Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I wish you all a fantastic 2009,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 29 December 2008

Post Xmas blogging

After a fabulous Xmas I thought I better get back to blogging, I, like most of us, seem to have put on a few pounds over Xmas and still have a fridge full of cheese to plough through. It seems that a good Pole jam is called for very soon to get me back into shape for the new year.

I thought I would share a few photos with you from the last few days starting with this one of me in my Xmas attire and one below of my husband in his festive finery!

As I am preparing for 2009 I thought I would update the pictures on my blog so I have added some new ones and removed some old ones. I am also working a new website for the art of dance - watch this space!

The only downside to the festive period has been the visits to my Grandad that have usually resulted in tears as I hate to see him the way he is, I do however understand that he is not going to get better. I have a meeting with my family and social service today to discuss long term care plans, I am not expecting the meeting to be easy.

As the new year approaches I have many plans for 2009, There will be many changes at the art of dance hopefully for the better and I intend to add some new tricks to my repertoire ready for some pending exhibitions that are happening in February and March - full details to follow.

Just before Xmas I had the pleasure of a visit from art of dance baby Ava with proud mum Penny, We hope that Ava (Or Darth Ava as she is affectionately known) will be joining us on the poles very soon!
I also received this lovely e-card from friends Maya, Fay and Jay which made me smile!

Lastly for those of you who haven't read it already you must read Hayley's great Xmas blog. To celebrate the start of 2009 I hope to give you some great fitness tips to help you start 2009 with a healthy approach! But for now enjoy some more mince pies and sherry!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Xmas

It is now 2.30pm on Xmas day afternoon and My husband and I have just finished our breakfast! We are both adorning our special Xmas day costumes - pictures to follow - and are now getting ready to start on the beer and then prepare the Xmas dinner. The Radio is set to digital channel Gold and is belting out a selection of classic Xmas tunes although we did start the day with Black Xmas courtesy of Planet Rock!

I want to wish you all a wonderful Xmas and I hope that you all have the best 2009 possible. I also want to send my deepest sympathies to the family of the
Plymouth based soldier from 42 commando who died in Afghanistan yesterday and to all those who have lost loved ones recently.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x x

Monday, 22 December 2008

Gluttony & Local produce

After stocking up on a few extra Xmas luxuries my husband and I found ourselves munching our way through most of them last night, there was just something too tempting about the various goodies lurking in the cupboard for them to be saved until Xmas day. Therefore today I feel like it is boxing day, I feel stuffed and hungover but it is a work day and I have to teach soon not, that I deserve any sympathy for my gluttony. It wasn't all bad yesterday as the evening started with a beautiful oven cooked sea bream with steamed local broccoli and Canarian style new potatoes, pudding came in the form of Blake's of Cornwall mince pies: OK so these are not the cheapest mince pies in the world and at £2.75 for 6 my husband nearly had a heart attack but they are divine and are made with brandy and port and sumptuous spices (can't find a web link but you can order by phone 01579 342159 or if you live in Plymouth you can purchase from them Seymour Ave stores in St Judes) The mince pies slipped down gently as they were accompanied by a generous dollop of Rodda's cornish clotted cream.

The evening was rounded of with some Kettle chips and Mrs Crimbles wheat free Coconut macaroons and several pints of real ale washed down with two shots of Amarula, hardly a good example from a fitness professional!

My Xmas greed has subsided today and I have returned to normal eating habits as well as spending an hour on the pole to help burn of some of yesterdays indulgence. I have also consumed some innocent smoothie of the month - Lemon, ginger and honey, it is a very refreshing drink and just one glass has 2 portions of my RDA of 5 fruit a day, also the ingredients have properties that are rumoured to help fend off many winter nasties such as colds and flu.

After my distinct lack of blogging I hope to make up for last time by blogging every day for the next 3 days! I may even blog on Xmas day but am not making any promises as the fridge full of Sharps Doom Bar may have othyer ideas. I hope to blog tomorrow on a
council plan which has infuriated me!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

p.s. I will leave you with this video clip sent to me by the lovely AmyTree of pole dancing in 1953 - no taboos then so why so many now, the vid doesn't really get started until about 1 minute in! before you watch the clip you may be interested to know that Cirque Du Soleil has finally recognised pole dancing as an artistic form and has signed up MPD Australia champion Felix for it latest show Zumanity.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I like my blog to be inspirational but I feel that the content of today's blog will actually be quite depressing, I wasn't feeling great when I woke up today due to events that I will come to later but my mood worsened when I picked up yesterday's Herald to read over breakfast. The first few pages were full of stories of horribly anti-social behaviour and it made me wonder quite where our society is at, A blind lady had her white stick robbed from her in Central park resulting in cuts to her face, yet another Plymouth soldier has died in Afghanistan, a local police woman has been found guilty of abusing her position but was only sacked after being suspended for a year on full pay! I could go on but I will get to the main point of today's blog.

