Lesley AKA Ley Poleguns started her pole journey at NPD as a student then took on the running of the studio. After an amazing 2 and a half years she then moved on to being a mobile instructor teaching a pole schools and gyms including tempestdancestudio, NE33, freelance dance studio, Gateshead leisure centre, Bodyblitz, Big Als, to name a few. During this time she also travelled to teach workshops and train up new instructors with Pole Passion.
As her students base got bigger then the move to open a studio became a inevitability! This brought about the opening of Poleguns & Unit44.
Ley received her two PDC Approved Instructor references from Natasha Payne and Jo Lawton.
Reference from Jo Lawton "Ley is one of the most hard-working instructors I have ever had the privilege to work with and know. Ley is always striving to improve, whether it is her own strength and ability or advancing her classes to get the most out of students. She is adventurous with her creativity and is excellent at choreography of routines and events. In the last year she has taken a lead role at NPD and has made changes to improve the business and expand into new areas, she has clear plans for the future. The feedback she receives is testament to her teaching ability; she is motivational, supportive and leaves students eager to return. There is no doubt that she fully deserves 4 Star Status, Ley sets a high standard at NPD that we all respect and admire."
Reference from Natasha Payne "The most notable Pole virtue of Lesley is her sheer determination to conquer the unknown.
If there's a new move she'll break it down until she gets it, her energy and determination is second to none. Once mastered her students are the first to benefit.
She's not the first in the queue to do a show routine, but has on occasion when coerced! She's modest about her achievements, but I know she gains her own personal satisfaction from them, together with ensuring she helps & progresses others.
I've found her a great help in my progression, as there now probably only 2 pole instructors in Newcastle who are able to help me in what I achieve, Lesley being one of them.
I know Lesley personally has a deep affection for what Pole has done in her life, and will always cherish the opportunities it has given her that she never had before."
PDC AAP graded pole dancer level 1 to 6
(Lesley Jackson was the first person ever to grade successfully in all 6 levels)
PDC 3 star instructor 2012-2014
PDC 4 star instructor 2014-present
Spin City Advanced Instructor
Pole Passion level 1, 2 & 3 instructor
Xpert Instructor Training level 1 and 2
Youth Pole Instructor training with EPIC
Spin City Flexibility Instructor
Spin City Anatomy and Physiology
Diploma in Nutrition
Sports Coach Certificate
Personal Trainer certificate
PETLLS Level 3 edudation and training
Workshops, Courses & Master-classes Attended:
Rebecca Butcher 2012
Anastasia and Evgenys 2012
Zoraya Judd 2012
Dan Rosin 2013
Sarah Scott 2013
Nico Modestine 2013
Zoraya Judd 2013
Heidi Coker 2014
Alex Schukin May 2016
Bendy Kate 2017
Lindsey lithe 2017
Sarah Scott 2017
Tiff Finney 2017
The first ever UK instructors meet 2014
Ley hosted a three day event with instructors from round the country all helping each other and building amazing contacts. Ley has successfully run this event annualy since 2014.
"I'v been teaching for since 2011 now and love it, I started as a helper in the class and as im so crazy about pole I keep going I have gone from helping two nights a week to running a studio with easy 300 plus students working 5 to 6 days sometimes taking as many a 7 classes in a day with up to 19 students in a class."
Student's pole dancing success:
James Burman - 2013 - Peoples choice - Pole Princess.
Sarah Garrity - 2013 - EDP, Edinburgh - 3rd in advanced.
Den Smith - 2013 - EPDC competition - 3rd place.
2013 - EDP, Edinburgh - 1st place advanced freestyle.
2013 - Pole Princess - 3rd place.
2013 - Northumbria’s got talent - 1st place.
Debs Jones - 2013 - Pole Princess - 1st place beginners.
Tarren Token - 2012 - pole to pole- 2nd place intermediate -3rd at the Glasgow heat pole to pole
Sarah Jane Augustine - 2013 - Malaysian studio competition - 1st place Amateur category.
Rachel Britton came 2nd in the University Pole Stars advanced category in 2015.
Newcastle Pole Society won the Inter-University Pole Competition 2016.
Rachel Britton won the University Pole Stars Advanced category in 2016.
Yasmin Awan came 3rd in University Pole Stars Intermediate category 2016.
