Friday, 30 January 2009

The morning after!

photograph courtesy of Tamar Preston.

Well as you can imagine the last 24 hours have been very interesting for me, since my chat with the Press Association on Thursday morning things have gone absolutely mental. When I was contacted by the PA I expected that some newspapers might cover the story but i had no idea that the story was about to go international! Within 7 hours of the story breaking it was being reported in America and Australia. It seems funny that my Innocent pole dancing display could cause so much fuss and ironically if the college had backed me in the first place the story would have never made the headlines!

What has been amazing is the overwhelmingly positive feedback I have received from around the world, messages have been pouring in via my blog, e-mail, facebook and YouTube, it seems that actually most people are educated about the benefits of pole dancing as a way to keep fit and have fun and it is only a very small minority that fail to understand my chosen sport.

Something I did learn from the minority is how nasty some people can be although rather than being upset buy certain comments they actually made me laugh at the individuals who had made them, Thanks to Stuart for sending me the e-mail stating that the reason I was a pole dancer was due to the fact that I wasn't pretty enough to make it into a lap dancing club and thanks to the Herald commenter who pointed out that I was fat and therefore pole dancing couldn't be good for fitness, it is funny that most people don't see "my rolls of fat".

A big Thank you to Jolene from Purity Pole for her extremely supportive blog, thanks also to all the body and pole forum members who have given me great feedback.

As usual my staff team have been absolutely brilliant and I had the pleasure of jamming with most of them yesterday, we were joined by the lovely Kate from Spin City Pole Fitness in Bristol who joined us amidst the chaos of radio and TV interviews. I must also thank my amazing students who have also been sending me messages of support throughout the whole saga.

I really want to send my love and thanks to the sports officer at South Devon College who booked me to do this event, No doubt she has taken some stick over the whole furore and it is such a shame as she is passionate about her students, passionate about sport and is a fantastic asset to South Devon College. I must add that the actual college itself has the most impressive facilities and must be a great college to attend.

It is now late in the afternoon so I am off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday as well as looking forward to a family meal with my Grandad tomorrow, he is now settled into Sunnymeade residential home and my family & I are really impressed with the level of care he is getting.

Brave student Kim had another operation yesterday but is battling on as usual - Hope you are able to go home soon Kim x x

I will leave you with a few of the positive comments I have received over the last 24 hours, there are too many to list them all so I have just selected a few for you to read:

I am a student at this college and saw the demonstration being performed. The performance which I saw did not come across as a sexual performance, and was definatly more to do with fitness, strength and exercise. I personally have tried these classes at a top London Theatre School and found it a lot harder than one first throught! The media is always going on about the fact that teenagers and children are over weight and nothing is being done about it.....well when a variety of activites are offered, which are of interest to younger people why is it slated so much? This College has just recieved OUTSTANDING by Ofsted and this is not only down to the teaching but due to the facilities and extra activities that it offers.

I think they should invite Sam to start a fitness class at South Devon College for students and staff and perhaps an evening class for the wider community! I would think that most of the staff and students are very happy about the demonstration and can see the pole dancing that Sam does is a blend of gymnastics and dance, nothing provocative about it at all. I am amazed at the negative responses. How is it controversial? It is interesting to compare the headlines and opening sentences in the Sun and Mail with other papers too! I wish the college would stand its ground and back Sam. They certainly shouldn't give in to the negative criticism. Devon Mum

“Reactionary is right. Another case of the media jumping on two buzzwords and not portraying the true story. Anyone that sees the video will know that this isn't the kind of 'pole dancing' or lap dancing you see in shady clubs, but is something gymnastically themed and quite beautiful.
That aside, thanks Sam, because I've never seen this time of routine before and it's really impressive. Hopefully more people will take the time to actually watch it rather than blindly swallowing what the media feeds, and you can get the credit you deserve!”


I only found your site via the BBC News website and therefore you know to which story I'm referring.

Clearly the school were being excessively cautious but they've done you a favour because the subsequent publicity must be lighting up your server! I sincerely hope it energizes your business.

I've never seen any examples of pole dancing except for the cliched lap dancing club evidence on TV and it was amazing to see what you can achieve. I've seen various circus performers who would be put to shame by your gymnastic capability and artistry, the 'Cirque de Soleil' crew for one.

Good luck to you and your people. We need artists of your calibre and keep up the marvellous work.

Phil White

St Neots


Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Trouble at mill part 2

If you haven't already seen today's news then you will have missed the controversy over whether I should have pole danced at South Devon College and whether the display was appropriate. From my point of view it seems the story has been blown out of all proportion as it was a simple fitness display blending dance and gymnastics. I will blog fully later but in the meantime you can check out the story in the Herald, news lite, New York daily news, BBC News The Daily Mail, the Metro's reactionary editorial, Torquay Herald Express, The Telegraph and the story as reported by ITN, or if you fancy a laugh read the Sun who describe me as a busty brunette! keep an eye on tonight's news for more discussion and debate!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A new blog much sooner than expected!

