This page will feature links to all the Pole Dance Community approved events happening across the UK to celebrate UK Pole Dance day 2010. Click here to find out exactly what UKPDD is all about.
This page will be updated regularly so we can keep you up to date with all the latest news and event updates.
JLN Fitness - click here to read about the JLN open day.
Studio 22 - A day of pole jams and events - click here for full details.
Emily's Pole Fitness - click here to read Emily's press release.
Purity Pole - Pole Jam - click here for more details.
The Art of Dance - Outdoor pole dancing events and open day - click here for full details.
Polenastics will be holding £1 pole dancing taster sessions. Click here to view more details.
Body Barre - Pole jam and pole dancing demos at their brand new studio - click here for more details.
Rock n Roll Pole taster sessions. Click here to find out more.
I would rather be pole dancing will be holding taster sessions and a pole jam, click here for more info.
Pole Confidence are holding taster session and pole jam click here for full details..
The Flying Studio are holding an open day and Pole jam - click here for full details.
Spin City Pole Fitness are holding a master class with Maxine Betts. Click here for more details or to book.
360 Pole Dancing are holding free tasters and demos, click here to find out more.
Pole Affinity - Pole jam - click here for full details.
Alethea’s Bio….. Told like it is….
Red Rider BB-guns, Hula hoops, Kentucky girls, storing things in the trunk of my car 4-ever, truck stops, slushee machines, whiskey, rebel daughters, deer, bubble baths, bud light, steak, beer coozies, swimming in the quarry, fishin, grilled cheese w/ bacon, Indiana, Chevy’s, potpourri, takin’ pictures, Jolene, motels, huntin’ hats, backyards, woodpiles, trashy heels, white leather, tallboys, stripper bikinis, a hardworking man, luck 11:11, the smell of gasoline, 66 chevelle’s, gold camaros, drag racing, my grandma, doggies, drive-ins, pitchers at local bars, playing house, picking kids names, my white fluffy bed, shootin’ 22s, cold beer on a hot summer night, memorial tattoos, commitment tattoos, country legends, kissing in cars, dirtbags with hearts of gold, being on the road with the one you love, the one second you realize that things are going to be o.k., learning lessons the hard way, forgiveness, missin’ you, a ring on the right finger, knowing love is 4-ever, growing up in a place where salvation and desire are equally as desperate…..
Click here to see Alethea in action on the new X-stage.
Tiny: Hi Alethea – It’s lovely to have the chance to do this interview with you as you have been the subject of many a conversation with me and Jamie (from Defy Gravity) lately! So it finally dawned on us that we really need to do this with you and I’m so glad you are finding time to oblige!
Ok, first questions that everyone has to answer…. How old are you?
Alethea: I’m 30 can you believe it? I can’t. I never in my wildest dreams that I’d be more comfortable with my body and so physically fit with strength and stamina at this age more so than in my teens or twenties. The only problem is I have a lot of old injuries break damage etc.. and they seem to be getting creaky and sore each year. I can only imagine how I’m gonna feel at 60!
Tiny: I like the fact that you’re of a good age! The younger, nubile pole dancers make me want to cry as I feel I will never be that strong or bendy again, but then people like you make me change my mind and really want to go for it!
Ok, like I said at the start, I don’t know very much about you so let’s start at the very beginning…… I heard you have a gymnastic background to start with – let’s hear about that.
Alethea: My original background includes 18 + yrs of gymnastics, diving, climbing, trampoline, dance, and me just all around being a sexy lady and knowing how to mooove!
So in reality gymnastics had much more to do with my pole career than actual time practising pole so far. Although, I also wasn’t a very good gymnast, I wasn't focused back then and was rarely number one even though I could have been cause I was a goof off, pole competition has brought all that back and I’m ready to win this time.
Tiny: So how did you move from gymnastics into pole dance then?
Alethea: I pretty much used pole to overcome injury. I’ve broken many bones in my life but was in a really bad freeway car wreck in 2005 that I barely survived. In fact I think there was a little bit of not surviving mixed in. I had three neck surgeries the following year and although I was going to be ok, I was so used to thinking in terms of 6-12 week recovery, not something that takes years and then you just make the best of. Pole was my extreme way of reclaiming my body and saying “I’ll show you” what you are capable of and how much you can take. In turn after a lot of excruciating pain, I have grown stronger and more physically aware and recovered then me or doctors for that matter ever imagined.
I also broke my rib last year a couple weeks before United States Pole Dance Federation Competition (click here to see Alethea and other competitors in action at the 2009 USPDF) and had no idea cause my pain threshold is pretty high …. I really have no idea what’s a bad injury or not. It REALLY HURT but everyone kept saying well you’d know if it was broken its probably just bruised.
F**k it hurt. That’s why my twisted grip handspring looked so tortured. Then I went for my chest X-Rays cause I have to check my neck and back every couple months and the Dr. was like… ‘No change, but why is your rib fractured’?! Ooppsy! I’m just happy to be alive and yes it still hurts every day, and I get migraines, and my right hand turns black from numbness and lack of blood if I don’t pace myself.
Tiny: Where did you learn? Who did you learn under?
Alethea: A lot of trial and error really, just me, myself and pole! I do draw a lot of inspiration from Leigh Ann at BeSpun Gym … and YouTube!!
Tiny: How did you progress? Do you find that you progress quicker due to your active background?
Alethea: Really for me it was a Pole Gym that changed my life and I see pole for me has grown only in that environment. t’s Funny how even though you might not have done something for a very long time, if you have Muscle memory it kicks back in and helps you progress faster. That doesn’t mean it impossible for people who have never had dance, gymnastics, ice skating etc.. It just seems to be similar and stay with you if you’ve done it before, like riding a bike.
Tiny: You are now a pole dance instructor, how long were you pole dancing before you started to teach?
