A few weeks ago I competed in Exotic Generation UK 2.0, the reloaded version of the most shambolic pole dance competition on the planet, now taken over by experienced UK organisers. Because Google page rankings are cruel (my old blog post about the “Fyre Festival of pole” still shows up when you Google EG UK) and because the first version was so appalling, I think it’s only fair I dedicate a blog post to the lovely, positive experience Exotic Generation UK 2.0 was.
The First Exotic Generation UK
The first Exotic Generation UK featured an unsafe stage pole set-up that wasn’t communicated to contestants until the day before the competition. A variety of contestants pulled out, while others – including international pole dancers who flew all the way from Japan – performed to avoid making a complete loss out of the experience. “Prizes” ended up being plastic cups. From 56 contestants, the show only had 16 and finished seven hours before planned closing time.
Looking back, the first Exotic Generation UK really was a recipe for disaster. There was almost zero communications between the organisers and contestants for quite a while before the competition. There was no website or email communications as to whether you got in – only some Facebook posts. Announcements were shared (late) via email and Facebook in poorly translated English. In short, it was a fiasco.
Everyone complained. I wrote that blog post venting my frustration and got some nasty comments by some of the people involved with the first EG UK. Some performers were refunded, some weren’t. The organisers – who had also taken over Exotic Generation Italy – were stripped of the rights to hold the competitions again by Exotic Generation founder Tatyana Marsheva.
Exotic Generation UK 2.0
Shortly after the very public fiasco over the summer, it was announced that Stacey Snedden, organiser of competitions like Pole Theatre UK, Dance Filthy UK and Pole Art UK, had taken over the Exotic Generation franchise for the United Kingdom. Stacey promised the initial EG contestants who wanted to perform again that they could do so for free if they hadn’t been refunded.
Which is when the 9th of November came in: that was the date of Exotic Generation UK 2.0, where Stacey run the comp again up to the standard it deserved. Here’s what happened, how I felt about it and what I thought about the show.
My Experience At The Competition
The past year has been weird for me when it comes to performances and competitions. I’ve often felt deep in my own head, worried, unable to wind down. Luckily, the vibe at Exotic Generation 2.0 was so lovely that I didn’t manage to spiral deep into my anxiety.
My pole wife @unicornpower and I arrived together at The Forum in Hatfield at 12 pm, and were immediately greeted by the organisers who got us to sign release forms, introduced us to the prop people, to those responsible for music and lights and to the compere. They then showed us the change rooms, which were an absolute treat: there was more than one room, they were big, had their own kitchen and toilet and we were able to warm up and get ready in a large, welcoming and fun space.
I can only speak of my experience as a New Face competitor, but the majority of the New Face finalists were in our changeroom and we all got along, laughed, listened to music and helped each other chill out before going on stage.
Those responsible for props – including Stacey’s lovely 11-year-old son, who was a professional through and through – set the stage to perfection, even if I had a ridiculous amount of items to prepare. The compere was super entertaining. The poles were cleaned and set to competitors’ requests, the floor was just slidey enough and the stage set-up looked beautiful and professional.
When it comes to my performance, I initially hated it (as I always do) when I went offstage, but then watched the video – which I will add to this blog as soon as I have it – and felt happy with it. I had a mild shoulder injury but decided to compete anyway, and even if I was really over my routine, if I had to drop the handspring I’d added in at the last minute due to the pain and even if I was very nervous, I feel that I did my concept justice on a proper stage with proper organisation.
Importantly, we received personalised, constructive and fair feedback from the judges (unlike last time). Massive shout-out to the amazing Tiff Finney who even came to say hi to all of us in the change room, and to the lovely Mario Turco who always takes the time to expand on his feedback face to face and on social media.
In case you haven’t got it from what I’ve written above, for me, Exotic Generation UK 2.0 was a success. Stacey told me she is going to run it again next year and I really do recommend you apply.
I obviously didn’t win my category but I feel like I was able to bring a concept to a stage and an audience that were important to me, so that makes me feel happy and like I’ve fulfilled my mission for this performance.
I got to watch both the other New Face competitors and the professional categories afterwards and was blown away by the level of artistry and performance so many pole dancers brought to the stage. No wonder they pulled out of the first EG UK: it would have been absolutely impossible to deliver on such intricate, stunning, mind-blowing performance set-ups with the stage we had at the initial competition.
If you’re looking for an entertaining pole show to watch, or for a competition to enter, you can now rest assured that the new Exotic Generation UK is more than up to standards.
Yes, it was a shame that some of the original competitors who deserved their win were not able to “keep it” for longer than a year. But it’s great to know the competition has now been properly taken over and that you can compete on a safe stage.
A massive thank you to Stacey for making this happen again and at this level. Thank you to my pole wife @unicornpower for the never-ending support and for everyone who came to cheer us on. Thank you to the judges for being so kind and helpful. And of course, thanks Tats and Tissels for my personalised nipple tassels!
Congratulations to the amazing winners – more info on them below in Exotic Generation UK’s posts!
View this post on Instagram
HOLY SHIT! That was INCREDIBLE! 🔥 Here are the results: 👑 Winner: @clarestringeraerial Joint runner up: @hldesignsuk Joint runner up: @elly_hh Thank you so much to everyone who joined us this afternoon, we are so glad to have taken this event on and we can't wait to see what the professional have in-store for us.😘
View this post on Instagram
We are absolutely SPEECHLESS right now! 😲What a way to round up the competition calendar! 🔥🔥🔥 Sending huge ❤️ to everyone who have supported us, without you this show wouldn't have happened. Here are the professional results: #Flow: @polerleon #Showgroup: @emma_carouselfitness & @s_mcgeary #Male: @jakub_kolasa #Theatre: @toxiccherryofficial #Hardcore: @rebeccaanna__ #OldSchool:@Laetitiasaquella_poledance We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did and we can't wait to see you again next year. 😘
*All stage pictures are by Fotocad. The backstage ones are iPhone pictures.