Although I have already blogged today I simply had to blog again after reading AmyTrees blog, I just wanted to thank AmyTree for her very kind words,

Sam x

p.s. if like me you enjoy looking at good photography and you like pictures of cute animals then you will love the uglorable blog that I have added to my useful links section. Here are a couple of my favourite pictures from the blog, Baby Beemer the blue fronted amazon, grouper groupies, and last but certainly not least a picture guaranteed to brighten your day:the smiling salamander

A big sigh of relief

Apologies for not blogging over the past few days but Mr Taxman insists that all 07/08 accounts are submitted by January 31st, it has been my intention throughout the year to keep on top of my book-keeping and accounts but as you have probably gathered I have not done so. As a result I have spent today and yesterday doing said accounts and collating and numbering receipts. I truly hate doing accounts but am relieved to know that they are out of the way for another year is great.

The nasty accounts are not the only reason for not blogging, On Friday I spent the day in London, it was a truly momentous meeting at the Equity HQ but you will have to wait to hear exactly what happened. What I can tell you is that hopefully the Pole dancing industry is about to move dramatically forwards in a very positive direction.

On top of the accounts and the London trip I am desperately trying to deal with the completion of the 2nd studio and the essential planning of the pending 5th Birthday Bash, news on both subjects to follow. I have also been arranging the next stage of filming for the forthcoming art of dance pole dancing DVD's. All the aforementioned activities are in addition to the general day to day hassles of running your own business but I love it really!

The Lordette of Darkness returned today which is a big relief as I do lean on her a lot at work and I have missed her whilst she has been away. Keep an eye on Jo's blog for smug holiday news from her skiing holiday.

Oh and just to add to the mayhem I have taken delivery of 8 very cute cockatiels, 5 grey males, 1 adult cinnamon female and 2 ultra cute cinnamon babies, the birds settled into their new home almost immediately and are adorable to watch.

I will keep it short and sweet today but will blog again very soon,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Trouble at mill!

As some of you will know I did several pole dancing displays at South Devon College last week as part of their 'Be Healthy week'. The first set of displays happened on the Wednesday in the main public area called the Street, there was a very large crowd who seemed to be positive in their response to us. When we returned on Friday we were asked to display in a different area as we were told there had been complaints about our display on the Wednesday and therefore the decision had been made to place us in the sports hall instead. On querying the nature of the complaints I was told that most of the complaints had come from members of staff who had not actually seen our displays but had just assumed that they were inappropriate for their students.

I had filmed several of the displays and had then uploaded them to YouTube, this is when the trouble escalated. Yesterday I received an e-mail from South Devon College asking me to remove the videos, I consented to removing the videos that had students in them as they had not signed any consent forms but I refused to remove the videos filmed in the sports hall as they did not feature any students or references to the college, As an act of goodwill I removed all tags and titles that linked to South Devon College or their 'Be Healthy week,.

This morning I received a call from a journalist at the National Press association asking me questions about the display at South Devon College. The journalist explained that he was going to contact SDC for a press release and would get back to me later. I then contacted SDC to relay my conversation with the press office to them. I was then contacted by the Vice Presdent of SDC. Basically the college are trying to distance themselves from the display as much as possible and are arguring that I should not be making the event public, I pointed out that it was natural for any business to use a promotion such as Be Healthy week to advertise their business in a positive way. I mentioned that only this week the Plymouth raiders (who also exhibited at the SDC) had visited a Plymouth School to promote fitness and the story had been featured in the herald, I saw that story and thought it was no different to me advertising my display at the College.

I have been told that SDC have refused to give an official press release to the press but have stated that 'a pole fitness display did take place at the college but that it was not pole dancing'. I responded to the SDC by saying that our display was mixture of pole dancing and gymnastics, I also explained that unless we educate people in the differences between modern fitness pole dancing and lap dancing then we will never dispel the myths and negative stereotypes that surround fitness pole dancing then we will never move the industry forwards.

Today I really felt the stress of having bad pole dancing stereotypes thrown in my face yet again, I was annoyed to think that mainstream pop group such as the pussycat dolls seem to promote inappropriate behaviour far more than my pole dancing classes. If anything my classes empower women and therefore encourage them to be in control of their bodies.

To be honest I am still glued to my soap box and not about to get down in any hurry, I will give my statement to the press tomorrow and will not be silenced by SDC, I completely understand that representatives of SDC need to protect the image of their college but as my display was completely fitness based and as my business is about promoting good physical and mental heath I see no reason to silence the event. Watch this space for further developments on the ongoing debate.........

Stay Healthy.

Sam x

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A very brave bunny!