Alethea: Well….. ok, but one of my pet peeves is when people ask how long you’ve been pole dancing or how many pole classes I’ve taken. It is such a derivative sport if you look at the girls in our industry who are leaders right now most of us have had a lot of other things in our life that have contributed to our skill in pole dancing so that’s not really a realistic view.
When I got runner up at USPDF it was my almost one year anniversary of walking into BeSpun in April before and not physically being able to climb or support my weight cause I was so weak from 3 neck surgeries the summer before. I puked in the middle of Hollywood by my car right after class! But I went back every day for the rest of the year. So I say a year of pole, but to girls go ‘whoah’, I say I’ve been doing it for five….. Coz …do you want to count the 18 + yrs of gymnastics, diving, climbing, trampoline, dance etc?
Tiny: Do you have your own school? What is it called?
Alethea: I do not. I teach at BeSpun and travel extensively for workshops. I am also starting to teach some online (virtual) lessons this yeah through Pole Junkies so I will be available everywhere. I would love to someday open a gym in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, I wouldn’t move back there but it would give me a tie to the town and a reason to go back more often. Plus I think it NEEDS one!!
Tiny: I see you like taking the odd piccie and have had a flick through your work. Tell us about your site.
Alethea: www.alethea-austin.com is my photographic website, and I have another called www.alethea-austin.net which is a fan created website. Well, I also went to art school. I was a photographer before pole dancing took over my life. I showed in galleries shot for magazine but even then it was the same tag line hot raw gritty sensuality. Same kind of thing I carry to pole. Had a show at MOCA when I was 24 called From Indiana, with Love.
My husband is a DP and we live in a huge photo studio warehouse in Los Angeles. He’s the one that shoots my videos and they are usually a camera/light test for a big job he has coming up.
As for my websites, well I have my old photo website, and my new pole website. None of them are complete. I guess you can tell I get a bit ahead of myself on projects and don’t finish them. That’s one of my goals for this year is to have a working pole website to distribute information just all around – set the tone for who people to really understand who I am and I what to do it personality and all.
Click here to see Alethea practicing her pole dance skills.
Tiny: You have a very specific look to your dance moves, very athletic which we can see from your gymnastic childhood, but also super slinky and very sexy without being too sleazy. This is a developing style we are seeing across American polers at the moment – do you think there are some style differences between each country? What is different about your style and how do you make it so?
Alethea: I do see great differences between each country and I love watching them all and taking them in. I love the perfection and acrobatics of a lot of the European’s E.g.: Ooona, and stylistically I love the Australians (tall leggy sexy, what’s not to love?) .. . Of course style of dance has to do with culture and other factors the way music does.. So isn’t America really Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll? that’s the way I like it that’s what suits me best on the pole or off that’s my style and I’m happy to be here!
Tiny: The UK seems to be deviding itself a bit – into those that are avoiding the sexy look to pole dance in order to make it a more widely sociably acceptable sport and even possibly making it an accepted sport for the Olympics for example – How do you feel about this? SHOULD pole be marketed more as a sport? Or just be a straight up, openly seductive form of dance?
Alethea: I really feel that it is so much of a combination of dance and sport that I’m not really sure which way it’s going to go. I’m interested to see. I also feel that pole is gaining at such a rapid rate popularity with women all over the world and even with men because it does span such a wide range possibilities and accessibility. For the most its progression outside of a gentleman’s club has been women taking initiative and just doing this in their homes and now studios and now federations.. It’s getting so big so fast! So I guess my short answer is it needs to be an apparatus that can be used for all of these, and most importantly whatever the individual pole dancer wants it to be for them personally, some pure performance, some purely personal, and some pure sport. Ooooohhhh I think I’m on to something there.
Tiny: Do you have a favourite trick? What is it?
Alethea: It varies. It’s kinda like whatever hot trick I’m feeling at the time. Right now it’s one of the new ones I’m working on, no name yet….And I’ve been playing a lot with the spinning straddle Allegra does. Oh, and also – My Upright Jamilla split, also a spinning Jamilla, good side to bad side etc.. both of which I might have invented.
Tiny: What is your favourite kind of music to pole to? Why do you like it over other types of music?
Alethea: ROCK / Metal! It’s just the music that moves me, the music I listen too anyway. You have to go with what you like. Last years USPDF was so cool because Alice and Chains and Guns and Roses mean so much to me in my life and that’s what I danced too and it meant so much to me on so many different levels. I will stick to the same plan this year.
Tiny: DITTO! So, who is your pole inspiration?
Alethea: Hmm well first and foremost all those self taught girls doing what moves them comes naturally and owning it!.. Whether it’s in a strip club or on Youtube. As for the professionals: Jenyne Butterfly, Felix Cane, Karol one of my best buds and soul sisters, starting to really love and respect Allegra, and also watching and appreciating circus arts and watching some of the men too, for e.g. Dima Shine. There is one other guy who has been a huge inspiration on me, but I’m keeping him under wraps for now as it will influence my next competition performance and I don’t want to give myself away just yet!
(Alethea then very kindly shared with me a video of this chap (not the Dima Shine but click here to see Dima in action - you will not be disappointed) ….. OH MY GOOOOD! I have never seen anything like it! The guy is sex on a stick first of all (bonus), supremely talented secondly, agile, swift, strong, balanced, poised, and the sexiest thing of all is he is completely ABSORBED in his performance, so much so that it causes you to FEEL the whole atmosphere of the moment with him…..like a concerto, he is completely overpowers the audience…..so if any of this rubs off on our girl, we are all in for a HUGE surprise this year!).
Tiny: Oooohh I’m a fan of Dima Shine (Dimitri Bulkin) too! Let’s talk tattoo…..What does the tattoo on your tummy say? Can you walk us through your other tattoos?
