PDC Pioneer Mary-Ellyn Weissman receives the 2016 Grading Assessor Award.
Pole dancing instructor Mary-Ellyn Weissman is one of three people to achieve this award for outstanding contribution to the pole dance grading system (AAP). The other 2 awards went to Karen Currie and Jane Cole.
Mary-Ellyn Weissman is the principal instructor and founder of Chicago Pole Dance based in Illinois, Chicago. Mary-Ellyn has been the main online grading assessor for the Pole Dance Community since we introduced the new syllabus in 2009 and the accompanying AAP Pole Dancers membership system.
Mary-Ellyn has assessed many gradings over the years and her level head and judging experience have made her a fabulous assessor who can give detailed feedback to each pole dance assessment.
We spoke to Mary-Ellyn to find out more about her and her feelings on the grading process?
What do you feel the PDC gradings give to students?
A challenge where they compete only with themselves!
Would you recommend the grading process to others?
I always do because it's rewarding and a good way to get feedback outside your studio if you train within that environment.
What do you think is the hardest part of the grading?
Worrying if someone will be hurt by the constructive feedback.
How long have you been pole dancing?
What got you into pole dancing?
After seeing pole dancing in a club and then having a lesson while on vacation I fell in love with it and decided it would be a good way to stay active as I was entering menopause early and needed the exercise.
What did you do before you started teaching pole dancing?
Registered Nurse for over 20 years.
What is your favourite pole move?
Reverse attitude grab...I also grade really hard on this move!
What made you start teaching pole?
At the time...no one else did it locally and I was dying to share what I loved with others.
Which pole dancers inspire you?
My students! They make me feel incredible when I watch them dance knowing we got them started and seeing how much they love it!
What moves are your Nemesis?
Ayesha and Inverted Chopper.
Do you have any pets?
Roxie (a Jack Russell Terrier) and Loki (A puppy Italian Greyhound - pictured left).
What is your preferred footwear for pole dancing?
Do you prefer 38mm, 42mm, 45mm or 50mm poles?
Titanium, chrome or stainless?
Chrome X-Pert or Stainless PoleDanzer
Static or spinning?
Static...OMG I get so sick on spin pole!
Any fun student stories?
Hosting a bachelorette party and asking a participant how she got into pole dance and she basically described myself (older local woman who runs the NAPDCC) without knowing who I was! I wasn't sure if I should tell her that was me!
Do you use any grip aids or gloves when you dance?
I regularly use Grrrip Spray and Wet Ones Wipes.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to grow the North American Pole Dance Championships, Open a full time free-standing studio with multiple types of classes and large enough for in-house recitals.
Congratulations to Mary-Ellyn on her grading award and for her outstanding contribution to the pole dancing industry.
If you are a pole instructor who would like to find out more about becoming a PDC authorised grading assessor or if you are a pole student wanting to undertake submit an online grading to one of our pole grading assessors, just drop us an e-mail and we will send you more information. Our AAP pole dancers memberships include one free on-line grading and loads of other marvellous pole dancers discounts.