You may be wondering why I have started my blog with a playboy bunny image, well the reason is that gorgeous student Kim Quaintance absolutely loves the Playboy brand and as this blog is all about her I thought it would be apt!

Kim was admitted to hospital on Boxing day after an infection attacked her portacath, being a cystic fibrosis sufferer Kim's port is her lifeline, the port is a totally implantable venous device which is crucial to Kim's health. To cut a long story short the new year period was hell for Kim and she spent much time in Intensive care before being allowed onto Culme ward, a lung specialist unit. I am absolutely amazed at Kim's bravery, I have never heard her whinge or complain about her condition, even as she sat on her bed in pain and discomfort she still smiled and asked me how things were going. Kim apologised for the state she was in, she explained that she had not washed her hair for three weeks but luckily for Kim she always looks fantastic, I bet she still looked fab when she was in intensive care too!

Anyway Kim is definitely fighting the infection and hopes that she will be able to return to her new home soon. Apparently the house is bedecked in Playboy bunnies and her treatment room is decked out with oxygen cylinders, meds and of course it features a pole! The pole was provided by the East Devon Cystic Fibrosis quality of life fund and I am expecting pictures from Kim of her practiscing on it as soon as she gets home.

For now Kim is still too weak to leave her bed but I hope that when I return to see her she will be off the oxygen and also able to venture up to the Hospital restaurant, she explained to me that the standard hopsital food is awful. Kim will require another op to install a new portacath but I am sure that she will continue to show the same strength and determination she has already shown.

Unfortunately for Kim there were no Young attractive male doctors on her ward so I have sent her a few male pole dancing videos (click here for the latest from Timber Brown!) to keep her entertained! I will be getting a card for all at the art of dance to sign but if you do have any inspiring messages for this very brave lady then please leave them on the comments section so I can print them and e-mail them to her.

On the subject of technology I was horrified to learn how much patients are charged for the us of bedside TVs and phones, apparently Patientline has ludicrous charges for its services and the TV costs about £15 for 5 days! Luckily Kim is able to access most services for free as she is a regular in-patient but I still feel it is wrong to charge so much for these services.

FAO - Kim - if you are reading this, I hope you do not mind me writing so much about you but I feel that you are such an inspiration to others that I simply had to blog about you!

If any of you are feeling a little generous and want to donate to a cystic fibrosis charity then click on either the EDCF site or the CF Trust to see how you can help or donate.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 16 January 2009

More videos from an unamed college in Devon!

Today I performed at a college that now I am not allowed to name as there have been so many complaints about having pole dancing at the college! I then visited lovely student Kim Quaintance at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital but that deserves a whole blog to itself which I will write tomorrow. In the meantime here are two videos from some of todays exhibiting.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Today I performed at the South Devon College as part of their Be Healthy Week. The week was designed to encourage students at the college to do more exercise. We danced on the infamous art of dance stage renowned for being very wobbly and with a podium base that is guaranteed to rip your skin off! Kelly and I took it in turns to dance in front of a very good crowd. I have been forced to remove the vidoes of the dispalys due to complaints from staff at the college - I will be following up this story soon!

Not content with 30 minutes solid of exhibiting I decided to join Jo's pole class at 6.15pm this evening. I was already missing several bits of skin so entered the class with varous bandages, plasters and thai socks adorning my body! Just for Glamour Puss here is what I mean by 'Shoulder Mount to Seat' - Enjoy:

Check out this beautiful new picture of Tamar demonstrating Felix's figurehead.

Lastly big thanks to AmyTree for the divine carrot cake and enjoy your chat with Sue x x

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A long Sunday blog

I must apologise for the lack of blogging during the latter part of the week but as my regular
readers will know I prefer to blog when feeling very positive and I have not really been feeling that way. The cold doesn't help one's mood and it is also that time of the month when a girl does not feel at her best. Business is tough at the moment although I think it is less to do with the credit crunch and more to do with the large number of bugs doing the rounds, I also have several students off having moles removed.

To be honest most of the real financial worries come from the rising overheads involved in running a business rather than just lack of student numbers, the council tax is still extortionate and there are so many little bills that keep cropping up such as fire extinguisher checks, trade waste disposal, pole replacements etc etc......

I am sure that things will pick up or at least I sincerely hope they will. As cash flow at work is so difficult I am in the position of having to borrow some money to tide me over, this is not a decision I wanted to take as there is no guarantee that business will pick up but after 5 years work building up the art of dance I have no intention of throwing the towel in yet. In addition to the small business loan I have also booked myself on two workshops which I will discuss in full in a week or so.

Despite the current money shortage there is still lots going on at the art of dance and I am taking the risk of re-opening pole dancing classes in Torquay, By Wednesday I should have the fantastic new venue confirmed, Watch this space. Next week also involves Kelly & I performing at the South Devon College Be Healthy week. Here is the space in which we will perform in front of hundreds if not thousands of people!I hope to video the event and blog it sometime soon. I must mention how impressed I was with the facilities at the college, it is, as Ofsted have described it, outstanding.