Alethea: The one on my stomach says ‘Heartland’ because I am from Indiana, the Heartland of America and have so much love for my hometown. Yes I have lots more.. One at a time!
Tiny: Do you have plans for any more tattoos?
Alethea: Yes. If I were a man I’d be covered head to toe by now but I prefer them to be to be more spaced out on me as a woman. And they all mean things I don’t just get random pictures on my body. So yes more when the time and circumstances are right. Having said that, I think I will probably be getting a pole related tattoo soon, next time me best mate Karol comes over to visit!
Tiny: The way it should be with ink! In 2009 you entered and came 2nd (to the fabulous Jenyne Butterfly) in the USPDF Competition with the title ‘Miss Sexy’, how did you train for that competition?
Alethea: Umm I found out last week of January, had to compete in March, was like OH Shit! Then broke my rib training. And killed myself doing privates trying to raise money. I hope to be MUCH more prepared this year!
Tiny: What other advice can you give us about competition performing?
Alethea: Research two things A) Is this a legitimate and credible competition? Note: this is hard to judge because a lot of them it’s their first inception in that case this B has helps me. B) Is this the right competition for you? Are the goals of the organizers similar to your goals as a prospective competitor? Also contact girls who have participated in the past and ask them their experience, our tight community is always a valuable tool.
With pole being such a new sport I welcome and want to support all the competitions that are emerging and their diversity. I really don’t think of them as competitions but more as venues for growing the sport and bringing everyone together and I love seeing the same girls, meeting new ones being blown away by their talents, and exploring the Sport, art, performance, and diversity of it all. That’s one of the great things about pole is the women who do it. So I always encourage girls that are wavering and not thinking they’re ready or good enough to please go for it!! It’s the experience of being there that is amazing for me and sharing it with all the wonderful ladies. And my biggest advice would be just become a part of it and showcase all your hard work. If you feel like you’ve done your personal best than it will be a success for you. This last paragraph is assuming you have picked a competition that the organizers are running fairly and competently. HA!
Tiny: Another runner up in the same competition was Sarah Cretul (click here to see Sarah in action)– who absolutely blew me away with her side lift move! Were you friends with Sarah beforehand? Or did you meet at that competition? Are you still friends now?
Alethea: I met Sarah (pictured below) at the competition. I had actually reached out to her a month before the comp to introduce myself, tell her I was excited to compete with her and see if she needed and support or advice. Because a lot of us in the comp were with studios and at that point she had club experience only and had never travelled to a big city like NY. We spoke briefly but she was not very computer savvy. So hard to find. Yes we are still friends, she is actually much younger than me and hadn’t really travelled much so I took kind of a big sis role and we spent a lot of time together last fall.
Tiny: We haven’t seen much from Sarah since that but I would very much like to see more videos and performances from her and maybe interview her also! Could you pass a message on?
Alethea: I will pass the message on, and on the subject of not hearing much she still isn’t very computer savvy, ha-ha I keep yelling at her! She has a new FaceBook now too, try that.
Tiny: Thanks for that. SO, you then entered a video based competition in America called ‘Pole Stars’ – is that right? Was it video based?
Alethea: I think you are referring to Pole Superstar. They picked five finalists and the last 6th spot was based on online voting which I won. But then I was not picked as one of the original finalists……?
Tiny: I saw your video entry and frankly was gobsmacked – it definitely looked like a show stopping winner of performances to me…..why do you think you did not win with that one?
Alethea: Refer to the question I answered about advice on competition performing…. Advice A and B says it all, I’ll let people make up their own minds about what happened and why. Because my video was so popular, there was just a second there before I went on stage where I thought well maybe if I just do my best it’ll be so obvious they’ll have to choose a winner that fits. Which I thought I did do really well, and Marlo too did amazing…. But it wasn’t any of us that won so….hey, never mind. but, I felt that I had nothing to loose in entering, they were paying travel and I had to be on the east coast anyway, and it was a $10,000 prize!
Tiny: Which competition do you think you will enter next?
Alethea: I am actually doing one this weekend in Vegas called Vertical Pole Challenge. And I hope I do well! There are gonna be some good girls there, it’ll be fun for sure. They are looking for all types of polers and are evaluating not necessarily on difficulty of tricks but all around energy, routine, entertainment.. So we shall see. One of my fellow BeSpun girls Lindsey is doing it and she has the cutest routine in store and has such amazing energy so if she wins I’ll be so psyched for her!
Tiny: WOW well – Good Luck for that! Are you working on anything new at the moment? Fancy giving us a sneaky peeky?
Alethea: Yes lots of new stuff. I guess my sneaky peak Hint: the opposite of the Jamilla?
Tiny: Oooohh so secretive! Ok, well….You recently made an appearance on the ‘Bank of Hollywood’ show right? And was questioned by the presenters and celebrities – I believe one of them was even a Pussy Cat Doll no less! How did that go? What happened?
Alethea: Ha-ha.. Again I don’t mind being the guinea pig in this Pole Revolution; I am strong enough in my reason and convictions where I don’t really get bent out of shape about it. I was just in the background Demo-ing, it was not my idea to be on the show nor did I particularly care or want to be one it. I was supporting one of my pole girls when she asked me to be in the background. I do a pretty good job of explaining my feelings on the whole thing in my Youtube video ‘F**k you Ryan Seacrest’.
Tiny: Why do you suppose they played it like that?
Alethea: To make Good TV of course!!
Tiny: You did a retaliating video especially for them entitled – ‘F**k you Ryan Seacrest’ – how was this received?
