If you’ve ever been to a pole showcase or competition, it’s likely you will have seen a pole scrubber or pole cleaner in action. They are the hard-working girls, (and boys!), who take the stage between each act to make sure that the pole is grease and sweat (and sometimes glitter and body paint) free from the previous performer and will also apply grip, if required, for the next performer. Having recently volunteered my services as a pole cleaner for the recent Miss and Mister Pole Scotland I can tell you first-hand how much hard work this seemingly simple job is!
Firstly, I would like to mention that MMPS (Miss and Mister Pole Dance Scotland) is one of the most prestigious competitions in Scotland, as the name suggests. Many competitors, especially winners, go on to compete and win or place in UK-wide competitions. It is organised by Pammie Cameron of Up Yer Pole, which host classes in both Bellshill in Scotland and Essex in England. Pammie not only runs the competition but is also it’s professional photographer! It is an extremely well-run competition and one of the most well-known in Scotland, if not the UK due to its cross-border host and it’s sought after titles of Miss or Mister Pole Dance Scotland. It features some of the biggest names in Scottish pole dance as well as the up and coming performers of the future.
Being that a few of the girls from my local studio were performing, and having attended the event regularly in previous years, I decided to lend a hand as a pole cleaner at this year’s event held in Glasgow at the Classic Grand on Sunday 21st August 2016. Having done a little bit of pole cleaning for our local show and having had taken part in a charity pole climb I thought I knew what to expect so was prepared with trainers to wear (bare feet may look prettier but OUCH by the end of the night!). I was part of a team of four making sure that the duties were spread evenly so none of us would get overly tired or fatigued. We decided to do 10 acts each in pairs and then split the last group so no-one was overworked and everything was going to plan until an unforeseen injury forced us to split the last few performances between three of us.
Now to anyone not associated with pole, pole cleaning might seem like an easy job. In between each act you climb the pole, cloth in hand (or tucked in bra or shorts as I found to be easier), wipe it down, paying special attention to any grip aid, body paint or glitter that may have been left behind by the previous performer. Then climb back up and apply the grip aid of the competitor’s choice if necessary, which it usually with all the heat of the lighting and the condensation off the smoke machine. However, after an hour or so of this every 3-5 minutes your muscles and skin start to get sore and tired. We had the benefit of using X-Clean by X-Pole, which not only cleans grip aid off the pole easily but also smells amazing and leaves the pole super grippy by itself! I would definitely recommend it as a pole cleaner, I personally feel that for home use, there would be no need for extra grip after cleaning with that, it’s that good! By the end of the evening I found that it wasn’t the actual climbing that I was finding difficult, but the holding on in a pole sit for thigh grip to give the pole a proper wipe and apply the grip thoroughly. Despite my preparation by wearing trainers my inner thighs were screaming by the last competitor and let slip a little sigh of relief to when they descended the pole.
In saying that, the benefits well outweighed the downsides as we were seated at the front of the stage with an unobstructed view of each performance and a snazzy ‘Miss Pole Scotland’ strappy top to boot! We had the lovely Tiff Finney introduce us and got to wish each performer luck on their way up and praise on their way back off stage. I also met new pole friends in my fellow scrubbers and we had a great night watching all the acts up close from the front and the side of the stage. I got to cheer on my pole girls close enough for them to hear (although, to be fair, EVERYONE hears me!) and I was proud to be involved in such a professional and well run competition. The icing on the cake was seeing the studio I train at clear up the doubles category in all places and perform their hearts out in some of the others.