For the fourth consecutive year, Meredith Burgess, 25, has spent her spring preparing for a performance that draws on all the creative prowess she can muster. She’s been conceptualizing her character, crafting her story, and plotting her intrigue. She’ll perform her acrobatic one-woman show, as she always does, in an elaborate costume of her own making (last year she performed as a Russian astronaut lost in space, slowly becoming stardust, while wearing a black leotard fitted with sewn-in LED lights). Once again, her body will sweep across the stage, bend impossibly, and at times, twirl elegantly while suspended above the ground.

Burgess is preparing for the fifth annual Colorado Pole Championship, an internationally noted competition of athleticism and artistry, which happens to to take place on and around a vertical pole.

If you hadn’t already gathered, there will be no dollar bills offered to the event’s competitors. These are serious artists, or rather, artists/athletes. The competition is open to the public and takes place at the Boulder Theatre on Saturday, May 6.

Meredith Burgess performs at 2016 Colorado Pole Championship.

Having landed in third place for the last three years, Burgess, who’s from Boulder, is trying a new angle this time around, channeling her thoughts and emotion around the charged political climate into dance. Given that the Colorado Pole Championship weights things like originality, creativity, and stage presence heavily (in addition to acrobatic athleticism), she hopes this strategy will help her to move up the podium. “I want to make it something people can feel involved in when they watch,” Burgess says.

If You Go: The Colorado Pole Championship takes place Saturday, May 6; doors open at 7 p.m., the show begins at 8 p.m. Boulder Theatre, 2032 14th Street, Boulder.Tickets are available for $25 at tcketfly.comFind more info here.

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.