Alethea: I made that video more to offer girls more insight and it was a good opportunity because a lot of people saw the show. I honestly wasn’t expecting that crazy of a reaction during filming so I thought well I better put an explanation with this when it airs. I was more worried about girls feeling like I was targeted and upset, and I just wanted to let them know that I not upset by the outcome, rather amused by the idiocy of it all.. And here was my side for better explanation. Don’t worry I didn’t go to bed that night in tears or anything.
Tiny: What do you think the future holds for pole in America?
Alethea: Hmm well I’ve grown up an American my entire life and in looking back at my experiences watching sports, arts and performance as well as the hype that TV and the Hollywood machine can create.. My hope would be that pole in America eventually works its way into all the different aspects of the culture and has the right people in behind it in each aspect to showcase it in its best light.
Tiny: And what about your pole future? Do you see yourself doing any pole tours in the UK? Like maybe to my place or Jamie’s (from defy gravity)? We promise we won’t watch you sleep n stuff…..maybe a bit.
Alethea: Yes I’d Love to come to the UK, I’d love to travel everywhere. Pole is my life right now and I really want to go as far as I can with it and embrace all these experiences and people its is taking me to meet. I am so lucky. My first UK tour of two planned this Year already confirmed for mid July! Ha! As for the watching my sleep. …I love my fans I really and am so flattered and then make an effort to be come fast friends so it doesn’t seem so creepy! We can sleep together, how bout that?
Tiny: Kinky…..I’ll pass the message on for sure! OK LASTLY……Your pole videos……sexy sexy sexy. Will you be doing an ‘Alethea’ DVD? How can we learn to move as hot as that please?
Alethea: Yes. Worry not; My Sexy Flexy DVD’s are coming! They are already in production and the first series will be out by this Summer.
Tiny: Waaahhhhh yeeeeyyyy!!! Ok, don’t forget to post some to me so I can do a DVD review on them and get them out there for you in the UK!
Thanks for speaking to us!
The Pole Dance Community would like to thank interviewer Tiny from Candy & Chrome for her wonderful interview as well as Alethea Austin for being a great role model for the pole dancing industry.
The Pole Dance Community are proud to welcome new member Emily Smith who runs Emily's pole Fitness in Swindon.
Emily has been teaching pole fitness classes for 3 years and has just started her own pole school, Emily’s Pole Fitness.
Emily says “I am so thrilled to be part of the Pole Dance Community and I look forward to getting to know others who are part of the Pole Dance Community.”
Emily has always been interested in dancing since a young age but never had the confidence to pursue it further until she discovered pole dancing for fitness. From then on her confidence grew up to the point of teaching her very own pole classes.
“I never used to show my legs, I was so shy! But pole dancing increased my confidence and made me the happy, much more confident person I am today!”
She is inspired by many pole dancers, her favourites being, Deb Riley, Felix Cane, Pantera and Tess Taylor.
Bringing the fun and sexy side to pole dancing, Emily allows her students to wear their sexiest pair of heels to dance in. “Dancing in heels makes you feel sexy and is so much fun! I want my students to keep fit but feel sexy at the same time.”
Emily’s classes will be held in the function room of The Vic in Old Town (pictured below), Swindon and has taught pole classes there in the past. She teaches no more than 2 to a pole and up to 6 in a class, this enables Emily to spend plenty of time with each individual.
Teaching from beginner to advance levels, Emily will help you reach your full potential. It doesn’t matter what fitness level you are, what size, what shape, anyone can give pole dancing a go!
Pole Classes only cost £10 an hour and you pay as you go; paying one lesson in advance to secure your place each week. Pole routines will be worked into lessons and students will have the opportunity to perform for friends and family if they wish, as Emily will be organising regular shows for students to take part in.
For more information on Emily’s Pole Fitness please do not hesitate to give her a call on 07833 192079 or email her.
The Pole Dance Community would like to welcome its latest new member Miranda Goldring from Pole Affinity (pictured below).
Pole Affinity is based in North Devon established in March 2008 by Miranda Goldring it is the first & only pole school in the area & they are very pleased to be awarded Pole Dance Community approval.
Miranda has a background in fitness & dance, & initially tried pole dancing out in Australia where she attended a class at Bobbies Pole Studio in Sydney and immediately fell in love with the art of Pole Fitness.
On return in 2007, Inspired by the likes of KT Coates, Jamilla Deville, Jenyne Butterfly & Felix Cane. Miranda brought an X Pole & set about self learning as there was nothing locally offering classes.
Miranda initially trained & worked with PoleCatz UK whilst completing her Fitness Instructors Certification and REPS certified Pole Fitness Instructor qualification. (Also- qualified in Kids Fitness, Urban Funk & Freestyle Fitness Yoga).
Regularly adding to her extensive range of pole moves by attending various master classes with some of the UK’s & world’s best pole dancers including Alesia Vazmitsel, (UK No. 1 in 2008 & 3rd in worlds 2009) Jenyne Butterfly( 2nd in worlds 2009) and Maxine Betts ( current UK No. 1 - 2009) to bring the best to her classes (picture below of a pole affinity pole dancing class).
Miranda promoted ‘R Pole’ at Miss Pole Dance UK 2009, & is on the judging panel for ‘Routine for the Nation’ 2010.
Pole Affinity classes are led by experienced & qualified fitness professionals with a friendly non-judgmental approach, moves are taught safely & within each participant’s capability & strength. All abilities, ages (18+), shapes & sizes are welcome.
Pole taster sessions are offered to give people an initial idea of what it’s like, before committing to a 6 week course. Our courses run from Levels 1 - 5 & consist of poses, transitions, spins, tricks, flexibility, strength training & routine work.
Following on from this there is the option to continue with ongoing advanced (pay monthly) classes.
Missed classes can always be made up in another group so students don’t miss out if unable to make class.
