Dear SUSU Trustee Board
We have considered your response and taken feedback from our membership and wider pole community. We conclude that one of the following three courses of action must take place:
As a membership organisation, responding to our members wishes, we are rightfully tasked with ensuring that one of the above options takes place. Please be assured of our resolve in this regard.
Pole Dance Community
Swansea Pole Fitness society has been operating successfully under the watchful eye of PDC Approved 4 star pole dancing instructor Dawn Roberts. Dawn is the principal instructor and proprietor of Circadian fitness and classes are held in her stunning Swansea venue _ see picture left.Despite a successful track record and having classes attended by both men and women board members of the Swansea University Students Union have voted unanimously to ban the club.
Here is the response from SUSU board. We would like to invite you to comment on this letter so we can send SUSU a response on behalf of the Pole Dance Community.
SUSU TRUSTEE BOARD RESPONSE
RE: POLE FITNESS SOCIETY
On September 12th 2013, a Swansea University Students’ Union Trustee Meeting was held. As part of the Agenda, a list of proposed Societies for the academic year 2013-2014 was presented. These were looked at in succession and a decision made on whether or not to accept each one.
The criteria used on which to base this decision was; whether the Society had applied in time and filled in all the required paperwork; whether the Society’s aims, objectives and activities met the Union’s aims and objectives; whether or not the Society was acting legally and whether or not the Society was in the best interests of the university’s students.
The Pole Fitness Society was discussed in turn and at this point a paper was presented by one of the Trustees who believed that the Society did not meet the criteria needed to be accepted. It was this paper that was the basis of the long discussion that took place. The following is the outcome of that discussion and the reason why the Pole Fitness Society was refused acceptance as an official Students’ Union Society.
The Trustees believe that ‘pole fitness’ classes are increasingly marketed as an empowering way for young women to keep fit and regain control of their lives. This is especially true on university campuses. We asked ourselves however, is it empowering to gain fitness in a way that is inextricably linked to the multi million pound sex industry?
Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing. Can we separate ‘pole fitness’ from ‘pole dancing’? We believe that you cannot, because whatever you name it, pole ‘fitness’ or pole ‘dancing’, you are still participating in the social context of what the pole represents. Everyone knows where it comes from, that pole dancers are to be found in strip clubs and sex establishments and that pole dancing is a dance form specifically designed to sexually excite the watcher. Pole dancers are almost always women, and watchers almost always men.
Although ‘pole fitness’ is sold as an empowering activity, we believe that women have been deceived into thinking this is a way of taking charge of their sexuality and their own decisions. Moreover we believe that it is just a further debasement of our culture and another sign of a creeping backlash against women’s true empowerment and a show of misogyny.
We believe that this is linked to the rise of ‘Raunch Culture’ in our society and our ever increasing pornified world where women are increasingly being portrayed and treated as objects for sexual enjoyment. This not only normalises the practice of ‘pole fitness’ but encourages and hoodwinks young girls and women into accepting and embracing this behaviour.
Even if individual women can separate pole fitness and pole dancing in their own minds, we believe that once context and politics are taken into account they are inextricably linked. Women as a class are detrimentally affected by activities such as ‘pole fitness’ which upholds and bolsters sexist attitudes and behaviours. What is useful about pole fitness – to the sex industry at least – is its association to pole dancing and lap dancing. Whereas we are not saying that anyone who attends pole fitness classes are training to move into pole dancing or lap dancing, what we are saying is that it is normalising the practice to the wider group of young women and girls who see work in the sex industry as a viable option.
As a Student’s Union, we should not be deaf to the very real issue of ‘pole fitness’ playing a part in upholding this Raunch Culture and objectification of women and girls and the impact of this on our female students. We have achieved some outstanding work on gender equality, notably by banning the sales of Lad’s Mags in the Union, the banning of sexist advertisements and the Zero Tolerance Campaign. We believe that allowing the Pole Fitness Society would not be in line with our gender equality work.