Of course the real cause of my sadness is nothing to do with the local news but due to incidents surrounding my grandfather over the last few months. My Grandad is a great man: Flight lieutenant Commander Rowles was an inspiration to me as a child, he was caring yet stern, dignified yet loving and he absolutely worshipped my Nan. A few years ago the family had noticed a deterioration in my Grandads memory which was later guessed to be Alzheimer's. In the last few months the condition has worsened and he has also been diagnosed with prostate and bone cancer. At the age of 85 the last thing I want to see is My lovely Grandad suffering, he has given so much of his life to others, he fought in WW2, brought up a family of 4 and now he can barely cope with eating, walking and talking.

On Sunday, after 4 visits from the paramedics in the same number of days, the decision was made to take him into nursing care for a 3 day assessment to see what could be done. I visited him last night but he barely recognised me. He was sat in small room, alone, there seemed to be very few staff around, a half dressed elderly Lady sat abandoned in the corridor and another elderly gentleman shouted repeatedly from his room seeming just to want to talk to someone. I have many years of experience with elderly care but it is very different when you are visiting a relative and very different when, from my experience, the standards of care have fallen way below what they should be. My Grandad kept asking if he could go to sleep, I went to find a member of staff to see if it was ok for me to put him to bed, I found one nurse who said it was fine so I set about helping him into bed, it felt strange helping my Grandad into his pyjamas in this starnge room that was alien to both him and myself, he seemed confused and upset, he didn't really understand where he was but he was aware that his wife was not with him and that seemed to cause him great distress.

I kissed him good bye but he didn't respond, I left the ward feeling very upset and tearful and wishing that the end of my Grandad's life could be more dignified as he deserves so much more than the condition he is in presently. Elderly care in this country seems to be dying out, I feel appalled by the way we treat the people who have bought us up and looked after us, surely we owe them the same in return. I know that when budgets are cut the elderly and the mental health budgets are always cut first but the standard in place today are simply unacceptable. I am now back off to visit my grandad.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Xmas came early

Being the humbug that I am I never look forward to Xmas but yesterday I started to see things a little differently. Up until last year I hadn't bothered with Xmas decorations but my husband had persuaded me to buy a tree, I bought a lovely pot grown tree which I then re-potted and the tree has now spent a year outside only to return to the front room last night. Not only did my husband take on the job of decorating said tree he also arrived in the front room in a full Santa costume. We had a fun evening and I felt that lovely warm wintry feeling, the front room glowed with candles and Xmas lights and I had Santa sat next to me on the sofa! Even my psychotic cat chilled out!

Last week included the discovery of a new pole trick - pictures to follow. The pole trick came about after the lovely Amytree suggested I try a cradle invert to brass monkey! At first I suggested the move may be impossible but couldn't resist the temptation to try it anyway. I failed to achieve the brass monkey but managed to get into a position that my body has never adopted before, Jo said that the trick looked good but there was one major flaw - I couldn't get out of the trick! It seemed the only possible way to remove oneself from said pole was to just fall off! I will keep working on the new trick until I find a nice graceful way of releasing my body from the pole. The trick does result in two fantastic bruises - one on the forearm and one on the back of the calf muscle!

On Friday Jo (see picture of Jo holding bread rolls!) & I ventured to Torquay in the search for a new venue for our Kelly's fitness pole dancing, despite an extensive search we failed to find anywhere but we did manage to find the Tudor Rose tea rooms so we could stop for some very tasty French Onion soup -I enjoyed the seafront lunch and imagined that perhaps at some point the wonderful Agatha Christie would have been dining in similar fashion!

I noticed in yesterdays Herald an article about fundraising for the fantastic animal Charity -Woodside, I wanted to mention how great Woodside are but also to have a little whinge at the RSPCA. In the last 5 years I have contacted the RSPCA on 3 separate occasions and on each occasion they have been unhelpful and have failed to respond to 2 reports of animal suffering, the third contact was when I found a live 4 foot snake in my back garden - neither the RSPCA or the Police were able to help in any way and so the snake was left to eat its way through many of my baby cockatiels before we managed to capture it, bear in mind that both the police and the RSPCA had no idea whether this snake was harmful or not. I must also mention that one call to the RSPCA involved holding for 22 mins before being cut off, as you can imagine when you have a live 4 foot snake wondering around your back garden you really want to speak to someone who can help. One rep from the RSPCA said not to worry as the animal would die overnight due to the cold, this did not reassure me and the result was that is was nearly 18 months before my husband was able to catch the snake during which time it had not only eaten several more cockatiels but had also grown by over a foot! My point is that if you want to support an animal charity then please pick a local charity such as Woodside and not the RSPCA.

I am still looking for a designated charity for the year but will also donate £40 to Woodside to sponsor an animal - I will look forward to posting pictures of the art of dance new sponsored creature! Please visit the woodside sponsorship page and let me know which animal you think the art of dance should sponsor!

I did find a very amusing Burlesque video which I have just uploaded to Sue's blog for any of you who may be interested.

Tomorrow I am off to London, I will explain all about that later this week!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Charity news and general stuff.

I was horrified to read in this week’s Herald the devastating news that the Plymouth Family Support Service are scheduled to close on the 23d December due to lack of funding and a huge increase in their rent. I think many people are unaware of the work that the PFSS actually do and I believe that the negative impact on Plymouth will be felt after the service is closed. The PFSS carry out a huge amount of preventative work with both children and adults. What is even sadder is that I had promised the team at PFSS that they would be our designated charity for 2009. I am particularly annoyed that Plymouth City Council couldn’t find the £20,000 that the PFSS needed to see them through to Easter next year, this amount is nothing in comparison to the work that the PFSS actually do and I am annoyed that the PCC can find £60 million pounds for the elitist life centre and not the small amount requested by the PFSS.