Classes are small in size, typically 2 people per pole and average 4- 8 persons per class; this enables the instructor to teach safely & give time & direct instruction to each & every participant to ensure you get the most out of every session. Private lessons & parties are also available. (picture below of Pole Affinity students)
Pole Affinity aims to bring new found skills, fun whilst doing a total body workout, resulting in toned & defined muscles, increased confidence, inspiration, friendship, a sense of well-being & achievement.
Classes are held at:
Barnstaple: Floor One Fitness
Bideford: –Q Club Quigleys.
You can also find Pole Affinity on facebook.
There will be a wonderful opportunity to partake in a pole dancing photo shoot on Sunday 11th April 2010 from 1pm-4pm at the Purity Pole Dancing Studio in Reading. The shoot will cost £25 for 15 minutes
From the 15 minutes you will get around 50 quality images, (in the past 15 minutes has proven enough time to get all the desired pole shots and some
You're recommended team up with a friend and both share the 2 slots, so you can have 5 minutes on and 5 minutes off for 30 minutes to catch your breath and/or change outfit. If you're not able to do this, please make a note on your payment page, or send an email, and Jason can update your details accordingly.
All time slots need to be booked in advance.
Please visit Pole Dance Community approved pole dance photgrapher Jason Parlour's website to book your place
Purity Pole Dancing
07961 054 863
'Pure Fitness, Pure Fun'
I’m Karen Daly and in November 2008 following the breakup from a relationship I was getting truly fed up of spending too many evenings playing on facebook and scoffing chocolate. I decided if I wanted to get out of the house rather than be the size of it I’d better do something about it! Someone sent me an invitation to join a dance group on facebook. I couldn’t really see myself doing that but I searched through their profile and found JLN Pole Fitness Westhoughton or Pole Fitness Westhoughton as it was then. Ideal! Something different and just up the road from me. But could I do it? Aged 45, pretty unfit, slightly overweight, very little rhythm and no dance skills whatsoever. I messaged Jess and asked what she thought. She said as long as I was in good health it would be no problem and if I came the following evening she would do a one to one with me. First reaction Woah! I don’t think so! But then I thought go for it if I don’t do it now I never will. I went along to the class feeling very nervous not really knowing what to expect. I was greeted by a very confident and very able 15 year old who put me at my ease. I must confess that had I known how young Jess was at the time I booked the appointment I wouldn’t have gone and that would have been a huge, huge mistake on my part. When I look back now I couldn’t even do the simplest move, couldn’t lift my body off the ground but I had such a good time and Jess was very patient and encouraging. I was covered in bruises and I ached for days but I couldn’t wait for my next lesson. Jess took photos of my progress which I gave my consent for her to put on facebook but I still wasn’t ready to tell the world so I asked her not to tag me in them. What would people think a woman my age taking up pole dancing? After a few lessons I started to think wow I can do this. My confidence was building with every new move and I got frustrated if I couldn’t do something. It’s a wonder there are no foot marks in the floor from the number of times I stamped my feet at myself. After about 4 or 5 weeks I got brave and tagged myself in the facebook photos and even used one as a profile pic. As we know people still have the perception that pole dancing is performed in a sleazy club and just involves gyrating around a pole but having seen my pictures people were genuinely surprised and impressed. I have had mixed reactions about it. My family were a little bemused but supportive, friends at church wondered what on earth I was up to and my friends and colleagues at work thought it was very funny but when they saw the pictures from my Polexposure professional photo shoot the amusement turned to amazement. If I say so myself those pictures are awesome! Even my 14 year old niece thinks I’m cool so that has to say something!
Pole fitness for me is about 4 things
1. Fitness - I have achieved things that at my time of life I never thought I would. The first time I managed to do the inverted crucifix after weeks of trying to invert was a tremendous moment for me. Most recently Jess and I jumped around the room screaming uncontrollably when I managed the shoulder dismount. It has boosted my confidence immensely. I have lost weight and improved my strength and if I have anything to do with it I will never have bingo wings.
2. Friends - I was one of JLN’s first pupils when there was just the one pole then after a couple of months we moved into the 4 pole studio and JLN has expanded again into the new 12 pole studios. I have attended different classes and met different people and even though most of the girls are a lot younger and slimmer than me I have never once felt that any of the girls are thinking “what is she doing here at her age?” they are very encouraging. We support and help each other and I have made some good friends. If you are reading thank you so much ladies, I appreciate you.
3. Family - JLN has a real family atmosphere. Jess Leanne Norris is a fantastic teacher. I am amazed that someone of her age has the drive determination and maturity to carry off this venture but she has and she is such an inspiration to me and the others in her classes. She is supported wholehearted by her family and it is partly this that gives JLN its family feel. It is not just a business on her part or for me just a class I attend once a week. Jess and her family have welcomed me into their home and lives (thanks again Simon for putting up my pole for me).
4. Fun - Pole fitness is the only thing fitness wise that I’ve stuck at. The only classes I have missed are when I have been injured or ill and I never think “Oh I can’t be bothered going tonight”. When I hurt my wrist in summer last year I missed it incredibly. I hope that I will be an inspiration to others in the same way that Jess is an inspiration to me. I will never be a natural on the pole. I wish I had the grace and elegance of Jess rather than that of an elephant but I haven’t and who cares? I just love it and persistence and practice pays dividends. Believe me if I can do it anyone can. Roll on Monday and Starfish here we come!?