2017 - Inter-University Pole Dancing Championship - Newcastle Pole Society Overall Winners.
Professional Pole Appearances:
Joint Organiser for Northern Pole Dance Schools Showcase and Pole Princess Competition
Organiser of UK's 1st ever pole instructors networking meeting.
Ley has worked with the following sponsors:
Pole move box
Pole and hoop performance to raise money for British Heart Foundation.
Xmas Show to raise money for Combat Stress Disorder.
Guiness World Record Pole Dance raising money for Northeast Children’s Cancer Research.
Media attention gained:
Male Pole Dance Class featured on Sky TV.
Feature in the Journal discussing Keilder 10K and pole dance.
Take a Break magazine pole dance interview
Sunday Sun Guiness Pole Dance World Record.
Pole Dancing Goals & Aspirations:
"My main goal is to learn as much as I can, as I have 5 year plan to start helping instructors and supporting the industry as much as I can I love pole and feel it dose not get the acknowledgement it deservers."
Ley also received support for her 4 star application from Zoraya Judd and Aimee Lawson who wrote the following:
Aimee said "I actively support the growth and self improvement of my instructors and since becoming my first full time instructor, Ley has progressed from strength the strength. The respect that is shown to her by her students is a measure of how professional and well thought of she is at ‘NPD’. Her tireless work in promoting pole fitness in my studio, has presented pole classes as a viable, fun & alternative fitness regime to people who I have not reached out to before. Ley constantly pushes herself within the industry and hopes in the future to help people in situations similar to herself and enable them to realise their full potential."
Zoraya wrote "I have taught Lesley a few times in my speciality master-classes, she was an excellent listener and picked up all my teachings quickly. Knowing Lesley was an instructor I paid special attention to her when i taught her correct from and technical movements to achieve pole and fitness goals in a safe productive manner I felt confident she is able to help others the way I have helped her."
What is UK Pole Dance Day and how did it start?
• UK Pole Dance Day is a national, annual event held on 1 May that celebrates and promotes understanding of pole dance as a legitimate art form and form of exercise.
• UKPDD is a non-profit event and participation is open to all.
• Founded in 2009 by the Equity Pole Dancers’ Working Party.
• May Day was chosen as the date to encourage a better understanding of pole dance. Traditional maypole dances form part of the May Day celebrations and UKPDD builds on this great tradition.
August 15th-17th, 2014 at the Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E Main St St Charles, IL 60174.
A Pole Dance Community approved event!
North American Elite Women’s Division – $5000 prize!
North American Elite Men’s Division
North American Masters Division
North American Essential Pole Division
Midwest Elite Division
Please contact us by email for information about sponsoring or vendor space at our Midwest Competition.
For more information contact Mary Ellyn Weissman via Info@MidwestPoleDancing.com
Midwest Pole Dancing Website.
Danielle Mayzes McCarthy
Midwest Pole Dancing was launched in August, 2010 when the first regional pole jam was hosted outside of Chicago. In addition to a 3-hour jam, workshops and showcase attended by more than 60 pole dancers, the desire to network and inspire other pole dancers was obvious and became the focus of MWPD for future events and communication.
Midwest Pole Dancing was developed to foster continued networking and establish supportive relationships among schools which will enable growth and a positive image within and outside of our pole dance communities. The website will serve as a resource for events held within the Midwest United States.
in August 2010, Midwest Pole Dancing announced plans for the first professional pole dance competition to be held within the Midwest region. While other smaller competitions had been run, the Midwest competition was the first to use internationally recognized pole judges, to be sanctioned by the Pole Fitness Association, Pole Dance Community and the International Pole Dance and Fitness Association, as well as to use judging standards recognized by both organizations.
Midwest Pole Dancing is the host of pole jams and competitions held within the Midwest United States and is managed by Empowerment Through Exotic Dance, Ltd.
Pole Dance Community interview of Pole Dancing Bloggers Association Board Members:
Founder & Co-President: Valentina D’Amico of Pole Dance Italy, the first Italian Pole Dance Blog. (Pictured bottom right)
Co-President & Editor in Chief: Sheena LaShay of The North Pole. (Pictured left, below left and below right)
Social Media & Communications Director: Lori “Lolorashel” Myers of Confessions of a Twirly Girl.
How did you start pole dancing?