Female students have gender equality legislation behind them in allowing them a student experience free from inequality, sexual oppression and objectification.
Swansea City Council has recently passed a ‘Nil Policy’ for the establishment of Sex Entertainment Venues in the City, and Welsh Government has a ‘Right to Be Safe’ Policy which outlines its strategy for ending Violence against Women and Girls. Pole dancing and the sex industry is a part of that and are seen as a form of violence against women.
Evidence also shows that young women aged 16-24 are the group of women who experience the most domestic and sexual violence. This is the age of a large group of our female students. We believe that activities such as ‘pole fitness’ contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable.
The decision of the Trustee Board was unanimous in refusing the Pole Fitness Society official Students’ Union status.
To comment on this letter please e-mail us. We will be sharing your responses with former members of the Pole Fitness Society and liaising with other university pole clubs and societies.
Please see our original response to SUSU which to date they have declined to comment on. We felt the lack of response meant we had no choice but to air this publicly.
RE: Swansea University Pole Fitness Society
Dear Ceinwen Cloney,
I am writing on behalf of the Pole Dance Community, we are the largest advisory body to the fitness pole dancing industry and we require our members to abide by a strict code of conduct. We would like to respond on behalf of our members to your letter sent to Swansea Pole Fitness Society (SPFS) earlier this week. Please see the response to individual aspects of your letter below:
"Following on from the meeting of the Trustees Board last week, I am writing to inform you that the Trustees have decided not recognise and approve Pole Fitness as a Students' Union Society. The Trustees considered all of the society registrations and determined that Pole Fitness was not in line with what their expectations of what a Union Society should promote as an activity. It is believed that Pole Fitness does not promote full gender equality and the empowerment of women students through its promoting and upholding of a sexist unequal society."
We would like to question why you think the society does not promote gender equality when the group takes on both male and female members and is clear in its promotion. We also noticed you have a cheer-leading society which is still active which only takes on female members.
Also you state that the pole dancing society does not promote empowerment of women and is upholding of a sexist society, I feel you need to elaborate on these points and explain exactly how you feel the society does this. I have checked the society's details and they clearly promote pole fitness and not lap dancing or similar activities which you may have confused them with. I must draw your attention to the following slogans/statements used to promote SPFS:
Pole fitness is a fun and alternative way to improve strength, balance, flexibility and a great way to increase your confidence!
These classes are purely for fitness, there will be aches and bruising (its worth it!) and clothing is shorts and t-shirts.
This decision will mean that you are unable to attend Freshers' Fayre or receive any further support or recognition from the Union.
We feel that until you can answer the points raised above then your decision to prevent the existence of the SPFS is deeply unfair on this hard-working society who are using pole fitness (a blend of dance and gymnastics) to increase the physical and mental health of its members.
We would also like to point out that the society classes are run by and overseen by one of our PDC Approved 4 star pole instructors Dawn Roberts. Dawn has an impressive CV and has been an active member with us for several years. Dawn abides by our strict code of conduct which I have pasted below this letter for your perusal*.
Please be aware that your decision is very different to that of Plymouth University who have given their pole society sports club status in recognition of their hard work and that of Essex, Bristol and Newcastle universities who have worked with us to promote the inter-university pole dancing competition held annually at the aforementioned establishments.
if you would like to respond to this before we share your original letter with our members and their students then that would be great as this issue is extremely important to them. We are also happy to take this to a higher level as we feel your actions are against equal opportunities and that you are merely discriminating against a society on the basis of ignorance and misplaced stereotypes.
Sam Remmer on behalf of the PDC Team
* Codes of Conduct.
In June 2013, at Hotel De Vie , the very first Stripper Style show was hosted by Jolene Whiting of Purity Pole Dance. It went so well that Tess Taylor, Jamie Taylor, Jolene, Lisa Williams and Robyn Rooke all decided to take the show on tour to show as many people as possible what kind of show Stripper Style pole dancing can offer.