Karen Daly – Westhoughton, Bolton UK
The PDC would like to thank PDC approved photographer Taz from PoleExposure for allowing us to use his images in this article
Equity Pole Dancers’ Working Party
Notes of the meeting of the Pole Dance Working Party held on Friday 22nd January 2010 at 1.00pm at Equity, Guild House, Upper St Martins Lane, London WC2H 9EG
Present : Michael Day (Equity staff), Dana Mayer, Emma Mitchell, Elena Gibson
and Amber-Rosia, Louise Grainger (Equity’s marketing manager – for item 2 only)
1. Apologies : Kate Johnstone, Sam Remmer, Genevieve Moody
2. UK Pole Dance Day 2010.
Since the last meeting, Equity had given its go-ahead to design a logo for UKPDD
and Emma had been working with a designer to produce this. He had been given
a brief to produce something for this national event which would work on posters,
banners and other materials and would work alongside the Equity logo. He was
asked for something that was not too glamorous or too ‘fitness’. Emma had
brought along about 25 initial designs for the working party to look at. These were
reduced to a shortlist of 5. It was agreed that these would be circulated to other
working party members for their comments by 29th January 2010. When Louise
Grainger was in attendance she expressed preference for those logos which
didn’t depict a female figure and particularly those contained in a circle as they
work well on badges and stamps etc. Emma had also written some other
documents for inclusion in a pack such as an example press release and a draft
email that would go out to the schools. These would also be circulated to the
other working party members for feedback.
Timetable wise, Jonathon (the designer) would finish the work early in February
and the email-shot would go out at the beginning of March, from the email group
on Kate’s database. There would also be a Facebook / website page set up to list
participating schools as they signed up. It was clarified that schools would not be
charged for the packs. Replies from schools would be sent to the email account
that had been set up and would need to be collated. Emma would organise
Jonathon to submit an invoice for his work to Equity.
There was a discussion about whether to try to promote this through Pole2Pole
Magazine. This was the only magazine for the industry but it was thought it did
not have the right image for where the working party wanted the industry to be.
3. Equity Campaign on Entertainment Licensing update. Michael Day reported
that following the demonstration some progress was being made with
government on the licensing exemption for small venues. There was currently a
consultation on this to which Equity will make a submission. Following this it is
hoped that a legislative reform order, which needs all party backing, can be made
in time to make changes before a general election later this year. Equity and the
Musicians' Union still wanted an exemption for venues of up to 200 capacity but
the offer had only been for those of 100 or less.
With the situation of burlesque entertainment in Camden it appeared to be
mainly resolved except that the wording of the licensing policy had to be agreed.
Currently burlesque entertainment was not being stopped from going ahead.
4. Recruitment and Retention Events. Some further events for potential
membership recruitment were discussed. The following had previously been
UKAPP (UK Amateur Pole Performers) – usually Reading or London for which the
final was thought to be in November.
MPD (Miss Pole Dance) – London, final in October
Pole Divas – Manchester, final November or December
British Isles – Essex, final October
Others were also raised.
Taylor’s Retreat Cup 2010 would take place in July 2010. This was run by Ben
Taylor and held in Surrey
North Wales, Colwyn Bay competition would take place on 21st February.
5. Copyright issues and guidance leaflet. Some further examples of copyright
were discussed. Generally these were about the copying of others’ choreography
and use of music. It was apparent that this was a common problem and it was
not clear where ‘being inspired’ by someone ended and plagiarism started. It was
often the case that someone would use the same music as someone else and
possibly similar costuming but not use the same moves. Also in burlesque it was
often the case that a costume change would take place during an act, for
example, from a secretary to Superwoman to the music of ‘Nine to Five’. This
could be done in different ways and depending on the circumstances, could be a
breach of one’s copyright but equally may not be. One working party member was
actually named, without her consent, as being the inspiration for another’s
performance. This could be a breach of ‘moral rights’ as individuals have the right
not to be associated with something they are not involved in. Although this could
have been actioned it had not been. It was also thought that this could give
welcome publicity to the artist who had been the inspiration.
6. Any other Business. A documentary was mentioned entitled ‘Immodesty
Undressed’ which had allegedly been a history of burlesque but had barely
mentioned Dita Von Teese.
7. Date of Next Meeting: would be 16th April 2010 at 1.00pm at Equity. It was
noted, however, that the availability of Equity’s meeting rooms was currently in
Notes of the meeting of the Pole Dance Working Party held on Friday 11th December 2009 at 1.00pm at Equity, Guild House, Upper St Martins Lane, London WC2H 9EG
Present : Michael Day (Equity staff), Dana Mayer, Genevieve Moody, Emma Mitchell, Elena Gibson and Kym McGowan.
1. Apologies : Kate Johnstone, Sam Remmer
2. Updates on Policing and Crime Bill and Camden Licensing for Burlesque.
Michael Day reported that the Policing and Crime Bill had continued to be debated in the House of Lords at the Report Stage. In the new year it will return to the Commons and Equity will continue to lobby at that stage also. Amendments had been suggested to the name of the type of entertainment. S*x Encounter Establishment was the original government proposal with Adult Entertainment, S*****ll Entertainment and E***** Entertainment all being considered since.
In Camden, the council was not currently opposed to burlesque events going ahead although the fine print of the licensing policy was still being worked out in conjunction with the Burlesque Women’s Institute.
3. Equity Campaign on Entertainment Licensing. Michael Day reported that Equity’s proposed demo on entertainment licensing had gone ahead on 22nd October 2009 and had been well attended with about 150 – 200 performers. There had been some bands and colourful characters doing their acts. There were also politicians from across the main parties. Equity and the Musicians’ Union had been offered a concession on the small venues exemption in that venues of 100 or less could be exempt from a licence. The unions had rejected this, however, believing that it should not be less than 200. This was still being debated and could potentially be delivered via a ‘legislative reform order’ if all parties were in agreement.
4. Recruitment and Retention Events including Pole Divas. Equity representatives based in the North West had attended this event and had found a good position for the Equity stand. Genevieve had been able to assist during breaks in her judging role and noted that the stand had often been busy. Generally, in this field, the public liability insurance and other insurances and the kudos of membership were the most appreciated factors.
