Poleskivvies Make a Difference Award.
Our guest blogger Jennifer Michelle from Poleskivvies is responsible for setting up the Poleskivvies Make a Difference Award, the award aims to recognise those who give outstanding contribution to the industry and whose efforts set them apart from the rest.
The award is still open for nominations but some of those nominated to date include our very own PDC Approved 4 star instructor Sian Ajose from Soul Pole (pictured left), Melanie Piek of Pole Fusion, Shae Myers from Pearl Studio, Kate Whitely from Dance Inspires, Nyla Berry of Nyla's Pole Fit, Stephanie Babines of Oh My You're Gorgeous, Trixie Lovett of Pole Nation, Amy Joy Richard, Bel Jeremiah of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness Studio, Anna Przeplasko of IPDFA, Ken Menconi and Moses Carroll of Southern Regional Pole Dancing Competitions.
Award sponsors to date include Pole Moves box, Pole Dance Magazine, Vertical Art and Fitness Magazine, Pole Dance Community, Platinum Stages and Pole Dance International.
Jennifer Michelle interviewed one nominee, PDC Approved 4 star Pole Dancing Instructor Sian Ajose to find out more about why she has been nominated (other nominee interviews can be found on the Poleskivvies website):
The first thing you notice when you speak to Sian is how forthright she is.
When she speaks, you know she’s not holding anything back – and, if she’s speaking about pole, that means you’re going to venture into a world far beyond the concepts of exercise and dancing.
To Sian, pole dancing is about empowerment, it’s about strength – and her studio, Soul-Pole, is dedicated to providing a safe space for women to connect with their inner selves. Says Sian, “When a woman knows she can hang from a pole by her ankle and her armpit, it changes her … she feels more confident, her body feels stronger and more balanced.”
In fact, because of her commitment to the internal balance that pole can bring, Sian incorporates meditation into each of her classes and is currently working on her certification as a meditation instructor. She also works with local birthing centers to promote meditation to laboring mothers, striving to provide them with a calmer, less painful delivery.
Sian was not always so grounded.
In fact, she spent seven years homeless as a teen, when problems with her stepfather landed her on the street. By the end of that time, she was bedridden – so weak she couldn’t walk, yet determined to turn her life around.
The experience made her brave. “I learned that if I asked for something and someone said no, I’d be okay. I wouldn’t die,” she says.
To the average person, though, one might say she had always been brave – and not just in surviving those years on the street, but in getting out of them. Once Sian knew what she wanted to do, she took action. She had the wherewithal to write Princess Anne directly for funding to attend a certificate course in wind-surfing and rescue diving in Australia – and, so movingly did she write, she got the funding.
The funding didn’t cover all her costs, though – and that’s how Sian found pole. She worked as a lap and pole dancer to make the money she needed so she could go get her training.
Wind-surfing proved too seasonal, though, so, when her son was 12, she combined her knowledge of pole and her dedication to women’s fitness and started Soul-Pole. Now Sian works to bring that bravery to the women attending her pole classes.
Sian is also committed to helping women overcome the mental hurdles that get in the way of exercising. “They‘ll say they have no time, but I say, if they are standing by the kitchen counter, they can knock off a few triceps pulls and get their workout in.”
In everything she does, Sian makes a point of helping a greater cause.
A portion of student fees for every class she offers goes towards supporting charities around the world. She is also a vocal supporter of the Buy 1 Give 1 project, which helps businesses make a direct link between the products and services they sell and the real people their donations help. (In fact, it was through Sian that PoleSkivvies got involved in the Buy 1 Give 1 program.)
Most of all, though, is Sian’s commitment to the Malaika Africa Project (Sian pictured right working in Africa). She first learned of the project on a climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro, and was so moved she created a 12-hour Pole-A-Thon to raise money to build a primary school in the rural mining community of Mirerani, Tanzania. Should she win the Make a Difference Award, the charitable donation she would receive would go towards supporting this school.
Sian never stops striving to reach as many people as possible, letting them know through her own story that they can live their dreams, they can feel strong, and they can be brave. She is becoming a sought-after motivational speaker and her book, an autobiography, is coming out this March.
It’s no surprise that Sian was nominated for the Make a Difference Award. If there’s one thing Sian has always done, it’s make a difference.
Check out the full list of nominees by visitng the PoleSkivvies website.