My first experience competing was in 2012 at the first Florida Pole Fitness Championship. It was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I was mostly self taught, barely been poling for 6 months and performing basic moves. I was coming back from injuries sustained over the years from multiple car accidents. But due to encouraging words from a few friends I decided to audition and give it a go.I lost my fiance, dad , mother, loyal wolf and two cats. I was trying just to get through each day. That year had been another extremely difficult year as my oldest kitty was diagnosed with kidney failure. I had to nurse him at home and do kitty hospice days before the competition. It brought up the heartache from early loved ones lost. I lost my drive to compete and did not see how I could continue on . This was supposed to be my comeback to the dance world. I knew my parents would want me dancing once again. I couldn’t give up.

So off to Orlando I went. In my teal sparkly Mika Yoga Wear costume I danced a ballet lyrical piece to 80’s song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper. My mother and I had a connection with Rainbows and that specific piece of music.. While warming up I heard the other competitors high energy music. Dupstep pounded throughout the theater walls. The other dancers were incredibly strong and more advanced. This made me get a little nervous and worried I did not belong there. I almost backed out. But, I had my best friends supporting and cheering me on. I had gone this far. I could not stop now. I was doing this for me and my parents.

I walked out onto the stage and that moment I knew I was not alone. The love from my angels above, friends and audience surrounded me. I smiled from ear to ear. The celebrity judges were so giving and their performances were breathtaking. During that moment I knew I wanted competitions to be a part of my life.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and it has been a battle. It has taken me over a year and a half to find out what my body can handle. I thought the days of competing would be over . But, luckily due to some of the guidelines changing in competitions I was able to be a part of two this year.

My third and most recent competition took place in Orlando, Florida The Southeast Aerial Art Competition with Pole Sport Organization and Allison Sipes. I was able to have one of my students Nikki Celso join and be my support team. It would be a weekend adventure. Friday we started out at a local pole studio where I would have the opportunity to practice my piece. I wanted to enjoy the weekend not be nervous and get caught up in my head.

After we had an amazing Tai dinner. At the Tai restaurant there were many elephants surrounding us. Elephants were another symbol I had connected with my mother. I have elephant statues all over my home and had dreamt all week of elephants.

Later that evening I was representing Pole World News and we attended the showcase. I was

inspired and moved by all the talent. I could not wait to get to the stage and compete the next day. I was excited to be a part of an event that would add to the Pole Industry.

On the way to the competition we saw a rainbow. Things came full circle and once again I knew my parents spirits were with me. I thought of how far I have come. I began to prepare myself mentally and physically for the event. It would be a long day ahead. I ran into old pole friends and made new ones. After warming up, I applied my makeup and beautiful custom made Electric Laundry costume. Since there were no other mature (over 40) competitors in my division I was placed in a younger division. I would be in the Dramatic Senior Level 3 Division. The perfect level for what my body can handle.

I was nervous and excited as the adrenaline was rushing through me. I was lucky enough to be one of the first divisions to perform. The minute I walked onto the stage it was surreal. I felt my parents watching over me from heaven. The audience was full of energy, love and truly happy to be there. I was at peace and felt at home on the stage. I took a deep breath and gave into the moment. Muscle memory took over, I danced from my heart out and gave a piece of my soul to everyone in the room. I smiled the entire time, grateful to god that I was dancing once again. The moment flew by and before you know it, I was done.

The rest of the day I was fortunate to cheer the others on as they competed. I was amazed to be amongst such incredibly talented individuals. As the awards were given out all I could think of was how amazing this weekend was. The love and respect for one another in the room was touching.

My division was called I could not believe my ears. I had won first place and received the gold medal of my division. It was such a humble and blessed experience. I did not want it to end. The weekend had come to an end. So, we packed our bags and headed back home. I am now left looking forward to the next competition!

Competitions are not just about the destination… It is also about THE JOURNEY…….. Competing can be very rewarding and an incredible experience.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of competing!

Eat healthy.


It is important to train safe and effectively.


Make sure to practice your routine as much as possible.


It is also just as important to listen to your body. Take days off, get plenty of sleep and splurge on some “sinful” food every now and then. After all you deserve it !


Not everyone will like your performance and that is fine. Everyone has different tastes. Do not take it personal.


If you make a mistake or forget your dance keep going. Persevere!


It is great to be inspired by others but find your own voice. Be you!


Do not get caught up in having to win a medal. Winning is not always about gaining a material possession. True, it is fabulous to win and rewarding to see your hard work has paid off but, there is so much more to gain out of competing. Reuniting with old and meeting new pole friends from all over the world, being pushed as an athlete and artist, creating something personal & sharing your hard work, performing on the big stage, inspiring others,being part of an incredible industry that is forever growing & changing, and creating a lifetime memory.


Remember the audience is there to support you, they want to see you do well.
Dance from your heart. Give yourself freely to the moment and share a part of your soul.

Life is short, remember to take a nice deep breath. Inhale positivity and exhale the negative. Enjoy each moment and make the most out of them.

You can find more on Jacqueline Valdez below:

Jacqueline Valdez -Creator of premier online dance and fitness site Celebrity dancer, model, author and fitness guru. Gainesville’s #1 Pilates, Zumba event leader & small women’s studio Elegant Body Pilates. Brand ambassador for Mika Yoga Wear, representative for Pole World News, Electric Laundry Girl and Sheen Magazine. Made worldwide dance news with novel opera-pole-ballet Infusion Remax. Creator of fitness classes Vertical Arabesque TM and Cardio A Go- Go TM .

Jacqueline Valdez placed first winning the gold medal in the 2014 Southeast Aerial Art Championships Dramatic SL3 division with Pole Sport Organization and Allison Sipes.
You can see her winning piece below: Images by Alloy