Kym, who was visiting from Australia, compared how competitions worked there compared to the UK. She had been involved in some of the organisation of such events such as Australian Pole Dance Championships. There were several categories including ‘open pairs’ for men and/or women combinations as well as the solo competitions. Judging appeared to be more technically based with set moves needing to be completed. Costume branding was not allowed. Competitions were held in theatres with theatre or cabaret style seating.
Other events were discussed and it was considered desirable to have Equity representation at all of the main competition finals. These included:
UKAPP – usually Reading or London
MPD – London
PoleDivas – Manchester
British Isles – Essex
5. UK Pole Dance Day 2010.
It was agreed that the day of the event should be Saturday 1st May 2010.
It was suggested that there should be lots of individual events organised around the country at participating schools linked through a central campaign. A letter could be sent around in January 2010 and this should give examples of potential events. A pack to send to schools could be developed. Emma agreed to do a list of what would be required in this pack and get an idea of cost. Funding could be requested from Equity. Genevieve agreed to co-ordinate a potential list of activities if others emailed their ideas to her. It was suggested that those not attached to a school could make guest appearances at schools and / or give demo performances.
6. Copyright issues and guidance leaflet. The leaflet itself was not discussed but a couple of copyright examples were put forward. One was for use of a photo of a pole dancer in a magazine and the other copying content, mainly text, being copied from a website. Michael Day stated that with photographs it would depend on who owned the copyright of the photo. This may be the photographer or the performer. The copyright owner certainly has a right not to have the photo used in a publication without their consent. Similarly with text, copying directly and reproducing elsewhere is a breach of copyright. More information will be obtained directly from the members concerned to see if action is warranted.
7. Working party – Future work, meetings, further aims and objectives, distribution of workload etc.
The following had been actioned since the last meeting:-
Emma had completed the pro forma email body text for various types of messages.
Kate had set up the ‘mail chimp’ which was now working for the email group.
Dana had worked on the Facebook profile
Elena said that she would be willing to host some kind of event, as did Genevieve.
It was discussed whether an open meeting could be held in conjunction with an existing event. Pole Unity was put forward as a possibility. This was thought to be in June. An ‘injury prevention’ workshop, for example, was put forward as an idea.
A meeting schedule for working party meetings for 2010 was proposed.
The first two dates were fixed with the others with just the month set. These were as follows:-
22nd January 2010 at 1.00pm at Equity
16th April 2010 at 1.00pm at Equity
There would also be meetings, times and venues TBA in June, September and November / December.
A few priorities of the working party for 2010 were highlighted:-
Raising the profile of the art form
Recruitment and Retention of pole dancers
Encouraging the use of the contracts and formalisation of the industry
Finishing the copyright guidance leaflet
Improving the standard of competition judging
Holding a bigger open meeting / event
8. Pole Dance Community. Sam Remmer was still working on this and gaining more subscribers.
9. Any other Business. It was raised that high profile performers, such as the winner of MPD could be targeted for membership of Equity if they are not already. Some individual names were put forward.
10. Date of Next Meeting: Friday 22nd January 2010 at 1.00pm at Equity
To contact or join the equity pole dance working party just visit their facebook site.
Just a quick update on the Purity Pole Halloween pole dancing showcase that will be held on Saturday 31st October.
Tickets are only available in advance up until Saturday 24th October, none will be available on the door.
Performers on the night include
Purity teachers -Jolene
Jolene and Lisa will also be doing a doubles routine!
Other professionals -
Pippa from Polenastics
Genevieve from The Flying Studio
Elaine from Poleminx
Kate Johnstone from Spin City
Amateurs -Kate Tolhurst
Jess and Trixie will be doing a doubles routine!
For more information and contact details check out our previous article by clicking here.
Like the Pole Dance Community the Equity pole dancers working party (EPDWP) are passionate about the world of pole dancing and are working hard to safeguard you! The EPDWP meet every few months at the Equity HQ in London, the meetings are open to all Equity members. If you can't make it to a meeting or you aren't a member but you would like to raise any concerns then you can contact the working group via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below you will find the minutes of the last EPDWP Meeting which was held on Friday the 18th of September 2009.
Notes of the meeting of the Pole Dance Working Party held on
Friday 18th September 2009 at 1.30pm at Equity, Guild House, Upper St Martins Lane, London WC2H 9EG
Present : Michael Day (Equity staff), Dana Mayer, Genevieve Moody, Kate Johnstone, Emma Mitchell and Elena Gibson.
1. Apologies : Sam Remmer, Michael Branwell
2. Introduction by Dana Mayer. Dana had asked to be given the opportunity to raise a couple of general issues at the start of the meeting. One was about the running of the working party and the other about an external matter concerning another individual. It was agreed to deal with the first issue under item 6. It was noted that there had been some misunderstandings within the working party about individuals roles and responsibilities. The other issue, being a private matter, would be initially discussed with the individual concerned.
3. Burlesque Entertainment - Camden. Michael Day reported that the two events organised by the Burlesque Women's Institute had been successful. Equity had attended the reverse striptease event at Proud Galleries, Camden on 12th July 2009 but unfortunately there were no representatives of Camden Licensing present. The march originally scheduled for 23 rd July had first been moved to 30th July then, at the last minute, to the 29th July. This was due to the organisers wanting to avoid it being taken over by a certain element. The date change had meant that Michael Day had been unable to attend due to another meeting. The event had attracted a lot of media attention and had achieved the desired result in that Camden had agreed not to stop burlesque events going ahead. There was still some work to be done, however, in that Camden still needed to put some wording in the licensing policy. The Burlesque Womens Institute had asked for Equity to be involved in meetings with Camden Licensing and a date for a meeting was currently being sought.