The show consists of two sets from each performer of no holds barred, sensual and authentic pole dance. Free of the usual wardrobe, music and dance move restrictions you find at pole dance competitions and events. You will see the kind of pole dancing these performers have always wanted to do publicly but have not truly been allowed to as yet. But now these ladies are making their own rules.
The term `Stripper Style` was flippantly coined by Jamie Taylor several years ago and is also the name of her private face book group.
Jamie says “We all love stripper style pole dance as it’s one of the most purposeful art forms of obvious feminine sexuality. The combination of assertive, lascivious dance, mixed with very strong tricks and spins, plus physical flexibility that’s used in way that suggests a strong mind as well as a strong body. Each stripper style performance unveils the truth that these days, sexually confident women are super healthy, super strong, super flexi and most of all, pretty unattainable. As we pole dance provocatively firstly for ourselves and secondly as a celebration of all the above with and for other women. Men are very welcome to the show too of course…if they can handle it.”
As for the No Nudity clause of all the Stripper Style on Tour show, Jamie says “ As this is our show, we all work together very closely and all feel the same way about what this show is, we get to wear what we want- which is usually very little indeed. I don’t think `getting the boobs out` would bother any of us, but we don’t think its necessary. Apart from the unwanted messiness of the legalities we would have to go through at each venue, we don’t think it would add anything to the message this show is trying convey. Our performances are so damn unique and provocative, we simply don’t need to.”
Stripper Style on Tour will next be hosted by Defy Gravity in Pembrokeshire on Saturday October 5th 2013- tickets are available now from www.defygravity.info or by calling 07866846221.
The third show will be hitting Croyden in February 2014, and Sussex soon after.
If you wish to have this tour near you get in touch with either of the performers to make it happen.
Over the weekend of 13th and 14th July, Pole Performance’s instructors and some of their students attended Eastbourne Extreme to promote Pole Fitness. The biggest free sports festival in the UK took place along Eastbourne seafront with 25,000 people attending. We set up our X-stage and aimed to change people’s views and broaden minds about what Pole Fitness is all about.
We demonstrated skills from basic moves to advanced tricks over the two days and had a great response from the crowd, with very positive feedback. We generated a lot of interest from local businesses, and were pleased that a local bootcamp approached us asking to run some classes with us. We also got to jam with the Parkour team, who were demonstrating next to us.
Jenny Coulling joined the Pole Dance Community in May 2013. We spoke to Jenny to find out more about her passion for pole dancing and her school Vertikal Pole in Grimbsy. Jenny qualified as an Xpert trained instructor in 2913 as well as undertaking a successful level 5 AAP grading.
"I started pole in february 2010 and instantly became addicted, attending between 2-4 classes each week. Although I have always been quite an active person and I've tried a number of activities I would definitely say that pole is the most physically challenging thing I have done. It draws on both explosive strength, core stability and flexibility, and when it comes to routines it is one of the most energetically intensive 5 minutes a person can do!"
"There are always new moves to learn and new challenges to conquer with pole, and I have found it amazing how quickly progress can be made with some regular practice. Moves that seem impossible at first try are soon achieved, which is very satisfying and motivating. Of course there are also moves which require a much longer build up of strength and/or flexibility, I have been training iron x for almost a year now and it still alludes me, although I am realising that some things just take time and that's ok, I'm in it for the long haul!"
"Apart from the physical side of pole, I am totally mesmerised by pole as a performance art, and I love the expressive and creative side of pole dance. I love all styles to watch and enjoy choreographing routines. I have done a couple of local competitions at an advanced level, and look forward to competing as a professional once the classes are established."
