Sunday, 15 March 2009
The debate continues...a very long blog!
After reading some comments on the body and pole forum as well as comments on this blog I feel compelled to explain a few personal thoughts on the glamour vs fitness debate. Someone commented on the ad campaign featured in the BBC documentary as they had noticed that on the billboard poster I was wearing thigh high heeled boots (see picture above)which may seem to counter my argument for fitness pole dancing, the poster was made about 3 years ago at a time where we still danced in heels and actually encouraged the use of thigh high boots as it made climbing the pole much easier and prevented some bruising and skin abrasion. As well as the posters I still have flyers and many pictures on my website / blog of myself and other instructors wearing heels.
As the business has evolved we have opted for bare foot practice for several reasons, firstly, when perfecting spins on a static pole you need to work though the balls of the feet, if you are wearing heels you automatically push your body weight through the balls of the feet but if you are in bare feet you have to use the calf muscles in a much more dynamic way to achieve the same pivoting effect therefore dancing in bare feet gives the legs a better workout. Secondly as we have had expanded as a company we have worked with more people and the practicality of having 12 pairs of heels flying around he studio had become a mild health and safety issue.
I do remember some years ago two incidents involving heels that may want to be a word of warning to lap dancing clubs - the first incident involved one of my exhibition dancers performing in kitten heels, as she flew into a spin one of her shoes flew of her leg and directly into the face of a member of the audience, the next incident involved me dancing in a club, it was in the early days of the art of dance when we used to take our students to lap dancing clubs so they could see for themselves what went on and they could also see some great dancers at work. I was invited onto stage to perform mainly for my students, I was wearing a pair of black thigh high boots (the same ones shown on the advan), As I spun around the pole I was unaware of exactly how close one very drunk gentleman had got to the pole, my heel caught firmly into his eyelid flesh and stretched the piece of skin far beyond what it was meant to stretch, luckily there was no major harm done.
So, as previously stated we now run our classes in bare feet but that does not mean I am completely anti heels, I think that each pole dancer has the right to choose what is appropriate for them, consenting adults should have this choice. However I would argue that if teaching children then heels are highly inappropriate and also if we are teaching children we should focus on the gymnastics side of pole dancing and not the sexy side.
I think I would be naive to argue that pole dancing does not have a sexy side and one of the things I find with my students is that many of them start with the belief that they do not want to be sexy or wear heels but as there confidence grows many of my students actually want to be a bit more sexy. Is there anything wrong with that? Being sexy is different to being sleazy, Being sexy does not mean you are about to jump into bed with every man or woman you see. Being sexy comes from having body and mind confidence and having such confidence gives you the right to choose what you think is right for you.I will leave that debate for the moment and await your comments.....
Other news from the world of pole dancing include outrage from some residents of Kings Cross and Camden as they make a petition to have Miss Pole Dance Uk and the London Burlesque Festival banned from Scala night club, click here to read the story as featured in the Camden Gazette. This the official response from Miss Pole Dance to the story:
"Since 2005, the Miss Pole Dance Organisation have been providing opportunity for pole dance to be seen as a modern, liberating form of sport and fitness by creating national and international competitions. These competitions have become recognised worldwide and are a respected entity within the sporting fraternity. In 2008 we had 2 Olympic Athletes on the judging panel with top international dancers. Eurosport is covering our World Pole Dance Championships this year in Jamaica.
Many women now practice pole dance as a form of fitness, empowerment and fun, this is no longer a voyeuristic pastime for gentlemen's clubs but something that is practised by women from all walks of life......"
Another story in the press this week is that of an australian lap dancer who fell during a performance at Australia's Sexpo exhibition, she is now trying to sue the organisers for faulty equipment after she fell of the pole and broke her nose! Click here for the full story. Whilst this story seems like a bit of fun it does highlight the importance of using a proper pole when pole dancing, the pole has to be able to cope with not only your own bodyweight but also the excess forces that are imposed upon it as one swings ones body upside down, be warned that certain products on the market such as the gimmicky peek-a-boo pole and the Carmen Electra pole are not suitable for real pole dancing, these products are dangerous and I am amazed that there haven't been any really nasty accidents as a result of such products.
If you are after a decent pole my vote goes with x-pole although there are other products on the market that are also safe to use. On the subject of x-pole you may want to check out one of new useful links, Stacey from x-pole has launched her own x-pole blog as well as a new website for her pole dancing school. Stacey has also teamed up with Kat from Pole Love to recognise the UK's first amateur only pole dancing competition.
Another new resource for pole dancing schools is the fab new international pole schools world map, thanks to Claire from Pole Progression for producing the map, click here to view it.
Lastly before I completely dissolve your brain in pole news I wanted to draw your attention the new Equity pole dancing workers group, it has been a long time coming but at last we are moving towards nationally recognised standards for pole dancing and the Equity group formed by Genevieve Moody from the Flying studio and Dana Mayer from Rock n Roll pole have been working hard to push things forward. The next meeting will be held on Friday 27th March at 1pm at the Equity Head office in London, if you can't attend and are interested in finding out more then why not join the facebook group or contact Genevieve or Dana via their websites to be included in the mailing list.
Don't forget to pencil the 1st May into your diary too as it is UK pole dance day, full details to follow......
Well I think even I am completely poled out so am off to sit in my courtyard and treat my birds to a special spring bath and shower!