In light of the PFSS closure we are looking for a new designated charity, I would really like a local charity that works with children and adults focusing on preventative care. I have had some suggestions but would appreciate any input so that we can find a charity to work with for 2009.

On the subject of charities I must draw your attention to the work of the East Devon Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the charity aims to help improve the quality of life for those suffering with cystic fibrosis. I was thrilled to hear that the trust have just bought a pole for one of our Torquay students who has CF, Kim Quaintance noticed that attending fitness pole dancing lessons helped her condition dramatically, her bone density improved as well as her lung capacity this resulted in fewer tiresome visits to Exeter Hospital. I am waiting for the next EDCF newsletter which will discuss the subject further.

Whilst I mention Torquay, I must inform you that after a breakdown in communication between myself and the owner of the Bishop's Court Hotel in Torquay we are no longer offering lesson in the Torquay area, Jo and I will be travelling to Torquay on Friday to look at some possible new venues. You can check out Jo's latest blog and Nixi's latest blog here. More news to follow.

Get well soon Mum x x

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Holiday Smugness

As most of you will know I have just returned from a fabulous week in Lanzarote with my husband, we both needed a break from work and when you are self employed you have to get away to really switch off. We stayed in a gorgeous 200 year old finca in the north of Lanzarote in the tiny village of Soo, if any of you are thinking Lanza-grotty then think again, thanks mainly to the work of Cesar Manrique Lanzarote is, in my opinion, the best of the Canary islands. In addition to its stunning Volcanic landscape Lanzarote has a special charm, a great climate and some amazing fish restaurants (I will come to them shortly). The other reason for our visit to Lanzarote is the convenience of travelling from Exeter airport, it is only a 4-hour flight so you can travel door to door - Plymouth to Lanzarote in just over 6 hours!

Firstly let's mention our home for the week - Casa Margerita - pictured below left - has been lovingly restored by ex-pats John and Jacky Kennedy. The finca is named after the previous occupant, Margerita who lived in the house for many years with her husband Juan. The finca features three bedrooms (2 en suite) situated around a traditional courtyard, it also features a tropical garden with a large heated swimming pool. It was missing a pole and despite my attempts the wooden posts around the gardens were simply not adequate so I have had a much-needed break from the pole. I think most of my energy was used up in the practice of eating and drinking.

We used our hire car extensively throughout the week soaking up much of Manriques work across the island. Our first visit was to Jameos del Agua, an amazing underwater cave formed over 3000 years ago. The underwater lagoon has its own unique species of blind albino crabs as well as many great photo opportunities. Our next sight was Mirador El Rio - pictured below right - the most northerly point of the island. This spot is not suitable for anyone who is scared of heights although if you are scared of heights you would not manage to overcome the twisting, death defying roads needed to get you to the El Rio. The Miraodor El Rio, like jameos del Agua is another Manrique creation and it demonstrates his ability to work in harmony with nature.

Our last Manrique hotspot was the essential attraction that is Timanfaya (Firemountain), this huge volcano is still active and all the food cooked in the restaurant is cooked from the heat of the volcano, Timanfaya is situated within the national park so is highly protected. The entrance fee of 8 euros includes a coach trip around the volcano, again a warning that if you don't like heights then you won't enjoy Timanfaya!

If you are visiting Lanzarote then any of the Manrique spots are a must do with Timanfaya being perhaps the most essential visit. One word of caution - don't bother eating at any of these places as the food is pretty poor, opt instead for any of the fantastic local restaurants dotted around every village. One of my favourites was Casa Ramon in Caleta de Famara where we enjoyed the 5 fish platter- pictured below- a mouth watering grill featuring 5 freshly caught fish accompanied by Canarian boiled potatoes and the essential mojo sauce. There are more good fish restaurants in the picturesque village of El Golfo, I recommend walking / driving a few minutes past the main car park in El Golfo and trying the smaller restaurants rather than the two main restaurants that you first see on your arrival in the village. Whilst in El Golfo it is worth visiting the green lake - pictured below- formed from the collapse of one of the islands many volcanoes.

Another tip for getting the most out of Lanzarote is to get a hire car, ours cost only £60 for the week and as fuel is cheap on the island it is a very cost effective way of getting around. We found out that coach trips from Puerto del Carmen can cost up to 100 euros whereas if you visit by car the entrance fee is only £8 euros, the coach trip may include a meal but it is still an expensive option.

If you really want to enjoy the island then make the effort to learn a few words of Spanish, most of the islanders have some English vocab but I think it is polite to try to speak the islanders language whilst you are there as you will be looked after so much better. Just simple words such as please and thank you and of course the essential phrase - dos cerveza por favor (2 beers please). Also worth noting are the Spanish words for cold and hot - Calor or Caliente means hot so when you use the letter C on a tap don't expect it to mean cold! Another phrase worth learning is 'con leche' meaning with milk, as most coffee is served black.