"I have taken over running pole classes in Grimsby since my (very well loved) teacher was commuting and was looking to scale back to her home base. I can't stand for there to be no pole classes in my hometown plus I have so many pole friends now. I enjoy passing on moves, techniques and experiences that I have learned and love to share my passion for pole with other people, if they get even a fraction of my enthusiasm for it then it's worth it, whether that be for just a once-a-week fitness class or if they throw themselves into it the same as me, or even more!"
"As well as running pole classes I do have a full time job as an engineer and running the classes is a hard extra commitment. However I am getting loads of help from my fantastic pole friends as we are trying to run Vertikal Pole Grimsby as a club. I am really looking forward to all of the activities and adventures that this will bring and so far teaching classes has been a very satisfying experience."
The Pole Dance Community would like to wish Jenny and her students at Vertikal Pole all the best for the future and hope they all enjoy their pole dancing progression.
The Pole Dance Community (PDC) was set up in 2009 by husband and wife team, Sid and Sam Remmer. Its mission was to create a membership system allowing professional pole instructors to self regulate the new and growing industry.
The PDC Code of Conduct was designed by the members and agreed upon as well as minimum training requirements and fair pricing policies. By these measures PDC membership became the way to recognise legitimate, professionally run pole schools.
PDC also works as an advocacy group, talking directly with underwriters, politicians and the media helping them to better understand our industry.
Rather than following the usual format of having a President head the organisation, with committees and sub committees deciding policy, the PDC is refreshingly different. In essence, the PDC was created from bottom up by the actual pole instructors, from the industry's need rather than from top down for the benefit of the organisation itself.
With no leaders, presidents or committees, the PDC provides a new, transparent, self governing platform where policy is, for the most part, gained by consensus through an online forum. On occasion, when consensus can't be reached on an important topic, we resort to one member - one vote, regardless of rank or position in the community.
Providing an instructor can abide by our Code of Conduct and meets the training qualifications, they can join us. We encourage and help instructors to achieve membership with us, raising standards in the industry and providing a pathway for career development.
We encourage dancers to train with PDC Instructors to ensure they are getting the best the industry can offer. We provide a universally accepted grading syllabus for dancers to progress through.
Together, the dancers, instructors and the PDC system are uniting the pole dance community.
We are happy to accept payments for all our pole dance products in Bitcoins - the secure and efficient internet payment solution.
By using Bitcoins, we don't have to cover Paypal or bank charges and so we can pass this benefit back to you in the form of FREE UK shipping.
If you are outside of UK and wish to use Bitcoin, please mail us for your reduced shipping rates.
Read more about Member Discounts
Guest article by Miss Glory Pearl.
UK Pole Dance Day was conceived by the Equity Pole Dancers’ Working Party back in 2009. We wanted to create an event that brought the pole dance community together, an event that was entirely free, open to all, and that welcomed non-polers into our studios and our world.
We chose our date - 1st May - as a tongue-in-cheek nod to May Day, when girls traditionally dance around a maypole to celebrate Spring. From the outset, we were clear about what we wanted to achieve - give pole dance a national platform, run something that was entirely independent of any pole dance organisation, and encourage a better understanding of pole dance in the wider community.
Cindy Cooijmanns is known throughout the pole dance world as both a pole dance teacher, respected judge and creator of the Pole Move Box. Cindy received her references from PDC Pioneers KT Coates and Elena Gibson.
Elena Gibson said "Cindy is a great asset to our community, amongst other achievements, she has tirelessly worked to produce the Polemove box which I believe is a great product to be used as source of reference for studios, instructors and students. She dedicates much of her time and effort to promote pole dancing both in her home country and internationally, Cindy is a very ambitious and positive person who I greatly admire."
KT Coates said "She is the nicest, kindest, selfless person in pole. She does pole because she loves it, she never gets involved in any unpleasantness and she is loved by everyone as an instructor, a business woman and a poler. She is a one off!"