4. Equity Campaign on Entertainment Licensing. Michael Day reported that Equity was proposing action in the form of a protest at Parliament on the issue of licensing of entertainment. In late 2008 the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee had made various recommendations to the government on amendments to licensing legislation to assist live entertainment. The government had, however, only adopted one of these recommendations, that to do with travelling entertainment such as circus. Other recommendations to allow small venues and events to be exempt from licensing had been rejected. The planned action was provisionally to be on 22nd October 2009 at Parliament Square and Equity, the Musician's Union and UK Music were looking for a big turnout from performers to get the point across. It was hoped that there would be a number of performers in costume and some high profile members. The finalisation of the date would come week commencing 21st September, from then, members would be informed and asked to participate. It was designed to coordinate with a Westminster Hall Debate on licensing happening that day. It would not include the issue of Sex Encounter Establishment Licences and the Policing and Crime Bill.
5. Miss Pole Dance and other events and recruitment and retention of new members. The Miss Pole Dance (MPD) event would be happening on 25th October 2009 at the Scala, Kings Cross. Equity would like to have a stand again and would also ask about possible sponsorship in some way. A brochure had already been produced so it would be too late to advertise in that. There was an entrance fee for the competition and an additional fee for feedback from the judges.
PoleDivas would be the on 22nd November 2009 in Manchester. As well as the main event on Sunday there would be other smaller events on the Friday and Saturday. Dana had done this last year and had taken the Equity freestanding banner. Emma would be there this year anyway, as would Dana. Unfortunately Michael Day would be away that weekend but would ask his colleague based in the Manchester Office, particularly about the Friday.
Kate Johnstone said she was looking into judging standards and was doing some research into other sports such as dance and gymnastics to see how it worked within those sports. She hoped to have completed this research by the end of the year. It was universally agreed that the judging of pole dance was inconsistent and some standards would be a good idea.
6. Working party Future work, meetings, further aims and objectives, distribution of workload etc. Some bullet point headings were put forward for discussion as follows:-
Distribution of tasks what needs to be done and who should do it.
UK Pole Dance Day
The main tasks identified were the mail out of meeting notices to the email database. Kate offered to set up a Mailchimp account to which the working group would have password access. Then, the mailing could be taken in turns with appropriate return paths set up. It was agreed that templates for sending out minutes and meeting notices would be set up along with a recruitment one and one for general notices. Equity logos would be needed for the templates. As the templates would be fairly standard there would be no need to individuals on the working group to necessarily check each mailing although the person sending would include their name at the end. The templates would be developed for approval by the next meeting by Emma. A number of suggestions were made on recruitment strategy. These included:- presence at events; brand ambassadors; showcase event; conference; masterclasses; jams; internet forum. Those on the working party already had experience of talking to potential members about Equity and the working party (as ambassadors) but it was thought to be a good idea to have a crib sheet with the principal benefits of membership to use for this. Michael Day would do this. It was suggested having a sticky on an existing forum.
The next two meetings were agreed as Friday 11th December 2009 at 1.00pm then a meeting at the end of January 2010 TBA. This timetable would be necessary to discuss UK Pole Dance Day (May 1st) in detail and plan for it properly. The notice and mailout for the first meeting would take place mid November.
Michael Day would check whether there would be Equity t-shirts / sweatshirts available for working party members when representing Equity at events.
7. Copyright Advice Document. This item was deferred to the next meeting as working party members had not had a chance to look at it in detail.
8. Pole Dance Community. Sam Remmer was not in attendance but had emailed Genevieve and Dana to say that she had developed a code of conduct for schools and wanted feedback and ideas which members could directly email to her.
9. Date of Next Meeting: Friday 11th December 2009 at 1.00pm at Equity, Guild House, London WC2H 9EG.
If you are a pole dancer interested in getting involved with Equity - you can benefit from great performance insurance, advice on contracts, copyright, legal support and much much more! For further information contact Michael Day email@example.com or join the Equity Pole Dancers Working Party Facebook Group for regular updates!
Spin City Pole Fitness were very proud to celebrate our first birthday! To commemorate this fantastic occasion, we held our 1st Birthday Bash at The Redgrave Theatre in Bristol on Saturday the 26th of September.
48 students and instructors; many of whom had never previously performed, took to the stage and stunned the 400 strong crowd with individually choreographed pole dancing routines comprising of a breathtaking array of tricks and spins. The individual and paired routines were complimented by the Spin City Dance Troupe, who performed a tribute to Michael Jackson and a Street Dance piece, choreographed by Spin City Choreographer, George Johnson.
The evening’s performances were energetic and dazzling, introducing many of those into the audience to the sport of Pole Fitness. It was a really great night and everyone performed exceptionally well! All the girls were extremely nervous, it takes a lot of courage to get up there and perform – especially in a real theatre! I am so proud of what they have all achieved this year!
We set up Spin City in 2008 with the aim of encouraging as many women back into exercise as possible and to expand pole fitness as a sport. We hope that through events such as the 1st Birthday Bash we can shed some of the taboos of pole dancing and show its true artistic and gymnastic nature. Gyms can often prove an intimidating environment to women, as can sports clubs - especially if you have been out of exercise for a while. We wanted to create an exercise class that provided great fitness benefits in a social, fun and friendly environment. A class that was open to all ages, sizes, abilities and fitness levels. Pole fitness was the perfect answer!
Spin City Pole Fitness are going from strength to strength in Bristol and have just moved into a new premises ‘The Workshop’ in Clifton. With two bespoke pole dancing studios, 16 x-poles, and a committed team of Instructors and Dancers, Spin City hope to be able to take on a whole new cohort of students this year with the next showcase ‘The Spin City Graduation Show’ scheduled for March 2010.
The PDC team would like to congratluate Kate and the team at Spin City for putting on a marvellous event that brilliantly represented modern fitness pole dancing.