For those of you who have been kind enough to ask about my Grandad her is a quick update:
On Friday afernoon my family & I met with professionals dealing with my Grandad's care so that we could help to plan my grandad's future. Louise, the social worker and Jenny from the R.I.T.A. team are an asset to their profession and made a difficult hour a little easier. Jenny commented that my grandad was the best looking 85 year old she had ever seen, a fact that he would have been very pleased with. It has been decided that Grandpa should go into a residential home ASAP. I think my Nan feels as though she is letting him down but knows that she can't possibly provide the level of care that my Grandad requires especially not on a 24 hour basis.

Today my Mum, Uncle & Nan are vising several homes that specialise in dementia, I was meant to be joining them but am still suffering a little with aforementioned nasty period so have taken the opportunity to stay at home in one of my 5 dressing gowns!

Some quick local news regarding the very unwanted Life Centre, check out Keith Rossiters brilliant article on the recent photocall attended by council leaders. I truly believe that the Life Centre will be a huge waste of money for the city and despite assurances from the council I think we will lose valuable green space within Central Park itself. I can't see that the Life Centre will boost the health of the people of Plymouth and therefore do not support it as I think it will fail to carry out its objectives. Good Luck to the friends of Central Park who are fighting so hard to protect the park.

Training news involves a new trick, I have finally sussed out 'shoulder mount to seat', it has been bugging me for a while but a simple change of hand grip suddenly made it easy, well perhaps easy is not the right word but at least the trick is now achievable. I do have quite a bit of pain in the right shoulder as it adjusts to being battered by the pole but I am sure I will condition. Pics & Vids to follow.

A quick word of warning to my students this week, the theme is 'hardcore'!

Before I sign off today I want to send a massive hug to art of dance student Kim Quaintance, Kim is a sufferer of Cystic Fibrosis and has been using pole dancing to help improve her lung capacity as well as increasing her bone density. The EDCF recognised the benefit of pole dancing for Kim and bought her a pole from their quality of life fund for CF sufferers. Kim was doing really well until just before Xmas and she has spent most of xmas and new year in intensive care. Thankfully she has made it through and is now on a ward in Exeter. I will be visiting her next week and hope to see her back on the pole very soon. Get well Kim x.

Say Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Cold & Miserable

I have never been the biggest fan of cold weather but the last few days have really been nasty, I am currently sat in my office with the heating on full (not that it is making any difference) and I am wearing several layers of clothing plus some gloves and a scarf and I am still cold. In addition to the cold there are numerous bugs doing the rounds affecting both my staff and students and therefore having a detrimental effect on my business. I am still unsure if it is the credit crunch or if it is just the illness and cold that is making things so difficult.

I am unsure how other pole schools are coping at present but will find out on the 23rd January when I meet with other pole school owners for the new year Equity meeting in London. I hope that I have netter news to deal with then. If you are thinking about starting pole dancing lessons or if you have friends who are thinking about starting then check out these testimonials to see the positive benefits of fitness pole dancing!

I will blog again in the next few days when I am more positive but in the meantime you may want to read this disturbing article on weight watchers lessons for children!

Get Well Soon to Jo and my deepest sympathies to my lovely Husband whose granny passed away yesterday.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Happy New You!

Traditionally New Year is the time for resolutions so it is the perfect time to share some health and fitness advice. The Herald are also featuring a month of health features so I will be linking to them throughout January.

My first bit of advice is never carry a live rooted Xmas tree through the house whilst wearing a fleecy dressing gown, I think it has taken me 3 days to remove the pine needles from my clothing and my flesh!

Onto some serious fitnss advice that is particularly apt for us pole dancers but will also be helpful to people who do jobs such as data input, conditions such as repetetive strain are common amongst these professions and simple wrist exercises can help avoid such conditions. Check out this link for a series of wrist exercises. Thanks to Annie Norris from Pure Pole for the link.

Now this time of year usually involves most of us whinging that we have eaten too much over Xmas so it is a great opportunity to think about weight management. I prefer to use the term weight management as opposed to dieting as I don't want any connection with some of the awful fad diets that are lurking about. My husband Sid has compiled a great web page looking at all aspects of weight management, click here to see the page. You can also click on the picture above left for a link to the nutrition frenzy website. Don't forget the blog of dieter Ellie Hudson for fun dieting advice!

As part of my start to 2009 I have done something that, for me, is quite an unusual form of exercise: Housework! I have spent the last few days cleaning both the Plymouth studio and my house. I hope you like the following pictures of Plymouth studio looking ready for its opening tomorrow. I have some fab new session plans for my students although they may not find them as enjoyable as me:Well more news from me very soon,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x