Aerobic and Fitness trainer since 1995
Pole Fitness trainer since 2006
This is besides my normal day job (my husband and I run a large butcher’s shop for 10 years now, and I got my degree in Advertising and Merchandising)
Aerobic Fitness instructor (certificate from Aerobic Fitness Netherlands)
Pole Fitness instructor
IPDFA Basic, intermediate and advanced instructor
Elevated Level 1
On going: IPDFA Master trainer
On going: Vertical Dance instructor and EPIC youth coaching.
Membership of Professional Bodies:
Pole Dance Community 4 star approved instructor
Judges representative for IPSF
PFA Ambassador (2012)
Officer of Terminology for IPDFA
Workshops, Courses & Master-classes Attended:
USA: Pantera Blacksmith, Felix Cane, Jenyne Butterfly, Marlo Frisken Steven Retchless, BadAzz, Caterina Gennaro, Zoraya Judd, Kelly Yvonne, Natasha Wang, Michelle Stanek, Phoenix Kazree, Lacy Mc Garry
South America: Rafaela Montenaro, Vanessa Costa, Aline Kerber
Europe: KT Coates, Elena Gibson, Sally-Ann Giles, Bendy Kate (UK) Celine Shabba Le Gall (DE) Angy Knight (BE), Manuela Carinairo (FR), Màrion Crampe (FR) Jeannine Wilkerling (DE) Anastasia Akentyva (CZ) Loic Lebret (FR), Alessandra Marchetti (IT) Natalia Tatarinseva (U)
Hanka Venselaar (NL) ElisaJo (NL)
Russia: Evgeny Gresilov, Kira Noire and Anastasia Skuktorova
Australia: SuzieQ and TobyJ, Cleo the Huricane, Andrea Ryff, Carlie Hunter and Jamilla Deville
Asia: Jady Chao (HK), Radjesh Mudki Mallakhamb (India)
Elisa Jo Studio Haarlem
Lasya University Nijmegen
Pole Tricks Zonhoven Belgium
Hosted and attended Workshops in our studio with:
Saulo Sarmiento 30 december 2018
Jenyne Butterfly, 24 January 2018
Kenneth Kao, 28 July 2018
Andrea Ryff, 15 Sept 2018
Additional Training with PDC Pole Schools & Instructors:
KT Coates and Elena Gibson
Cindy has been teaching group classes: Aerobics, Steps, Callanetics, BOSU, Street dance, Jazz dance and Gogo dance since her certifications in 1995. After the birth of her 3 sons, she wanted a new sport challenge, which she found in Pole Dance. After taking a Pole teacher trainer course she started teaching Pole classes in 2006.
Student's pole dancing success:
“One of my students; Nicole Beerens has won the title Pole Fitness champion 2010. At that moment that was the highest competition you could enter in the Netherlands. I train/help a lot of national and international pole dancers now a days. Helped Yvonne Smink with her TV debut on ‘Everybody Dance Now’ were she made it to the final show. And I’m Hanka’s helpdesk if she needs advise.”
Continuing Professional Development:
Aside from Cindy's many master-classes she also avidly keeps on top of all that is happening within the pole dancing world.
"I read all there is about the Pole Sport, I think I saw almost every DVD and keep attending and organizing workshop and courses to do with Pole. I like to work and talk with professionals from all around the world, there is still so much to learn!"
Followed 2 courses in BungeeFly
Tried YinYoga and PowerYoga classes
Trying to keep up to date by training with other Pole studio owners once every month
Still drawing all the Code of Points elements for the IPSF
Teaching Pole (all levels) 3 evenings a week at Sportstudio Ilse Sint Michielsgestel
Teaching short introduction Pole courses at 3 different high schools 2 times a year (Elde college Gestel, Elde college Schijndel and Gymnasium Beekvliet)
And occasionally a bachelor party
Teaching my own Pole instructor refreshment course weekends this year, at 5 different large studios and 2 for in-depended Pole instructors (this is a 6 hour course covering teaching technics to experience pole instructors, not focussed on tricks but on who to teach people and help them grow) References:
Paalsport Venlo http://www.paalsport.nl
Dancecenter Breda https://www.paaldansstudio.nl
Sportief Paaldansen Utrecht https://www.sportiefpaaldansen.nl
Cindy is not a competitive person; “I don’t like entering in a competition.” She loves to train people to go into competition! And helped a lot of Dutch Pole girls in their preparation for a competition. She rather helps to organize competitions like the Dutch, Benelux, European and the World Pole Sport championships in London.