Perhaps the fish of the week must have been in the lofty village of Femmes (more dodgy roads if you want to eat here!). Femmes is a sleepy little village with a restaurant overlooking the south coast, the restaurant doesn't look that inviting but trust me the food was amazing and there was even a village cat to entertain you whilst you eat.
As Lanzarote provides the perfect environment for cacti and succulents take advantage of the opportunity to buy lots of aloe vera based products. I treated myself to some aloe vera lip balm and soap both of which are lovely.

Regular readers of my blog will have read my rantings on the ridiculous refuse collection the UK seems to be adopting so how refreshing it was to re-live the Mediterranean way of getting rid of your rubbish. During the week my husband and I made only two trips to the local refuse collection points, it is within walking distance of the house and can be used as often or as little as you like, so the day you cook fresh fish you can get rid of any remains quickly and easily without waiting for the swarm of flies and ants to move into your bin. This way of getting rid of rubbish suits all, even the oldest occupant of the island seems to be able to manage to carry a carrier bag sized bin to their communal bin and of course each refuse collection point also features an array of recycling bins so that you can effectively dispose of your rubbish. I didn't see one overflowing bin or any litter - take note Plymouth!!

My final meal of the holiday was eaten at the capital of Areccife and was a Canarian speciality of black spaghetti with garlic and king prawns - trust me it is absolutely delicious. I know most people haven't been convinced by the picture below but the proof is in the eating:

I could carry on writing all day but I am sure that I have bombarded you with enough smugness for the whole week. To summarise Lanzarote is a great island getaway which I can highly recommend to anyone, it is renowned for its surfing, para gliding, hang gliding and cycling so can be a great activity hotspot if you like a little more action. If, like me, you prefer the ultimate relaxation then go and simply enjoy the weather and the food! I am now feeling completely revitalised and ready to take on the world so be warned!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 5 December 2008

I'm back!

After a fantastic weeks break in Lanzarote I am back in beautful Plymouth. I will blog later about my holiday and the stunning island that has been my home for a week. In the meantime check out the full video of Felix's winning performance at Miss Pole Dance Australia. I do not have the words to describe it:

You simply must check out Sue's (Georgina Gale) pictures from her latest photoshoot with Chris Trent from global eye photography.

More news from me tomorrow,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

After having my first good nights sleep since last Thursday I am ready to blog about the Pole Divas championships that were held in Pure, The Printworks Manchester. OK so the title of my blog is misleading as there is no ugly section but there is the good and the bad: The actual competition was very well organised and was a pleasure to attend, the orgnaiserss, Faye, Josephine and Bubble worked hard to ensure that everything ran smoothly. The competitors were absolutely lovely and despite the presence of nearly 30 girls in the performers area there was no bitchiness and everyone was just there to support each other. Despite my praise of the event I do have several criticisms which i wll raise with the girls next week.

Firstly I have to air concern over the distinction between amateur / amateur advanced and professional. I believe that professionals are those who have been paid for work whether it be via lap dancing, teaching or exhibiting but the distinction between the amateur and amateur advanced section are much more fuzzy. The amateur girls were not allowed to invert or do the Knee conditioning trick yet some of the girls including the winner did moves such as the Spider pose and climb to half flag which are incredibly difficult and demsontrate the fact that these girls are not amateur, this then creates a problem for the genuine amateurs as they don't stand a chance of winning. I think we need to address the rules to make them fairer for the genuine amateurs. The lady that shone for me in the amatuer section was Jess, she put on a real show and danced beautifully, I will try to find a link for her video and post it on my return from holiday.

Secondly I do have reservations about exactly what criteria the judges are working too, I was impressed that for the first time ever in a competition all the judges actually knew about pole dancing but their decision over the amateur advanced section still defies logic. The win was given to lady called Orla who did perform well but was no where near either Fallon (who was not placed) and Sasha who was given 2nd. I am still waiting for mine and Tamar's scorecards to see how we did overall and hope that the scorecards will give me a little more insight into exactly how the judges were scoring. If you want to see the performances I am talking about then just click the following names - Orla (winner of the amateur advanced section, Sasha - came 2nd, Fallon - not placed but should have been in my opinion. Here is the professional winning entry from Sally Ann Giles.

Sid & Jo were discussing the idea that it might be nice to judge in the following way: Each section has a list of permitted moves and essential moves so for example if you were in professional you would have to do a minimum of 5 tricks from a set list and then the rest of the choreography is up to you. They score things like figure skating in a similar way. Each trick has a set score so that competitors can be marked on how well the execute the move as well as being marked on timing to the music and fluidity getting in and out of the trick.

I must say again how proud I am of Tamar's performance at Pole Divas, it was slick, fluid and graceful - you can view the whole video on Tamars latest blog. As Tamar has been such a great student I have decided to offer her a job with us as a pole dancing instructor, i know that she will make a great teacher and will also continue to develop her pole dancing skills with the art of dance - Welcome to the team Tamar!

Anyway, I will stop whinging for now and get back to work. I will blog again on my return from holiday and will no doubt be very smug!

