Pole 4 Purpose Charity Pole Showcase 2012 - Spinny Tbags Review.
Pole for Purpose is the brainchild of Gemma Hopkins from Sheffield Pole Studio, PDC approved) A Pole New Adventure which raises funds for 3 charities, SYEDA (South Yorkshire Eating Disorder Association), Tickled Pink and Everyman by hosting various events throughout the year. Taking place for the second time last weekend was the annual Halloween fundraiser in a Sheffield social club having outgrown the original venue. Dancers and fans travelled from all over the country to support the charities and enjoy an entertaining evening of song and dance. This was the first time any of Gemma’s students had performed in public.
Opening the show to a packed house was Sally-ann Giles with a reprise of the Naughty Nun routine she performed recently in a sexy black and white costume. With over 15 years’ experience self-taught dancer Sally- ann showed off the strength she’s famous for with her powerful muscles she made holding poses and making graceful transitions look easy.
The little touches of spiders and gems on the table showed how much effort organiser Gemma Hopkins (pictured below left) had put into the event, although there was no evidence of the advertised Oscars theme and the venue could have been glammed up a little more with some decorations. An unusual and much appreciated touch was the excellent and extensive buffet laid out by Sarah Barlow with a wide range of sweet and savoury treats available for a cash donation towards the charity.
I was surprised that the stages, kindly loaned by X-pole for the occasion had been set up in the centre of the room amongst the tables and chairs when there was a stage at one end of the room, although the ceiling above the stage looked very low and Gemma later confirmed that it wasn’t possible to have put any poles up on the stage because of this. International photographer Adam Jay was on hand snapping away with his camera during the evening to create a lasting memento for all the performers after a studio shoot during the day organised by Gemma and up on the stage expertly managing the music was Gemma’s husband Will.
Four of the Pole New Adventure girls took to the floor next and gave a performance that was very well timed to Labyrinth’s Earthquake. Their routine was choreographed by Gemma and the audience showed their appreciation with lots of applause throughout. The clever combos and poses showed that it’s not necessary to perform advanced tricks to give a great performance.
The very sparkly Abigail Coyles was up next in 8” shoes accentuating her fabulously long legs and making her first public performance. Despite taking an unfortunate tumble over one of the stage legs before she began, Abigail performed freestyle without a prepared routine and delivered an amazing performance with no outward sign of being in the least bit shaken.
Another first time performer Danni Hithersay from Pole New Adventure showed enormous guts to get up in front of an audience after only beginning pole dancing in March and earlier confessed to the compere that she was “bricking it”. Her moves gave no hint to the fact that she’s been pole dancing for only 7 months and she performed with elegant lines and poses earning a hug from her instructor after she finished.
Looking every inch a lady in floral housecoat and blue rinse was Daniel Rosen’s alter ego Mrs Doubtfire. The holder of many titles Dan showed us that he’s a master of the pole as well as the housework wielding a hoover with aplomb performing to Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and was certainly the strongest lady in the house tonight. He wowed the crowd with a cheeky routine in his sexy bra and had the audience gasping at some amazing drops and chuckling at his saucy dusting techniques and was absolutely the star of the show.
In a short break from pole dancing Becky Hamer bravely got up on the stage to entertain us with her singing with a strong rendition of the Amy Winehouse classic Back to Black followed by a melodic Making Whoopie struck just the right note for the evening and showed herself to be a very talented performer after a minor setback with the music that was quickly resolved.
Hussie Phallula appeared next in shiny black boots which withstood plenty of banging throughout a sensual performance that kicked off with some impressive tricks on the spinny pole and a very memorable show.
Nyree Clarke had clearly made enormous effort to create the most original costume of the night with her lion
outfit and danced a beautifully themed routine to the Lion King song “He lives in You”.
Up next was Mariah Taylor with strong lifts and beautiful lines and elegant floorwork with an excellent Special K combo. Her routine included some ambitious advanced tricks which she pulled off expertly in her black costume trimmed with red.