Co organised the World Pole Sports Championship weekend in Tarragona Spain July 2018
Professional Pole Appearances:
You will not see many Pole dance appearances from me. I’m mostly behind the scenes, either organizing or judging shows or competitions.
2010-2011-2013 Benelux Pole Championships
In Holland I judged the Beat Gravity competition, The Pole Move Battle and the National Championship.
2010 Taylors retreat cup (UK)
2012-2013- 2015 IPSF World Pole Sport Championship
2011-2014 French National
2011-2013-2014 German Pole Fitness and Miss and Mister Pole dance
2012 Most Pole2Pole competitions
2013 IPC in Singapore, 2015 IPC video entries and awards
2014 Pole Classic Las Vegas USA
2015 HKCH championship Hong Kong
2013-2014-2015 IPSF Nationals in Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.
IPC head judge for the video enteries
Judge at Belgium national championship in Gent, 15 April 2018
Judge at the Norwegian nationals in Oslo, 5 May 2018
Head judged the Chinese Pole Sports nationals in Beijing, 26 May 2018
Head judged the South Korean Pole Sports nationals in Seoul, 2 June 2018
Contesting judge for the World Pole Sports Championships Tarragona Spain, 14-15-16 July 2018
Still volunteer on the IPSF judges committee, main job to find certified judges for all IPSF
Sponsorship (gained or provided):
It is not my goal to gain money with the Pole Move Box. It’s a hobby, so everything I earn goes back into the Pole industry. First by updating the Box every year with more amazing models and the newest moves. And of course by sponsoring events and competitions.
You can find Pole Move Box all over the world. From a small regional or national championships up to the World championships.
From the North and South American, Australia, European to Asia.
Pole Dancing Promotions Involvement:
In the city I live in I started promoting Pole Sport in 2006. I believe everyone in our town is convinced Pole is a Sport now.
I have written may articles for the Dutch press to promote the Pole Sport.
I encourage many of my pole friends to be in television program’s, Hanka showed up in several programs already and one of my friends Flora Gatina, ended in the top 3 of Holland got talent.
In October I was promoting the European Pole Championship, I helped organizing. I phoned the press and television, they said: “ohh but that not news, everyone knows Pole is a sport.” so it looks like we have accomplished that for the Netherland to LOL. (I realise that was only one reporter saying that, so we keep on promotion)
2007 Guinness World record attempt for Make a wish foundation.
2008-2009-2010 Pole Unity for several charities.
2010 Spring Pole Dance Party for the Pink Ribbon Foundation.
2014 Guinness World record attempt for KWF cancer foundation.
The Pole Move Box donates to charities too. For every Box sold, 5 dollars goes to ‘Timber’s kids’ www.timberbrown.org A great cause from created by a great Pole artist.
Pole Dancing Goals & Aspirations:
I would like to keep on enjoying and teaching Pole, as often as possible. I have 5 full enthusiastic group which I teach every week. And every workshop I give (in the Netherlands and Belgium) is filled to the max. I love to keep it that way by staying updated and innovative.
My personal goal would be to make the pole names universal!!! I think if we join hands we can make it happen!!
Cindy's 2017 Activities:
Fawnia Mondey is firmly established as one of the world's most influential pole dancers and is a true industry pioneer. Fawnia was one of the first ever people to release a fitness based pole dancing DVD and she has been teaching pole dancing since 1994.