Aaron tells us about his pole journey to date and life before pole:
I am Aaron Darby and I own and run Pole Position Strength & Fitness in Birmingham with my wife Lisa. We met when we were both working as gymnastics coaches. Lisa convinced me to attend one of her regular pole classes and I was instantly hooked. I started gymnastics at the age of 9 and went on to compete at international level. My gymnastic career ended at the age of 17 due to injury, and then I became a men's gymnastics coach training the elite boys team. I loved how I could transfer my gymnastics skills to pole, and I picked it up fairly quickly (much to my wife's annoyance). After a while we made the decision to leave our jobs and open our own pole studio.
Emily works at Solent Fitness and Aerial Arts in Southampton, UK. We spoke to Emily to find out more about her and her passion for pole dancing.
"I first discovered pole back in 2010 and have been pretty much hooked since then! I train and teach pole at Solent Fitness & Aerial Arts, where my casual once-a-week hobby turned into a full obsession. I love all things pole & aerial, especially the community feel that comes along with it! When I first started the industry was fairly small (compared to how enormous it is now) and I have enjoyed watching it grow, especially because it’s no longer a drama to find decent pole shorts...
For 2018 we want you to go pole crazy. get fun pole pics for your social media or try some crazy urban pole?
UK Pole Dance Day is also a great chance to thank those that inspire you in the pole world, the people that make your pole dreams come true. You might want to tag your favourite poler to thank them for inspiring you, you could tag your pole instructor to tell them how much you appreciate them. Perhaps you want to tag your pole buddy who makes your pole lessons amazing.
Virginia Zdesar joined the Pole Dance Community in 2018. Virginia has many years of pole dancing experience and has completed several PDC Approved Teacher Training Courses. Virginia currently teaches in the UK but has also taught in the Middle East.
"I began using Pole many, many years ago as an alternative sport, alternative to the confines of my traditional gym workout. I learnt my Pole fitness skills in London in 2008, where I completed the advanced levels with the wonderful Pole Dancing Champion and PDC Pioneer, Elena Gibson at her school in London.
I then trained with the universally endorsed group operated by the world renowned KT Coates, PDC Approved Teacher Training Vertical Dance. With KT, I gained the qualifications and certifications that are internationally recognised and endorsed by REPS, Skills Active, ACE, PDC & IPSF which has given me the ability to do what I love and enable others to as well.
We have released a new version of the PDC Syllabus Core Moves Mobile App for android phones. You can try the free app as it has all the functions of the paid for apps just with limited moves available. If you like it, which we know you will, you can upgrade to the paid version, see links below.
The app is available for both android and iphone (please note that the i-phone app has not been updated yet).
The National University Pole Association was formed in 2016 to oversee and develop the Inter-University Pole Dancing Competition (IUPDC).
The first IUPDC competition was held in 2011 but with limited places it was difficult to make the event inclusive for all the universities that wanted to enter. The 2011 format also meant that solo performers had to perform alongside other solo acts with limited music choice and frustrations for the judges. To allow more inclusivity the NUPA have created regional heats to allow all universities wanting to compete the chance to own the stage.
Since 2016 the NUPA board have offered their services for free to create massive improvements to the IUPDC competition and strict guidelines to create consistency across the regional heats.
PDC Approved 3 star pole dancing instructor Suzanne Robson was nominated for the Gemma Dear Award by Tempest Pole Dance studio owner Mandy Williams.
Mandy submitted the following nomination:
"I would like to nominate one of my instructors Suzanne Robson for this award.
Suzy has been a Pole Instructor at Tempest Dance for just over a year and she has full body eczema.
This has become progressively worse over the last year and has left her in a lot of pain and constant scratching. This skin condition has also rendered her whole body red, dry and scaley. In all of this time never has she cancelled a class or let me or her students down.
Kirstin McKenzie joined the Pole Dance Community as an instructor in 2017. Kirstin commenced pole dancing in 2010 and has completed her Vertical Dance Instructor Training. We spoke to Kirstin to find out what she loves about pole and why she chose to become an instructor.
"Having taken advantage of a Groupon deal taster session with Pole Pursuits, I fell in love with the classes and kept going back. Each new bruise was shown to my other half with pride, along with a detailed explanation of where it came from and why being covered (I mean COVERED) in bruises was a good thing. It didn't even phase me when on our first cruise to the Caribbean they were displayed in their multi-coloured glory to about 2000 people (although my partner felt a little uncomfortable with the stares he received).
Patricia joined the Pole Dance Community in November 2017. She commenced pole in 2015 and quickly fell in love with her art. We spoke to Patricia to find out more about her passion for pole and her aspirations for teaching at Studio 11 Pole Fitness in Bristol.
"I was in love with pole-dancing before I even started taking classes. Although when I started, just over two years ago, my initial goal was to become an exotic dancer, I realised it's not as easy as all those amazing girls make it look.
I have tried many different sports and taken various dance classes from breakdancing to bellydancing - I pretty much tried it all - but none of them seemed to suit me quite like pole-dancing does. I am now at a stage where I can't imagine my life without classes, workshops and of course my pole family!
Each year the Gemma Dear Courage Award honours an individual or group who show extreme courage and determination within the pole dancing industry.
The individual or group is nominated by PDC members (aap dancers and instructors) who explain why they think the individual or group deserves the award.
The award can be given to any pole dancer, instructor or group of pole dancers who demonstrate the qualities required to win the The Gemma Dear Courage Award.
The Gemma Dear Courage Award recipient symbolizes professionalism, strength, courage and dedication.
After an extremely busy year for both our online grading assessors, and our in house assessors, selecting our finalists for grading assessor of the year has been extremely hard. We finally reached our decision based on the number of aap memberships sold by each grader, the number of gradings conducted or submitted by each assessor and how proactive they were in promoting the aap membership to their students.
A massive congratulations to our overall grading assessor of the year award 2017 which goes to Mandy Williams from Tempest Dance in Durham, UK.
We would also like to congratulate our youth pole dance grading assessor of the year, Lesley Jackson from Pole Guns in Newcastle, UK. Lesley was just one grading behind Mandy in the overall awards.