Stay healthy,

Sam x x

Pictures shown on this blog are provided courtesy of Sarah Collinge. All pictures are of my performance at the Pole Divas finals 2008. Top left = Gemini variation (inside arm grabs outside leg), Top right = Extended Butterfly, Bottom left = Rocketman variation (I call it the rocket star), Bottom right = Brass Monkey.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Pole Diva national finals 2008

I have just got home after my weekend away in Bradford and then Manchester for the pole divas championships 2008. The weekend in Bradford was lovely and gave me the opportunity to try to relax a bit before the competition. Sid's mum took us to Akbars in Bradford for a fantastic curry, I had the King Prawn Special which was really tasty but I failed to eat much as pre comp nerves were starting to take their toll and I was feeling quite sick! Breakfast didn't go down much better despite my efforts to eat as much as possible during the morning. I opted for two carb based energy drinks and some nuts to see me through the afternoon.

As I am so tired today that I will have to blog fully tomorrow, I will tell you that I did not make the top 2 positions for the professional section and will have to wait and see my final overall score and placing. Tamar danced in the amateur advanced section and did the art of dance proud, she was graceful, fluid and elegant, she also failed to make the top 2. There was strong competition for both Tamar and I and I did not envy the job of the judges. You can see the results on Puss's blog. I must thank my husband for looking after me so well during the weekend, he even gave me massage before I went on to stage to help my muscles perform to their max - Thanks Sid!! More pictures and info to follow when I have had some more sleep - hope you like my performance!

Just found a link! Check out the fabulous performance by the very lovely Annie Norris from Pure Pole, Annie came 2nd.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The debate continues

Here is the article that was featured in today's Herald on the ongoing sex industry / lap dancing debate, more comments from me to follow.

As I am off to compete in the Pole Divas finals this weekend and won't be back till Monday I may not blog till then so have a great weekend in my absence and think of me on Sunday!!

Whilst I am away you may like to catch up with the latest from UPPDC Nixi via her latest blog.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Pole dancing vs lap dancing

Well the pole / lap dancing / sex industry debate continues as Home Secretary Jacqui Smith launches into a debate over new legislation, we expect to hear within the next few days exactly what the legislation will be and more importantly how it will be worded. I fear that the new wording will have a detrimental effect on my right to performance pole dancing but will have to wait and see for now. I know that the group Object have been involved with the current debate and I am annoyed that they have failed to respond to two e-mails I have sent them asking them for feedback. You can click here to see Jacqui's speech regarding attitudes to brothels and sex trafficking on BBC news this morning. Here is another video from the BBC on the lap dancing debate.

As regular readers of this blog will know I have received support from councillor Linda Bowyer who has aired my concerns at her maiden speech at the council chambers last week so a big thank you to Linda. The debate will continue in the local and national press over the next few days or weeks so I will keep you posted. The current debate has so many twists and turns and it is, as always, very difficult to draw the line between a sexual act and a non sexual act without suddenly resorting to draconian measure such as banning salsa dancing because it may be seen as sexual! I just hope that the new laws aim to protect girls working within the sex industry without infringing on our human rights therefore limiting freedom of self expression.

I will write a full blog when I have seen the final decisions made by Jacqui Smith and her colleagues. My last comment for today is that I hope that any new legislation does help the individuals it is setting out to aid rather than just becoming another stealth tax for club owners, let's face it a higher tax on the club owner is not going to guarantee a better working environment for the girls? Until then I thought I would leave you with this video, if performance pole dancing is restricted this may be the last time I can post a video of this nature - here is performance pole dancing that definitely does not exploit women!!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Big Question?

On Friday evening I attended the Big Question at Plymouth University's Sherwell Centre. The event was a question and answer session featuring local leaders who would be open to questions from the audience, anyone was welcome although the attendance was a little disappointing. I reckon there were only about 50 people in total! On the panel were Alison Seabeck, Labour MP, Tudor Evans, Labour councillor, Wendy Purcell, Vice-chancellor and Chief Executive of Plymouth University, Richard Smith, owner of Plymouth gin distillery and Deputy Vice Chair of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Councillor Ian Bowyer, Conservative councillor for Eggbuckland and Oliver Colville, MP for. The event was chaired by Bill Martin, editor of the Herald pictured left.

On arriving I was greeted by Keith Rossiter, political correspondent for the Herald, we chatted briefly before he moved onto to introduce himself to others. I was thrilled to see Councilor Linda Bowyer who informed me that she had raised some points for me at a recent council meeting, firstly my desire to allow fitness pole performances at certain council events and secondly my concern about new lap dancing legislation and the wording of any such legislation. Any moves to categorise performance pole dancing as a sexual act could lead to real problems within the fitness pole dancing and performing arts industries.

Linda and I grabbed some seats whilst waiting for the meeting to commence, There was a very lovely slide show going on behind the panel which featured beautiful images of Plymouth - all very impressive. I won't go into all the questions posed but will give you a little personal feedback: In my opinion the majority of the audience do not see the Life Centre to be as important as some other projects which have been postponed due to the current financial climate. I am of course somewhat biased as I do not think the life centre is really going to give Plymouth what is being promised. Oliver Colville argued that the Life Centre would deal with obesity but I have to disagree, it is proven that those who are obese and fear exercise would rather go to a smaller group than a large centre. I just worry that the Life centre will never set out to achieve its aims and think that projects such as the bus station should have greater precedence.