Next to strut their stuff on the twin chrome towers was the biggest group of 8 dancers from Pole Fit in a routine choreographed by their leader and instructor Fay Chatterly. The troupe has a total of 11 members aged between
24 and 33 who train together every week at the Pole Fit Studios in Stoke on Trent, their pole experience ranges
from between 2 and 8 years and most have been performing together since 2009 and includes several competition title winners. Although the two gents in the troupe looked reminiscent of Bobby Ball in their red braces the ladies looked fabulous in their red and black costumes although once inverted on the pole one of them did seem to be having a bit of trouble staying in hers but she thankfully avoided giving the audience an extra thrill. To a rousing up-tempo song the group performed an acrobatic and well-timed routine with an innovative use of silks and made sure they performed to both sides of the room which was entertaining for everyone as too often performers forget to take account of the audience sitting behind them or to the side.
Butterfly fitness instructor Eve Anderson has been dancing for 5 years and needed no fancy threads or accessories to distract from a powerful routine of tricks and spins interspersed with floorwork that had the crowd howling with delight at her elegant switches from pose to pose and sultry pouting.
During the break the audience had an opportunity to visit the licensed bar for drinks, help themselves to food at the buffet, buy raffle tickets and browse a variety of goods at the vendors’ stalls.
After the break came the only doubles act of the evening, Lara Green and Elouise Miller performed the second Lion King themed dance, disguised as a lion and a zebra, to the song “I just can’t wait to be King” and showed off some impressive doubles moves and perfectly timed spins together.
Vocalist Sasha Louise Williams accompanied by John Forrester on the guitar and vocals overcame claimed nerves that didn’t show at all to give an outstanding performance of a variety of acoustic number to enthusiastic applause.
No showcase would be complete without a performance from the organiser and Gemma didn’t disappoint the audience, taking to the stage to twirl elegantly in an emotional and expressive routine the fitted perfectly to a moving, melodic track called “My Immortal” on both static and spinny poles.
Self-confessed “pain in the ass” Sasha Louise Williams had been poling for nearly a year and held an iron-X for seemingly ages in a routine filled with power moves and fast spins and a remarkably flat jade split. This little powerhouse is certainly one to watch if she starts to compete she’ll be her instructors in the shade.
Armed with the second vacuum cleaner of the evening but the only moustache Kazza Karen paid homage to the late Freddie Mercury as she set temperatures rising with her themed routine performed to Queen’s “I want to Break free” by shedding first her shoes and then her skirt to perform some impressive inverts and strong, steady holds in a routine that included giving the pole a quick clean with a duster – a polished performance in more ways than one.
The audience certainly enjoyed Alissa Pearson’s energetic and graceful moves and showed their appreciation as her long flexible legs flowed from move to move dancing to “As Long as you love me”. Alissa’s dance included some exciting and original moves on spin mode.
A further treat was in store as the slender form of Laura Pearson took to the floor to dance a flowing routine that was well-timed to the music of Christina Aguilera with grace and poise and a perfectly executed airwalk from pencil to the ground.
Huge excitement accompanied the drawing of the raffle as Gemma had secured over £900 of donated prizes including masterclasses with Dan Rosen and Donna Gant. After the raffle was drawn and the prizes has been handed over to the winners Gemma and eight of the Pole New Adventure girls in purple corsets closed the showcase with a polesque finale to the dramatic yet overused song Roxanne which has been featured in almost every pole event of 2012.
Overall the event was a huge success, despite one or two of the scheduled acts failing to appear and raised nearly
£650 for Gemma’s charities through ticket sales, the raffle and donations from sponsors. All the 21 performances were excellent and the venue was a good choice, easy to find with plenty of free parking. Although a second break during the evening would have given the audience more chance to shop and eat, the event was brilliantly well-organised with no drama or disasters. Although she says it was a lot of work Gemma loves organising showcases for her students and she could give lessons in how to host a successful event. The compere, Sarah Jayne Marcussen who’d done an excellent job behind the mic throughout the evening, handed over to Gemma as the night drew to a close so she could say a few words congratulating the performers and thanking everyone for coming as the event finished to rapturous applause. Gemma hopes you’ll be able to join her for her next event which she’s planning to host in June 2013 which she says will be even bigger and better.
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All images courtesy of Adam Jay Photography.