SLY: I started pole dancing at a studio in NY because of an online deal I saw.
VD: It all happened by chance. One of my friends, who was in my city on holiday, showed me a pole dancing video and I immediately wanted to give it a try.
LM: I first heard some girls from S Factor on the radio in San Francisco. I went for one class, but it was too far away to sign up for regular classes. A little over a year later, my friend received an e-mail about a studio opening up closer to my home. My first class at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness was in December 2009 and I haven’t stopped since!
How long have you been pole dancing?
SLY: I started pole dancing in July of 2010. I’m coming up on my 4 year anniversary.
VD: I started in July 2010, as well as Sheena.
LM: I started in December of 2009, so a little over four years.
Why did you decide to set-up pdbloggers?
VD: I opened the group on FB in 2012 because as soon as I opened the blog in Italy, I met many other bloggers, such as Lori and Sheena, and others through Twitter. They truly inspired me and were very helpful and open to collaboration. So I thought why not get in touch with all the other bloggers around the world and collaborate all together. That’s how PDBA was born.
SLY: We privately existed for a year before going public then we evolved. We created a website, a social presence and more. In addition to collaborating with other bloggers, we wanted to use our network to educate and improve the pole industry and produce projects with others outside our industry.
LM: I was asked by Sheena and Valentina to join as a board member. I was extremely honored and excited to be included. Rather than treat each other as competitors, we recognize that our energy is better spent helping each other become better writers and polers. There’s enough room in the world for each of us to blog about our unique perspectives and I love that I have found other people who also believe that.
How many bloggers do you have on the site?
SLY: The more accurate question is, “how many members do we have in our blogger media network?” We have over 150+ bloggers connected in our network with various levels of commitments. What we have is a collective of content creators who partner with brands & companies on any kind of creative campaign…not limited to blogging. It’s also important to note that EVERY member has their own independent website or blog with their own audience and social reach.
What are the benefits of pdbloggers to the wider community?
SLY: The benefit of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association to the wider community of pole is that our organization is helping to develop better content creators. When someone googles a specific topic related to pole dancing, with the help of our network, that person will find a pole blogger with quality content that resonates.
Another benefit of the PDBA is that we are creating standards of business practices. The pole industry is fairly small compared to different industries and we are using our expertise in marketing, branding, communications, negotiations and more to strategize and educate businesses and brands on how to work with content creators.
Lastly, a benefit of our creative agency to the wider community of health, fitness, wellness and those living an active lifestyle is that we provide a collective of bloggers with customized campaigns for content marketing on a scaled level. We have a vetted and diverse network of pole influencers that we tap to amplify the message of a brand in numerous ways. We can produce and manage social media campaigns, blog tours, twitter parties, and live events…such as the launch of a new product. We can provide a brand with relatable bloggers as brand ambassadors that consumers resonate with.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own pole dancing blog?
SLY: My main piece of advice, especially for pole dancing blogs is to really think about branding and messaging. It is time for us as polers to move beyond pink, purple, glittery websites. We need to create better designed sites that still communicate our messaging, even if one of your brand colors is pink! You can promote fitness, dance, sexy, sensual, even eroticism in a way that isn’t assaulting to the viewers gaze.
LM: I feel like you need to think about your long term goals before choosing your platform. I use Blogger. It is a Google product and links well with YouTube, Google+, etc. However, if you would like to incorporate your blog into your website at some point, I understand Wordpress is a better choice. Once you pick your poison, just start writing and let your voice be heard. That being said, be wary of spelling and grammar usage. Although I am often very casual with my written words (as I am fairly casual when speaking and want to make sure “my voice” is coming across in my writing), I cannot stand when blogs contain a lot of spelling and grammatical errors.
VD: Sheena and Lori gave great suggestions. Platform, branding, etc. are really important. I would add that you should always try out new things, enjoy writing and write for yourself first. Put your heart into what you do and be ready to work hard. Sometimes blogging is very difficult.
Do you think the pole dancing industry is still growing?
SLY: If the pole dance industry is not growing that means its dead. So yes, our industry is always growing in numerous ways, every day.
LM: I believe the pole dancing industry is still in its infancy. There are so many directions in which the industry can go, and we are still figuring it all out. I am excited to watch it grow and, hopefully, be part of pole history!