Click here for the herald coverage of the event. I must congratulate Bill martin from the herald for organising this event and hope it will be the start of more public meetings to enable the people of Plymouth to make their voices heard. I am already looking forward to the next Big question!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 14 November 2008

Taking pole dancing to a fresh audience

I have been meaning to report back on a recent exhibition at the Echo Centre in Liskeard, Cornwall. Myself and fellow instructor Hayley had been invited to do a pole dancing demo at the centre by manager Helen Winchurch. We jumped at the chance to take pole dancing to a new audience and were pleased to also get lots of interest from the local press. On arrival we were greeted with lots of smiling faces who were excited about the pending demonstration but were also not really sure what to expect. The usual stereotypes were still at the forefront of most peoples minds and I think the general assumption was that that both Hayley and I had come from the nearest lap dancing club and were going to do a very sexy dance - how wrong they were.

I danced first followed by Hayley and we were both rewarded with rapturous applause, I then invited clients from the centre to have a go and was overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers. Rather then me rabbiting on I will let the pictures tell the story:

To summarise, both Hayley and I had thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Echo Centre, it is a fabulous facility with a bunch of fantastic clients and carers. I must also take the opportunity to thank the manager, Helen, for inviting us in the first place and giving us this valuable opportunity. There are more pictures on our art of dance facebook group and on Hayley's blog! Must dash now as I am off to the Big question. Don't forget for you lucky Devonians there is a Pole Jam at the art of dance studio from 12.30pm till 4pm tomorrow. £5 on the door - 50% goes to the Anthony Nolan trust.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Pole Divas looms (and women's problems - sorry guys!)

I have just over 1 week of practice left for Pole Divas and I am starting to worry. My strength has not been at its best and a very nasty period has hardly inspired me to be on the pole. After my harsh judging at Miss Pole Dance it has knocked my confidence slightly and I am really worried that I will not perform to the best of my ability. My right shoulder, right knee and left elbow are still grumbling, they probably could do with some rest but that ain't about to happen especially with the 3 and half hour pole jam on Saturday at the Plymouth studio.

I think my main concern is that the endometriosis which plagued me in my teens and twenties is returning with avengance. The pain is increasing month by month, the heavy flow is increasing again and the result is more tiredness and a general fear of returning to the GP. I have pretty much run out of treatment options having had 3 laparoscopies, 2 courses of Zolidax, tried nearly every contraceptive treatment, Chinese medicine etc etc.

Still things could be an awful lot worse so it is back to the pole for an hour with Tamar to try to perfect our routines.
I have decided on which song i am going to dance to and it is Sam Sparro - black and gold (Island records),. After my slating at MPD I have decided to go back to my original style and aim for pure femininity and grace and if the judges don't like that then tough! I will have my husbands family in the audience so I hope they will enjoy the performance!

Off to battle with period cramps and pole dancing!!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Exercising different muscles.

After two hours of pole dancing yesterday starting with an hour of inverts with Jo and then an hour of world class moves I am certainly feeling the effects today, particularly in my right shoulder! Rather than having a complete rest today I thought it would be a good time to talk about muscle exercise of a slightly different nature.

Your kegel muscles are very important to you but many people don't even know where they are let alone what they are for? Kegel muscles or pubococcygeus (PC) muscles, as they are correctly called, are found in the pelvis and they should be exercised daily! The term kegel comes from gynecologist Dr Arnold Kegel who was first known to have developed exercise for the PC muscles.

The benefits of exercising these little muscles are staggering, they can prevent erectile dysfunction, prevent incontinence and improve your sex life! For men there is a wealth of information at, this site includes a daily workout schedule to keep your PC muscles in tip top condition! A common myth is that you need some expensive piece of kit to exercise these muscles but this isn't true, although pelvic floor devices can help, simple manual exercises are just as effective and are free! For all you ladies out there I found this song to help you on your way!! Advice for mothers can be found at For General advice for women including how to exercise whilst sitting, standing or laying down click here.

Locating your PC muscles is easy, one way to identify them is to stop urinating mid flow, hold the flow for a few seconds then release then repeat, this will enable you to feel how the muscles work. You can exercise your PC muscles anywhere at any time and no one will know! Obviously if you are having problems such as incontinence it may still be wise to get checked out by your GP to ensure there are no underlying problems.

Now onto a very important subject: Best looking coach at Saints gym, now as we all know Sid, my husband, is obviously the best looking coach at Saints gym but he has now fallen slightly behind Becky in the current Saints poll! Please help Sid win by clicking this link and voting for him, don't let Bex cheat him out of victory!

I couldn't finish todays blog without mentioning rememberance Sunday, my husband and I respected the 2 minutes silence at 11am this morning thinking not only about those who have lost their lives through war in the past but also remembering those who are still serving their countries today!
You can click on the picture, above, for a story from Canada news proving that rememberance day is as important now as it was in 1918.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Other bloggers

As I am a little frazzled from the week at work so far I will refer you to some other great bloggers: Apparently there is some guy called Barack Obama who has something very exciting to blog about, Glamour Puss has devoted Elegantly Dressed Wednesday to Barack Obama and I know that AmyTree is also over the moon about Obama's win.

