Posted on 03 May 2016

Competition season is underway, and we’re sure many of you are wondering how to navigate the competition scene. So many categories, so many styles, so many rules… what’s a potential competitor to do? Don’t worry! We’ve devised a handy guide for you to figure out which competition may be right for you depending on your goals and what you hope to achieve. There are several more competitions that can fall into any of the categories outlined, but these are a just a few popular examples.


Brand Ambassador Laurie Cary, performing at PSO Pacific Pole Championships.  Image by Alloy Images.

Artistic pole competitions usually have pieces that tell a story or convey a strong emotion. If you have a lyrical, contemporary, ballet, or other strong dance background and have a knack for making your piece dramatic or emotional, consider this category. You can also consider Artistic Pole if you love to entertain a crowd with a fun, upbeat performance!

Pole Sport Organization Regionals or Nationals (Entertainment or Dramatic Divisions)

  • No video submission necessary

  • Multiple amateur levels

  • Professional Level

  • Entertainment and Dramatic Divisions graded heavily on how well you can tell a story and engage with the crowd

National Aerial Pole Art

  • Video submission required

  • Amateur (Semi-Pro level) and Professional Levels

  • 50% Technique, 50% Artistic

Pole Theatre (Pole Drama or Pole Comedy Divisions)

  • Video Submission Required

  • Amateur (Semi-Pro) and Professional Levels

  • Judged heavily on artistry and flow (Drama) or how well you can entertain and engage the audience (Comedy)


Brand Ambassador Tricia Lauerman, performing at USPDF.  Image by Light & Pole.

If you don’t necessarily have a story to tell, but you have great technique and flow, a pole fitness competition might be right for you. Depending on your skill level, you may have certain rules pertaining to points of contact on the pole (i.e. 3 points of contact only for inverted moves for amateur levels). Overall, you will be judged heavily on your execution and presentation.

Pole Sport Organization Regionals or Nationals (Championship Division)

  • No video submission necessary

  • Multiple amateur levels

  • Professional Level

  • Graded heavily on technique and execution

US Pole Dance Federation Championships

  • Novice, Amateur (Semi-Pro),and Professional Levels

  • Video Submission Required

  • Looking for power, grace, timing, and technique

Pole Championship Series Qualifiers
(PCS Open, Florida Pole Fitness, Colorado Pole Championships, North American Pole Dance Championships)

  • Semi Pro and Professional levels, depending on the competition

  • Judges seek a well-balanced routine of tricks, technique, and flow

  • Video submissions required


Brand Ambassador Crystal Belcher, performing at Paragon.  Image by Pole Ninja.

Do you have Olympic dreams? If so, look into a Pole Sport competition. These competitions usually have complex scoring systems and a code of points similar to gymnastics, which define compulsory moves for each division. Music used for these competitions are typically edited instrumentals with no lyrics.

US Pole Sport Federation Championships

  • Novice, amateur, professional, and elite divisions

  • Elite winners go on to IPSAF finals in Geneva

  • Graded heavily on execution and difficulty of routine

  • Similar to a gymnastics meet


Image by Moments by Keeley.

Sensual dancing, striptease, 7 inch heels… oh my! Sexy Pole competitons are best suited for the sexy-minded individual who wants to let loose and show off their skills without the rules. Depending on the competition, there may be specific guidelines about nudity, but removing an item of clothing is typically okay.

US Pole Dance Federation

(Novice Sexy Division)

  • Must wear a minimum of 6 inch heels

  • Video Submission Required

  • Looking for a sexy, but sophisticated presentation

Pole Theatre

(Classique Division)

  • Video Submission Required

  • Amateur (Semi-Pro) and Professional Levels

  • Competitors required to remove at least one article of clothing

Hedonism II Erotic Pole Dance Championships

  • Must compete in prelims to qualify

  • No full nudity; pasties, g-strings, thongs, merkins allowed.

Miss Pole Dance America

  • Competitors selected through nomination process. Once nominated, video submissions are a requirement.

  • Sexy styles are encouraged and solid technique is a must. Judges look for a complete, well-rounded show.

  • Winner is a finalist for Pole Championship Series

Competing in a pole competition is an unforgettable experience.  The right one is out there for you!  


Kaylee Cruz, also known by her real name Kayra, is an Artista Active Wear Brand Ambassador, and she also helps us manage our online media. Currently residing in Columbus, Georgia, she is a Pole Instructor at The Up Factory, a Junior Athlete and Social Media Manager for Mighty Grip, a writer for Bombshell Pole Magazine, an amateur pole competitor, and an avid volunteer at various pole events.

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