VD: What I’ve learned from all the bloggers in PDBA is that the situation around the world is mostly the same. People don’t know exactly what pole dance is, there are many prejudices but we are definitely growing. We are really part of the history of this sport.
Other Board Members include Nina Reed of Nina Reed and Angela of Ascending Slowly. The Executive Committee includes Jillian of Pole Geek, Michelle of Heart and Pole, Chwenny of Chwennyland and AdAstra of Flexines.
You can find PDBA
N.B. Pantera retired from teaching pole in 2016.
Pantera is without doubt one of the worlds most influential pole dancers. Pantera began her career as an exotic dancer in 1999, this is where she found and fell in love with pole. Pantera went on to work with some of the best dancers, artists and fitness professionals to forge her career as a world class pole dance teacher and performer.
For many polers Pantera was the first person they saw on screen after she released her famous DVD Pole Tricks 101, the DVD featured many of the core syllabus moves we use today such as Gemini, Ayesha and Brass Monkey. The DVD inspired many novice and experienced polers to progress their pole dancing skills. The DVD was also one of the first DVD's to promote the fitness benefits of pole dancing.
Pantera now travels the world offering master-classes and guest performance. You can book Pantera to come to your studio or event by visiting Pantera's Pole World.
During Pantera's career to date she has inspired polers across the globe. Pantera is committed to continuing professional development and she is constantly working in improving both her fitness and nutrition knowledge. Pantera can teach on many levels and she promotes the importance of the dance aspect of the pole as well as the fitness, she likes to use pole dancing to increase the confidence of her students as well as boosting their physical health.
Pantera is not ashamed of her exotic background and she proudly supports the stripper style from which pole dancing evolved, she still recognises that many new polers are purely interested in the fitness side of pole yet she is able to embrace both genres whilst reminding us that the stripper style is still a healthy and important part of the industry.
Pantera has won numerous pole dancing titles and is also an accomplished judge in the world of competitive pole dancing. In 2009 she won best pole tricks award at the Miss Pole Dance World Competition. Despite Pantera's fame she remains down to earth and dedicated to helping polers of all levels improve their skills and continue their love for pole dancing. In addition to pole videos Pantera also posts fitness videos to give polers other exercise they can do to increase their strength and flexibility so that they can apply these abilities to pole.
Pantera's latest exploits include introducing a swinging pole to the aerial toy market. Her new death defying act sees her swinging dangerously from a moving pole whilst performing some of her signature moves and some of her newer tricks and combinations.
To give you an example of Pantera's influence here's a quote from PDC Approved 4 star instructor Amy Butterworth in her first experience of Pantera which sums up the experience that so many new polers had back in the infancy of the pole fitness industry:
"I first heard of Pantera waaaaaay back in early 2006, not long after I got my very first pole (an X-Pole of course), when I was only a beginner pole dancer! My giddy mate came dashing over to my house waving ‘Pole tricks 101′ in her hand, and with the pole set up n’ ready in my living room we had the DVD on in seconds! At first, I was wildly confused. I remember saying: Nah mate, this isn’t quite what we were after; this is more like for circus people!
But of course, like a car wreck….I couldn’t look away! Eyes glued to the screen, dumbstruck expressions and open swung gobs, the three of sat and watched this amazing woman with superhero strength lash herself around the pole with lightening speed and pin-point precision. We were mesmerised as Pantera lay flat on the ceiling and laughed in the face of gravity!
We all went to bed that night, changed for life! How did she do it? Man I didn’t even know half that stuff was even possible! Who is she? Where did she come from? This was a few years ago so if she was that good then…. what will she do next??!! I didn’t know ANYTHING about her. Today, my questions were answered, she invented the ‘Death Lay’, and I can tell you….her name is….. Paaaaaaanterrrrraaaaaaaaa!!! (Read the full interview at the Candy and Chrome website)
The Pole Dance Community is proud to have Pantera as one of it's Pioneers, Pantera is not only a great role model for pole dancers but she is an inspiration to all, she is also a part of the fabric of Pole Dancing history.