Other bloggers I have been following include
Ellie Hopton, she blogs for the Herald on dieting and has successfully lost a stone in 4 weeks, her new approach to dieting is great, she has put aside the faddy diets and overpriced industry dieting food and opted for eating sensibly and in moderation. Read all about it here.

Next -
Rachel Andrews, whilst I lounge on the sofa writing my blog, Rachel is about to embark on a 12 day mission to reach the magnetic North Pole. It seems her training regime is going well and I wish her all the best for her journey. The ambitious trek will raise money for the Amber Trust, read all about it by clicking here.

Sgt Trevor Skeggs has been taking about homesickness whilst serving in Afghanistan and Dominic Jeff has been blogging about climbing in Devon.

You can catch up with pole dancing news from Singapore with blogger Suzie Wong but enough blogger news for now.

I thought I would finish with some news on stripping, People constantly assume that I am a stripper and I have read many arguments in recent press about the degradation of Women who strip or lap dance so imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a bunch of disabled male strippers! The Crippendales are a male striptease act - I want to know when are they coming to Plymouth??

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 3 November 2008

An early start

It is not usual for me to be up at 7.30am but today I had the pleasure of being on air with Gordon Sparks (pictured left) to further my crusade to improve perceptions of fitness pole dancing. Prior to me, Gordon was interviewing Chief Superintendent Jim Webster (pictured below right), Jim is at the forefront of the battle to enforce new legislation for 'pole dancing' clubs and I have been keen to chat to him for some time. Before I had he chance to ask Jim offered the chance to meet with him to discuss current and new legislation but also to ensure that any new legislation for pole dancing has no negative consequence for my industry. I look forward to meeting with Jim and will keep you posted on any progress that we make.

After my chat with Jim, I spent half an hour with Gordon talking mainly about pole dancing but venturing off the subject to mention real ale and my husband. After such an entertaining start to the day it is back to normality as I try to locate my plumber so he can fix my broken boiler, we have had no hot water or heating all weekend and I really need a bath!

Yesterday I spent most of the day uploading information to my new website - the pole dance community - the website is not available for public viewing yet but I hope it will be a valuable tool in bringing together the fitness pole dancing industry and in moving the industry forwards. Watch this space.

I am not teaching today as it is an admin day so be warned that the Lordette of Darkness herself will be at the helm and ready to beast all the students as usual! In Exeter Rosanna will be doing much of the same!

Off to do some more work on the pole dance community site before venturing into the office to tackle the day to day admin before commencing some more vigorous training on Tuesday!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Check out Kelly's puppy pics!! They are so cute! Also Tamar has some fab new pics from the Pole Divas qualifiers.

Friday, 31 October 2008

So much to tell you

Well what a week, I had my last day with the BBC3 team yesterday and will miss them both terribly even if I don't miss the cameras! On Wednesday, My Mum, Suzy and Itamar went to the Mussel Inn and had the most glorious meal and then last night Sid, Jo, Suzy, Itamar and I ventured down to the Waterfront for a lobster supper which was simply divine, it was nice to spend some time with the BBC crew without the cameras and to showcase to them some of Plymouth.

I have just received a load of pictures from Miss Pole dance Uk 2008 and the Pole Divas South west qulaifiers 2008, thanks to James at for the lovely images from Pole Divas and Jason Parlour for the Miss Pole Dance pictures:

You can check out all the other pictures on the art of dance facebook.

Other events this week included the arrival of a beautiful parcel from India from one of our students Kate Tolliday, Kate is a veterinary nurse who is volunteering in India for 6 months. Kate sent us some temple flags as well as some fresh Indian tea leaves and a lovely postcard keeping us up to date on her work in India. Hopefully Kate will send us some pictures so I can share them with you.

Yesterday saw the Flexi funksters aka the University of Plymouth pole dancing club taking on the Eggheads and winning £16,000, congratulations girls I am so proud of you! You can watch the episode here. Yesterday also saw me visiting the council chambers to meet with Councillor Linda Bowyer to air my concerns about new 'pole dancing legislation which could affect my right to performance pole dancing. I raised the following concerns: Firstly that lap dancing clubs are using the term 'pole dancing club' to make them seem more socially acceptable and this has a knock on effect for the fitness pole dancing industry, secondly that I agree with the need for new legislation for lap dancing clubs and thirdly to question why I am not allowed to perform at council events such as Lord mayors day. Linda answered all my questions and I was more than pleased with how the meeting went. Linda will be taking my concerns back to both Plymouth City Council and higher government so I will keep you posted on developments.

On Tuesday, Hayley and I performed at the Echo Centre in Liskeard with a fantastic group of individuals - I will report back on this in full detail next week!

On Wednesday I renewed my sponsorship of world champion Muay Thai fighter Christi Campbell, my sponsorship means that Chrsti can continue to have extra maths lessons at home to help her with her pending GCSE's - sorry Christi!

I should take the time to dispel the myth about Tracey Simmonds at Miss Pole dance, I was led to believe that Tracey came 2nd and not 1st because her song was longer than 5 mins, but apparently this was not the case, the DJ did fade the song out at 5 mins, I still think Tracey should have won. To make matters worse I found out that I was placed 10th out of 13 in the finals which I am absolutely gutted about. I am not allowed to see my scorecards but was informed that my highest score was a very respectable 102.5 out of 120 but my lowest score was 54 out of 120. I am not allowed to know which judge gave me such a ridiculoulsy low score and the discrepancy between scores suggest a problem with the judging. I really believed I had done better than 10th but will have to wait to see the DVD to review my judgment. On a positive note i have just heard that Tracey will be down in Plymouth in Jan / Feb so I am looking forward to sharing pole dancing tips with the master herself!

