid color to use as a blank canvas for your imagination.  It’s amazing what you can do with a plain pair of shorts. Just be sure to use a seam ripper to remove any logos.

Here’s an example of a plain black bra from PSO that you can embellish.

Tip 2 - If it fits your theme, there are lots of ways to add sparkle and detail

1. Rhinestones

Have you ever seen a costume during a performance that just dazzles with the dancer’s every movement? It’s likely because it is covered in rhinestones. Rhinestones come in a whole spectrum of sizes shapes and colors. The clear rhinestones reflect the most light and therefore will be the most radiant on stage. I have tried using black rhinestones and unfortunately, they weren’t as noticeable on stage as they were up close. This is common for a lot of the darker colors. If you order yours online, I recommend purchasing a smaller quantity first to test them out, because the shade of the color can be vastly different in person than in a photo. When it comes to securing the rhinestones to your costume base, a great product to use is E6000 glue. Regular fabric glue isn’t likely to work long term.

Here’s an example of some of the colored rhinestones that you can get.

2. Sequins

Using rhinestones can get pricey, so sequins are another way to add some shine. Just be aware that sequins can itch depending on where you put them on your costume.  

3. Appliques and lace

Want to add appliques instead of sparkle? Like rhinestones, these can also be pricey. One way to get details on your costume without dropping a ton of money on detailing is to find an inexpensive piece of lace and cut out the details you want. Try going to thrift stores and finding formal wear with a lot of embellishments if possible.

Tip 3 - Make sure your costume provides enough skin exposure to safely execute skills


Here are 2 crop tops that I made for my past routines.

If there is one thing I have learned from making costumes for my routines, it’s that you can make a themed crop top for almost anything. There have been 2 times that I have had to portray characters that would normally be fully clothed. I made alterations by having recognizable elements of the character on costumes with less coverage. For example, I made a “Vote for Pedro” crop top for my Napoleon Dynamite costume, and a suit and tie crop top for my Men in Black routine. If you’re executing a lot of tricks involving grip in your hip pocket or thighs, be careful of costumes with skirts as they can easily cause slippage. Consider adding a gathered ruffle or making the skirt detachable instead. (See the next tip for detachable costume pieces)

Tip 4 - If you have a detachable piece to your costume, make sure it detaches easily and quickly

There is nothing more frustrating than doing a costume change during your routine and noticeably fumbling. Fasteners like zippers can get jammed, and buttons can sometimes give the appearance of fumbling while trying to remove an article of clothing. I once replaced a zipper on a skirt with Velcro for a costume and it made the change much more swiftly. I have even heard of other competitors using magnetic buttons to easily undo a shirt.

Don’t forget to register any article of clothing that comes off your body as a prop to avoid a deduction!

In summary

Costumes are not everything when it comes to creating the perfect routine, but they can really add to the mood of a performance. If you are a frequent competitor, you know better than anyone how pricey it can get with the cost of travel, registration fees and training. Making your own costume is a fun way to save a little money, and provide a release and creative outlet amid the stress and anticipation of performing.

5 not-so-hot distractions when watching performances - the fixes are SO easy!

 An Atlantic competitor showing us the perfect way to take a bow!

An Atlantic competitor showing us the perfect way to take a bow!

5 not-so-hot distractions when watching performances - the fixes are SO easy!

  1. Something on your wrist - I’m watching the whole performance trying to figure out what it is instead of enjoying your routine! Take off your competitor bracelet or hair ties from around your wrist. They show up in photos and it looks like you forgot about them.

  2. Dirty feet - Even if you have beautifully pointed toes, dirty feet are just yuck! Yes, it’s always dirty in the theaters, so walk around and warm up in flip flops or socks. Use a baby wipe or give your feet a quick wash in the sink before you go onstage.

  3. The tags are sticking out - So. Many. Tags. It’s not a rule, but it makes you look much more professional as a performer if there isn’t anything flapping around. There are tags EVERYWHERE so look for them all. On the bottom of your Pleasers, shorts, bra or top, kneepads...just cut them off.

  4. Not bowing before you leave the stage - There’s an entire roomful of people cheering for you at the end of your routine, so please acknowledge us! Even if you’re disappointed or have the biggest wedgie of all time, just take a second and bow to say “thanks” to us.

  5. Speaking of wedgies, don’t pick your wedgie. Alloy Images is filming every second of your routine from the time you walk on stage to the time you leave the stage. If you pick it, it will be immortalized on video.

I recently posted a video of myself on Instagram and realized that I made almost every one of these mistakes, so don’t worry, even the pros do it ;)

What are the tie breakers?

If you see an * on the division results posted on our website, on Facebook, and at the event, those placements were decided by a tie breaker! 

How is the tie breaker calculated?

For Technical events (Championship, Doubles/Groups, and Professional) 

Judge 1 individual moves + Judge 2 individual moves + Judge 3 individual moves, and the highest score wins

For Artistic categories (Dramatic, Entertainment, Exotic, and Floorwork & Low Flow)

Judge 1 stage presence + Judge 2 stage presence + Judge 3 stage presence, and the highest score wins

How would I have known that in advance?

Our Rules page includes the tie breaker information, mostly on the link General Judging Procedure. 

Judge Selection and Studio Affiliations

The 3 judge panel allows PSO to make sure that judges are scheduled only for the levels that they are qualified for. We also do not schedule a judge from a particular studio if that studio has competitors in a division. For example, if Amy is a teacher at BeSpun, we would not schedule her for divisions that have BeSpun competitors.

The exceptions are:

1. In advance - We have individually verified that the judge has not worked with the competitor on their routine. Some examples would be if a competitor has recently changed studios, if the studio has multiple locations and the judge only teaches at one, or if the judge only teaches certain classes, and the competitor does not attend those classes.

2. At the event - Every so often we make changes on site to the judging panels. For example, a judge could be late and someone needs to step in to cover, the event is running ahead/behind schedule and the judge is not available at the new time, or the judge wrangler learns that a judge is not a good selection for the current panel.