Gemma Dear is the principal instructor and proprietor of Pink Ladies Pole Fitness in Essex, UK. Gemma started teaching in 2009 and has been addicted to pole ever since. Gemma received three references for her 4 star application from fellow pole instructors Sophie Logan, Lena Cook and Rachel Perera:
Sophie Logan said "Gemma has provided Colchester and the surrounding areas with a professional and passionate pole studio, which has helped to bring pole fitness to the Essex area. Quality pole dancing schools were not available in the area before Pink Ladies, and now it is a booming business with regular students and overwhelming interest.
Balancing a busy family life (with a recent addition!) alongside her running of Pink Ladies, Gemma's hard work and dedication has allowed Pink Ladies to go from strength to strength over the past few year. Gemma is always looking for ways in which she can provide more to her students, which recently included moving to a brand new studio at a new gym and hosting master classes and photo shoots, she does this because she has a genuine passion for giving back to the students which have helped Pink Ladies become such a success, and because she truly represents what pole dancing is all about. This is why I believe Gemma should be awarded a 4 star instructor status."
Lena Cook said "Gemma is an amazing pole teach, she gave me the pole bug nearly 5 years ago, and I have been poling strong ever since. She has allowed me to make pole my profession which I will always be so grateful for. Pink ladies pole fitness runs in three different venues, Haverhill, Colchester and Sudbury which means we have a huge pole school of around 100 strong regular ladies and a few male students, and still growing.
Gemma has organised many master classes, which has allowed pink ladies student to get some expert pole time. She has also had pink ladies in the press, spreading the good word of pole, and has also helped me run my own pole charity night, which without her wouldn’t have been such a big success."
Gemma is currently taking on the huge project of creating a pink ladies pole dance book for our students and to hopefully be sold worldwide. Finally Gemma has trained six pole instructors who all work alongside me to make pink ladies such a great pole school, Gemma even keeps our training up to date by treating us to regular team training, with staff only master classes. There is no doubt in my mind that Gemma deserves to be a PDC 4 star Instructor, not only is she my teacher, my boss but also a great friend."
Rachel Perera said "Gemma immediately makes you feel comfortable and puts any worries you may have had to rest. Making the transition from one to one sessions to group classes was quite nerve racking for me as level one and two had all been one to one sessions. Gemma made me feel comfortable and introduced me to everyone so that I didn’t feel like a stranger.
Gemma is so enthusiastic about everyone’s successes and sometimes it feels as if she celebrates them as her own. Her support is a real confidence booster and Gemma is always there ready with the words of encouragement.
Through Gemma I had the best introduction to pole and she is a fantastic advocate for the sport."
PDC Approved 4 star instructor
Pole Passion & Burlesque Passion Instructor Trained.
Power Plate Instructor Certification.
First Aid Trained.
Workshops, Courses & Master-classes Attended/Hosted:
Astra Taylor (Hoop & Silks)
Susie Q and Toby J Munson
Jess Leanne Norris
Pole Passion trained Instructor on the 31st May 2009.
Opened Pink Ladies Pole Fitness in August 2009 in Haverhill.
Opened Pink Ladies in Colchester in September 2009. Sudbury in February 20012.
Opened Pink Ladies in Sudbury in February 2012.
Pole Dancing Promotions Involvement:
I promote Pole dancing on my website, Leaflets, facebook, Twitter, posted many video's on Youtube of students and instructors pole performances, Newspaper articles, magazines, T.V and wherever I can. I attend many Pole dancing events to show my support and promote pole dancing as much as possible.
I helped to organise and promote a charity event supporting 'Strong bones children charity' held at Liquid Night club in Colchester on 6th March 2012. Where we also performed a Pole dancing show.
Pink Ladies sponsors Children in need annually, and we hold various charity events for different causes. I am always keen to promote any charity events.
When I first started teaching Pole in Haverhill the 'Haverhill weekly' Newspaper was keen to write a story on me (3rd September 2009). The same for the 'Colcester Gazette' (15th September 2009). The Haverhill Life magazine wrote a full page article in Autumn 2009. The 'Haverhill weekly' Newspaper wrote on 22nd October 2009 about Adam Jay coming to Haverhill (Where Adam in originally from) to teach a master-class for us. 'Full House' magazine got in touch with me to write about pole Fitness and how I first started (10 December 2009). The 'Haverhill Echo' asked to write about me in there success stories page (20th January 2011). The 'Colchester Gazette' wrote about Becca Butcher coming to Colchester to teach a Masterclass for us (17th January 2011) and again they came to take photo's and wrote another article when Becca Butcher was teaching the master-class. (9th February 2011). The 'Colchester Gazette' wrote a full page article on the success of me and Pole fitness. (25th January 2011). Heart Radio gave Pink Ladies Pole Fitness shout outs on the radio for sponsoring 'Strong Bones Children's Charity' in March 2012. The Colchester Gazette has recently contacted me as they are writing an article
All the newspapers have been very supportive and keen to write about Pole.
