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.