After the hecticness of being followed by cameras for 4 weeks I am finally able to catch up with some admin! I also have the whole day of on Sunday which is fab and am hoping to finish of my working day tomorrow with a sports massage! it will be back to work as normal on Monday with a very early start due to the facts that I am on BBC radio Plymouth with the gorgeous Gordon Sparks from 8.30pm till 9pm. I am staying of the pole for the next few days but will be back with a vengance on Tuesday!

I still have loads more to tell you but need to disappear off to do the wages for the end of the month! I will leave you with this picture of me doing the rocketman at the Miss Pole Dance UK finals.Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 26 October 2008

More videos for you.

I forgot to get someone to video my performance last night but I did manage to capture Jo, Tamar, Nicole, Hayley and Sue. All danced brilliantly and it is a shame the videos are so dark - hope you can still appreciate the wonderful performances! Thanks to Annabel for letting us have the venue. Happy Birthday to Rosanna and congratulations again on your engagement.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Pole news from a very bruised and aching person!

The argument about lap / pole dancing clubs continues this week as Plymouth gets it 4th lap dancing club. I was pleased to read this article from Herald reporter Mary O'leary which points out that what we at the art of dance do is not the same as what goes on within the lap dancing clubs. I have a meeting with Councillor Linda Bowyer on Thursday next week to discuss new legislation regarding pole / lap dancing to ensure that the wording of any new law will not adversely affect my right to pole dance, to air my concerns about why I am excluded from various events such as Lord Mayor's day and to question why none of the councillors who are voicing concerns about such lap dancing establishments have ever actually been inside one.

On the subject of pole dancing I think I am over training slightly at the moment, preparations for Miss Pole dance saw a dramatic increase in the amount of hours I spent on the pole and I am still keeping my training regime up for Pole Divas, In addition to this I have been teaching a lot and performing including a 2.5 hour stint on Thursday night at the Saints party - read Jo's blog for more info and check out the BBC docu next year for footage from the event! I also managed to add about 8 hours teaching to my exercise timetable and am performing tonight at Annabel's. My legs resemble that of a Dalmatian and my shoulders feel as though they are about to fall out of their sockets. I would like to say that I have a day of rest tomorrow but am cornering at UCP Marjon for one of sid's fighters - no peace for the wicked.

The TV crew are still with me and yesterday we had the pleasure of doing interviews in glorious sunshine on the Hoe, It made me proud to be Plymouthian and I took the opportunity to take the cameras along the main waterfront as well as the Barbican including a visit to Cap'n Jaspers for a fresh Barbican crab roll. Next week should be the last week of filming so I can get back t a bit more normality in the workplace but I will miss Suzy and Itimar as they have been such a pleasure to spend time with.

Like me Tamar is going through the usual set of stresses and worries about the pending Pole Divas championships. You can read Tamar's latest blog by clicking here.

You can probably tell by today's blog that i am feeling physically exhausted so will stop writing for now.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 20 October 2008

More from Miss Pole Dance UK

Well it is back to normality for me today after the recent stress of the national finals. I ventured out briefly on Saturday for Mel & Mia's fabulous 30th birthday but was extremely tired so didn't stay out long. Here are some pictures from the night, Jo & I are pictured right and Mel, Rosanna & Mia are pictured below left. Everyone looked amazing! There are many more pictures on Mia's facebook album As the costumes were so stunning we are going to arrange an art of dance social with the same theme very soon - Watch this space.

On the subject of Rosanna you may want to check out her blog features her Exeter student Nicole Windley performing at Annabel's discotheque in August 2008

If any of you were not booked in for this Tuesday's lesson due to the presence of the film crew then fear not as the crew won;t be down till later in the week and will not be filming lessons till next week.

For more details about Miss Pole Dance 2008 check Puss's blog, it explains why Tracey didn't win! The picture shown at the top of the blog is of myself and the rest of the competitors at Miss Pole Dance UK 2008- I am the one far left.

Did I mention that I had the coolest Mum in the world - how many of your parents have seen Pantera in the flesh doing a death lay? I also observed my mum talking to a pole dance teacher during the competitions and discussing the various moves in great technical detail with my Mum explaining that the Gemini was still her favourite move! This is what my Mum witnessed. Here are a few pictures of Pantera taken during her 10 minute showcase at the end of the evening, the first is the elusive death lay and the second is Pantera new take on her old bow and arrow pose. I must take this opportunity to welcome Pantera to the art of dance facebook group.

Jo is on the road to recovery but I want to wish her get well anyway - get well soon Jo!

Before I sign off to beast my students for the next 2 hours I wanted to draw your attention the the following article which I found on the internet whilst searching for pictures of this years competition, you can read my comment below the offending article to get my viewpoint. I just hate the assumption that pole dancing is all about dancing for men.

Stay healthy,

Sam x