I was contacted by channel 4, they are doing a documentary on discrimination and the stigma against people with Mental health problems. They asked if they could film us teaching a Burlesque lesson, we were filmed on Wednesday 20th July. The documentary was shown at the end of July 2012. Obviously advertising Pole too with our uniforms on.
Pink Ladies Pole Dance promo video.
AAP Membership Involvement:
Promoting the PDC as much as possible, I am currently putting together a Pole dancing grading book to help students with there PDC gradings. Grading Students. Encouraged all Pink Ladies Instructors to apply for PDC Approved instructors.
Pole Dancing Goals & Aspirations:
I love Pole and it gives me great pleasure to be able to teach others, helping students to gain confidence, keep fit and most of all to have fun and enjoying all aspects of pole. My goals are to continue bettering myself and progress in pole as much as possible as there is always something new and exciting to learn. To expand Pink Ladies Pole Fitness and continue to have a successful Pole school with high standards.
I'd like to set up a Pole dancing activity programme to help women that suffer with depression / Mental illness. I want to help build there confidence, self esteem, something fun that is just for them to make them feel good about themselves. I believe Pole could play a part in this. I am currently doing some research then I plan to contact groups / Organizations that support women like this.
We hold regular Pole Jams, Pole parties inviting other pole schools to join in. We are currently working on putting a pole showcase together for our students and instructors to show in September 2012. I would also like to have a full page on my website explaining about the PDC and encouraging gradings.
I'd already started pole dancing before my relationship unexpectedly ended but when that bombshell hit me and my world fell apart, it was Our Little World of Pole that pulled it back together.
Each week was a struggle to get out of bed to plod on with my life back then. I saw no reason to live, no point in it anymore. My ex had left me for someone else. I wasn't good enough. I was second best.
It was a dark place. But every Sunday there was a light that slowly pulled me out from the clouds and back into the sunshine. People who cared about me, missed me and wanted to see me. Pole was, and still is, a place where I am truly me, I am happy, I am alive and free. The demons of the outside world cannot touch me there, for they cannot climb the walls to see my secret place. I can get lost in the music, and the moves. Feel graceful, beautiful and worth something.
People laugh, share and help one another. It's a meeting of minds and a mutual love of an art form that few truly understand. It becomes our lives and a passion, for the empowerment it gives and the confidence it brings. There are no egos here, no false faces and back stabbing like the harsh outside world. In our little cocoon of pole we are all united in our desire to learn, improve and aspire. Everyone genuinely cares for each other. There's an unsaid feeling of love for each other, everyone feels it, we don't need to speak it, you can sense it in the air and see it behind the smiles and the bright eyes.
It's this happy happy world that kept me going, that brought light back to my eyes and a smile to my lips. People helped me through, strong bonds of friendship have been formed and my life has been changed irrevocably forever. And in such a positive way.
The shadow of my former self is long gone, forgotten. I am stronger, and not just in a physical sense, confident and I know my self worth. I'm a pole dancer. I am pole and pole is me. No man will ever touch that.
Only those in our little pole world will understand it. We all know. It's this knowledge that brings us closer. It's in the little things, the moves we all hate, the ones we love, the silly dances, the music that has us booty shaking, even hoochie pole. The laughter, the fun, the support, the exhilaration. It's in nailing a new move or finally getting a stubborn one. It's the smile on the face of a newbie when they do something they never imagined possible. It's looking back and remembering that used to be me and look how far I've come.
That's why pole dancing saved my life. I'm reminded every week when I walk in that room. I smile to myself and stifle a little tear that wells up in me, when a friend in class hugs me after a two week break and says 'we've missed you.'
That's special that is. That's the magic of Our Little World of Pole. When I'm there I'm genuinely happy. There's no fake smile disguising sadness. I'm where I belong. I'm home.
