Yesterday at US Pole Sport Federation Nationals our very own Sarah took home the GOLD in the Pole Sport Amateur Division. This lady worked HARD. As competition season starts it’s important to think about your goals for competing and if you truly want to win what it may take.

Student Sarah showing her new medal!

Sarah was our first ever competitor at Aerial Dance, she is the founder of the competition team. Her first competition was four (I think) years ago. This time around she started training for the August competition in September, an entire YEAR before. She did versions of this routine at a competition in January, the student showcase in April and a competition in May all preparing for nationals in August.

Since September she has taken 30+ private lessons with instructors at Aerial Dance preparing for the competition. She has taken lessons with Leah, Amanda, Kelly, Chrissy, Kim, and Dan. She has also taken multiple one-on-one coaching sessions with Paula and attend multiple “competition team” events to prepare. Though she started with our basic competition package, she knew she needed to add on to truly get all the knowledge available to her and she made the time and financial commitments to make that happen.

One of the areas Sarah excelled was taking feedback. As a competitor you want to love your routine. You want it to be an expression of you. And your instructors want that too, but they also know what will and won’t win. At Aerial Dance we have a national judge trainer (Paula), two PSO Unicorn (Paula, Olivia) and EIGHT certified judges (Amanda, Sara, Lynn, Kelly, Olivia, Chrissy, Kim, Paula) so we aren’t guessing. We have spent the time researching every competition our students enter to know the judging requirements and figuring out how to excel. Every competition is different so the diversity of having our instructors judge at multiple different competition is extremely helpful to our students. Sarah’s routine pulled from the wealth of Aerial Dance knowledge. When I saw her routine on July 7th I recommended she change her opening static pole passage. She listened and accepted my reasoning, even though she had been working on it a year and wanted to do it. We then worked with Paige to create a totally cool move. Then with Leah to turn that single move into a killer passage. That’s how a good competition community functions, we all work together and contribute for the athlete’s best interest and the athlete trusts that when we suggest a change there is a reason.

Sarah WORKED. She made time. If you don’t know, Sarah is a Veterinary with a private practice, that’s Dr. Sarah with the gold medal. She consistently works 60+ hour weeks. She is also a wife and step-mom who attends baseball games. And a friend who makes time for sushi dates. And somehow within all of that she still prioritized her training. Often I’d hear “I didn’t do enough this week” and I’d gently remind her that she did more this week than she normally would have. She BECAME the woman who balanced her life to make sure she still had time for her priorities and choices. To me this was the biggest win of her competition season. She grew so much as an athlete, as a dancer, and as a women who is choosing her life.

I’m insanely proud of Sarah. She trained for a year to win. She trained for a year to grow. And she won on so many levels.