Level Theory - updated Level descriptions and an explanation of how PSO views the levels (effective date Sept 29, 2018)

The intention of Level guidelines is to:

  • Ensure that someone can perform movements safely.
     
  • Compare similarly advanced competitors to each other.

We agree that many people are “on the cusp” of a certain level. We expect there to be overlap between the highest skilled members of a level, and the least skilled members of the level right above. That means that someone could be both a highly skilled Level 2 AND a lower skilled Level 3, and the choice of what level to enter is theirs. The decision to enter a level should first be based on safety, and second, on deciding in what way you’d like to challenge yourself.

Therefore, our definition of sandbagging is someone who goes down two levels from their actual skill level, in order to gain an unfair advantage against others.

The updated complete leveling restrictions are:

  • Level 1 

"I’m a beginner poler who cannot invert, or I’m learning inverts, but cannot yet perform them consistently or cleanly. I’m not an instructor nor a paid performer."

No inverting allowed, and hips must be below the shoulders at all times when the competitor's entire body is on the pole.

Floor only moves, not touching the pole, such as cartwheels, handstands, shoulder rolls, etc. are permitted. No kips, no press to arm only balances (forearm or handstand) with or without the pole. Pirouettes/turns without the pole are limited to one rotation.

May not be teaching pole nor performing pole for compensation within the past 6 months.

May use both spinning and static poles, but is not required to use both.

  • Level 2

"I can invert confidently and cleanly from the ground, but cannot yet perform aerial inverts consistently or cleanly. It’s ok if I’m an instructor or paid performer, but I do not teach inverts in my classes."  

Descending inverts moving down the pole are allowed. 

Aerial inverts and aerial shoulder mounts are not allowed.

In all moves, dancers must maintain three points of contact with the pole while inverted, while the entire body weight is being supported by the pole. Both moves and transitions must adhere to the three points rule. For example, handsprings, a 2 points of contact move while inverted, would not be allowed.

Exceptions to the three points of contact rule: Marley and cross ankle releases are both allowed. Forearm/football grip handsprings/ayeshas are not allowed.

Must use both spinning and static poles.

For any competition after August 1, 2018: if you are an instructor teaching inverts, then you must be in Level 3 or higher. “Teaching” includes teaching at a studio or online or social media.

  • Level 3

"I can invert confidently from the air, but cannot yet hold handsprings consistently or cleanly."

Dancers must maintain three points of contact with the pole while inverted, while the entire body weight is being supported by the pole. Both moves and transitions must adhere to the three points rule. For example, handsprings, a 2 points of contact move while inverted, would not be allowed. 

Exceptions to the three points of contact rule: Marley and cross ankle releases are both allowed. Forearm/football grip handsprings/ayeshas are not allowed.

Must use both spinning and static poles.

For any competition after August 1, 2018: if you are an instructor teaching inverts, then you must be in Level 3 or higher. “Teaching” includes teaching at a studio or online or social media.

  • Level 4

"I can perform moves with 2 points of contact, such as handspring, ayesha, or cocoon. I may only be able to perform a single entrance or exit to my hardest moves."

While this is not a required element, we highly recommend that if you are competing at Level 4 that you can safely execute at least 3 moves with 1-2 points of contact while inverted. 

Release moves (complete release of all contact points) with torso rotation are not allowed. Ex. fonji or half-fonji.

Must use both spinning and static poles.

  • Level 5

"I can perform many 2 points of contact moves, and have many entrances, exits, and combinations of my hardest moves."

Championship Level 5 is the regional division that will advance to the National finals. Those competing in Professional, who also want to do a Dramatic, Entertainment, or Exotic routine, may compete in Level 5. 

While this is not a required element, we highly recommend that if you are competing at Level 5 that you have some previous competition or performance experience.

Must use both spinning and static poles.

Please see notes on age groups - age groups are combined most times.

  • Professional

"I have placed 1st in a regional event and am advancing on to the National finals." 

Professional status is only awarded to those competitors who qualify for Nationals.

Please see notes on age groups - age groups are combined at all times.

Moving up a Level

If your division has 8 or more competitors, and you place 1, 2 or 3, then you will have to move up the following calendar year. (Ex. If you placed 2nd at 2018 Central with 9 competitors, then you should move up a Level for 2019 events).

 

*Big thanks to the many people who contributed to this post and updating our guidelines!

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