Article by pole dancing student Claire Tupholme.
The recent influx of gymnasts into the pole dancing world has led to the development of a form of this great art dominated by eye-popping feats of superhuman flexibility and strength. Students are perpetually chasing the latest extreme trick as their heroes continue to push the boundaries on the foundation of a lifetime of gymnastic training. As the UK’s foremost pole dance competition compere, I see the best of the best at close quarters, I see every extraordinary muscle flex and stretch, the determination and culmination of hours of training.
What fascinated me at Miss Pole Dance last October was that the winner, who also won the hearts of the audience, did not perform the most physically demanding routine of the night, nor were her tricks the most jaw-dropping, but what set her apart was her performance skills. Lorna Thomas put her heart and soul into a routine, performed to live music provided by her fiancé, and most crucially, she expressed that with every cell of her being for every second she was on stage. Put simply, her performance said something, and that something resonated through the theatre and won her the competition.
For me, performance skills or the lack of them, are what’s missing from a lot of competitive pole dance these days, and the further along the ‘sport path’ we tread, the less importance seems to be placed on them. This is a real shame; for the viewer, a performer who expresses and connects is always a pleasure to watch and delivers routines that are more than the sum of their parts, more than the tricks, spins, floorwork, strength and flexibility that are in danger of making pole dance as rigid and prescribed as competitive gymnastics.
With this in mind I developed a workshop teaching basic performance skills to pole dancers, using my many years of performance experience, and my training as an actor, dancer, performance and circus artist. As an actor, I had noticed over the years that I approached the pole very differently to a lot of my contemporaries, using it to tell stories and make people laugh. The expressive nature of dance has been slowly squeezed out of competitive pole dance and with this workshop, I wanted to equip students with the tools to say something meaningful with their choreography, costume and props, to present an alternative to a series of difficult tricks accompanied by music and a pretty costume. I’ve run it a few times now and am convinced of the value of the work. Students have all reported that it markedly changed the way they thought about putting routines together and school owners have reported that the impact of the workshop was highly visible at school showcases. I keep the cost of the workshops as low as possible, to make them accessible to all, and I offer a range of options, from a couple of hours through to a whole day, depending on how deeply the group wants to go into the work. The next workshop is at Emily’s Pole Fitness in Swindon on Saturday 15th March and I’m delighted to be there!
If pole is about more than tricks to you, if you fancy exploring a whole different way of approaching a pole dance routine, drop me a line; I’d love to bring ‘Delivering Memorable Performances’ to your school!
For booking enquiries, simply e-mail Glory.
Images courtesy of Sin Bozkurt and John Fox Photography.
Dark, Mysterious, & Beautiful- April Seuyu Hsiung from Black Velvet Pole Studio achieves PDC Approved 3 Star Instructor Status.
One pole dancing class, life was never going to be the same...
One fateful summer afternoon, a friend dragged April to a into pole dancing class...
and it was true love on first sight. Within 3 weeks, she installed a pole at home, and begin the rest of the pole art adventure.
To be good at something, one must be obsessed about it-she begin training at several different studios in the suburb of California...with the most relentless hunger to learn, to progress, to reach the next level.
With lack of suitable pole schools around the Chino Hills, Diamond Bar area for any serious pole artists, April partnered up with friends and founded Black Velvet Pole Studio, the first and only serious pole art school in Chino Hill, bordering, San Bernardino county, Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Riverside County.
Their mission is to provide a non-judging pole playground for the women in the local area to have a place to explore their physical strength and to uncover the inner power that is just waiting to be exploded within every woman.
April Hsiung loves to snowboard, surf, and pole. She loves to introduce her passions to other people. She believes that the challenge of pole dancing sparks something amazing inside of our body and mind...and to learn the next move in pole, gives her this incredible drive in life. April can't wait till the whole world knows the benefits of pole art as fitness classes, and experience the endless possibility of its artistic expressions.
April is a PDC Approved 3 star Pole Instructor, certified by BV & DiscoveriesDance (Approved by PFA, ACE, AFAA), a member of PDC Advancement & Accreditation Program, an authorized PDC Grading Assessor, and a Level 1 Snowboard Instructor certified by PSIA-AAIS. She also holds FirstAid/CPR/AED certification.
As a proud member of PDC's Advancement & Accreditation Program (AAP), April is committed to ongoing training in order to provide the students a safe and loving environment.
About Black Velvet Pole Studio:
Black Velvet Pole Studio currently runs 22 scheduled pole fitness class from Level 1 to Level 4. They truly understand the needs of their students.There are also Sultry Dance, Core Strength, Stretching Class weekly to help student build up flexibility and core strength.
In addition, Level Up Weekend workshops are also offered to members at discount price to help the transition into the next level. No matter you are brand new to pole, or want to get an awesome workout, or you are serious about pole art, April from Black Velvet Pole Studio will make you fall in love with your local pole playground.
To find out more about their pole fitness Class & Schedule, curriculum, Workshops & Free Demo Class, Dancer Certification program, Instructor's Training Program, Instructor Bio.
Black Velvet Facebook Page!
Syllabus DVD-ROM updated for 2014.
The PDC Syllabus DVD-ROM has been updated to include an extra 40 pole moves. The price of the new 2014 DVD-ROM is still £15 + p&p (no change since 2012). If you would like a copy of the new DVD-ROM before Christmas, please place your order as soon as possible. You can order through the PDC online shop or by dropping us an email.
Existing customers and AAP members - Upgrade to the 2014 DVD-ROM Syllabus at 33% discount.
If you already own a 2013 DVD-ROM Syllabus (bought through PDC), or you received yours free with your AAP membership, you can upgrade to the 2014 version at a discounted price of £10 + p&p. Please just drop us an email and we will send you a personal invoice at the discounted rate.
To take advantage of this upgrade offer, you must appear on our records as having already bought the 2013 DVD-ROM or be a current AAP member.
We have around 50 copies of the 2013 Syllabus DVD-ROM still in stock. These items are perfectly functional but do not have the additional moves featured in the 2014 version. First come, first served, if you would like a 2013 version for just £5 +p&p simply drop us an email and we will send you a personal invoice at the discounted rate. Excellent, cheap stocking filler. This offer is open to the public. When they are gone, they are gone. Be quick!
The PDC pole dancing syllabus is an interactive resource for all pole dancers, both students and instructors.
This is NOT a plain DVD, rather it is a flash based program that displays the syllabus on your computer - just as you see it online.
PDC Approved Pole Dance school Dance Inspires is launching its 7th annual 12 HOUR Poleathon!
The number 7 is believed to be a lucky number and the Dance Inspires team aim to pull out all the stops to create the biggest, most successful and luckiest Poleathon to date.
With a new ‘rave’ theme hour, the team of dedicated dancers, which comprise of students and instructors, aim to have fun dancing and dressing up to raise funds all in aid of local Oxfordshire charity, SpecialEffect and the clients that they help.
Picture left from 2013 charity abseil event.
SpecialEffect is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to helping ALL people with disabilities enjoy computer games and other creative interests through cutting edge technology. Their technologies have drastically improved the confidence and overall quality of life of many disadvantaged people.
The Poleathon which will be held on Saturday 7 December 2013 at The Junction, Oxford and will kick off at 9am running for a full 12 hours, finishing triumphantly at 9pm.
Nicola Ghalmi and Adrienne McGurn, owners of Dance Inspires – who earlier in the year abseiled off of the famous John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, in aid of the charity stated (see picture above left);
“We really believe in what SpecialEffects are doing – their work, dedication and successes are clearly evident to see from their videos which highlight the types of disadvantaged people they have helped. This is why they are our chosen charity this year and why we are dedicating the 2013 Poleathon solely to them. We urge and encourage all pole schools, polers and non polers to get involved! Join us for some dancing during the 12 hours or come and support the team… or if you can spare a few pennies you can help by making a donation!!”
The team aim to raise sponsorship for the charity through dancers that participate in the event and through proceeds on the day.
Nick Streeter, Fundraiser for SpecialEffect spoke of the importance of community events to the charity; "SpecialEffect is only a small charity and as such events such as this held in the community are instrumental in helping to raise vital funds to help us help more people with disabilities to have fun and freedom with our expertise, fun and life changing technology. We deeply appreciate the amazing support from Dance Inspires and all the brilliant people involved in the event".
Anyone can get involved in Poleathon by donating online via Just Giving or by visiting or dancing at the event; all you need to do is visit Dance Inspires for further details.