Wednesday, 29 April 2009

News from the fabulous world of pole dancing

Well for those of you who don't already know here are the results from this years MPD world championships that were held in Jamaica on Sunday:

1ST PLACE FELIX (Australia)


It is fab news that Felix has won and I can't wait to see her winning performance! Fab to see the UK in the top 3!

More great news: The new pole dance community site is now open to the public, it is still a work in progress bit I think that as a portal site it will always be updating and developing. Anyone can register on the site and registration is free! More news on the PDC to follow.

Other pole new via Hayley's recent blog entitled Ouch!

You may be interested in my new favourite video which demonstrates the ultimate in control, flexibility, strength, musicality and fluidity:

Did I mention my new student who has her first pole dancing lesson tomorrow? The Lovely Ellie Hudson will commence her first half hour of pain tomorrow afternoon, judging by her recent blog it is not just me who has been putting her through her paces - Watch this space for pictures of Ellie conquering the pole!

My last bit of news is not pole related at all but is something that I really wanted to share with you. Check out the guest blog by the fabulous Amytree on the wonder that is Flat Stanley and watch out for flat Sam!

More news to follow,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Disrupting the peace and tranquility.

Amongst the rolling hills of the beautiful Devon countryside is Pennywell Farm. Pennywell Farm is an activity centre aimed at the children's market but just as suitable for big kids too, therefore I thought that a day at Penywell would make a great team build for some of the art of dance instructors. I had pre-booked the outing with staff at Pennywell but I don't think they really knew what they were letting themselves in for!

We met up at the Plymouth studio at 11am where we met by the lovely Jerry Foale from Raffles who had a minibus awaiting. So Jo, Rosanna, Hayley, Tamar, Mia and I boarded the bus and desperately tried to contain our excitement about the planned day out. We failed miserably in our attempts to act like adults and resorted to lots of giggling and general pandemonium. On arrival we were overjoyed to see a blackboard reading welcome to the art of dance and the deputy manager Mark standing by ready to greet us. I think it was at this point that Mark realised quite how excited we all were and he quickly stopped his introductory chat and set us free on the farm.
a 4 day old piglet and its mother.

Check out this video clip if you want an idea of just how immature we can be and how much fun acting like a kid really is, Apologies of course to the real children who were present that day as we were hogging the rides and activities much to the amusement of many parents!

We have some more bits of film and piccies which I will steal of Rosanna later and post in a future blog. No doubt there will be very cute animal pictures on my instructor blogs appearing left right and centre! All in all it was a fantastic day and we hope to arrange more team builds very soon when hopefully Sue, Nixi & Kelly will be able to join us.

If you haven't already you must read Hayley's latest blog entitled 'Ouch'.

Blogs in the week will include some amazing video demonstrating extreme flexibility and strength, I will also be featuring a brilliant new school activity for children that I am tempted to have a go at myself!

Have a fab weekend,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x
picture above = an English Barn Owl

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Jam & Jerusalem

About 6 months ago I had a call from a lovely lady called Vera who was the chair of the Fowey Women's institute, she invited me to come down to speak to several of the Cornish WI groups and I jumped at the chance. Unbeknown to me my visit was very controversial and several of the Fowey members had voiced strong opinions about my proposed visit, but the WI vote with the majority so my visit was confirmed.

Jo and I set off for for the beautiful seaside town of Fowey at about 3.30pm (after a traumatic morning which I will blog about later), I hadn't checked the directions as I thought I knew where I was going, one slight wrong turn and I found myself driving through Fowey town centre where the maximum road width is 6ft 6 inches and my van is 6 ft 5! Jo would have offered some words of support if she could have stopped laughing. I eventually freed the van from the town centre and found our way to
Fowey Community College.

After setting up the stage we had about 45 minutes spare to eat in Fowey and we stumbled across a fabulous restaurant called Sam's, Jo (see picture above left) and I had the most amazing home made fish soup and some delicous shell on prawns, if you are ever in Fowey I can highly recommend this palce. After eating it was time to venture back to meet the WI ladies.
The meeting started at 7am with the signing of Jerusalem and the reading of the minutes of the last meeting, this was followed by a short speech from a WI member and the judging of the craft and cookery competitions and then it was us! Here are some links to videos of our demo and speech:
Demo part 1, Demo part 2, Demo part 3, Demo part 4, Demo part 5.

It is a real shame that the battery on the video camera died when it did as I did not get to film any of the ladies who got up and had a go at pole dancing, we had 4 volunteers all of whom worked hard to try some basic tricks and spins, one lady said she was already addicted and didn't want to get down of the stage, she also commented that she would worry about going upside down in case her teeth fell out.
To be honest the videos tell the story of what was a fantastic evening where we were warmly received and where we managed to change a few peoples perceptions of pole dancing. I really must thank Vera for not only having the guts to book us but for sticking by her decision and making sure we able to attend.

Enough blogging for now as I have a few things I want to share with you so may bombard you with blogs over the weekend! Also I have just had a much needed
sports massage with the fantastic Tracey Mitchell so am looking forward to my night off with my dressing gown and some big fluffy socks sat outside watching the 2 new additions to my aviary: Charles & Camilla arrived today from Woodside via the lovely Julie, I hope that Charles & Camilla will be very happy in their new home.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday blogging

I don't know how the weather is where you are but my courtyard is currently drenched in glorious sunshine so my mood is good. I had a great day of teaching yesterday including an hour on the pole with a hen party of10 ladies dressed in rock and roll costumes who were an absolute pleasure to teach.

Check out the fabulous picture (above) of the lovely Amy Tree performing an extended butterfly, very impressive.

The anti-pole dancing brigade have been rearing their ugly heads again with a petition to the BBC against the "mainstreaming of the sex industry through pole dancing". The petition has been made by extreme feminist group object who once again fail to see the fun or fitness side of pole dancing, perhaps the group would be happier if we all covered up and kept quiet? Anyway before I get to political and too controversial I will move to a slightly different subject.

Judging at pole dance competitions has always been controversial and as there is no nationally or internationally recognised judging guidelines or syllabus it will continue to be a tricky subject, however it seems that things are slowly moving forward. We are coming ever closer to a syllabus we all recognise even if there are still arguments over exactly what we should call specific moves. My thoughts are that we need to be very careful how we name certain tricks and spins, can you really see a judge at the Olympics saying "That competitor just did the most amazing ladygarden".

Looking specifically at judging I have thought for a while that it would be good to look at a few videos, get different people to judge them and then compare results. If you fancy a go at judging then why not have a look at the online platinum stages competition and vote for your favourite dancer and then see if the person you picked as the best is actually in the lead. I have to confess to being a little disappointed in all the entrants but will let you know who I picked as the best and why in a future blog.

As developments continue with the world pole dance committee we now see 18 countries backing the project and the production of a set of standard judging forms that we hope will be internationally welcomed and used throughout all professional competitions. I will post the link to the new world forum in the week and will keep you posted on progress. Hopefully all the work being put in by various individuals will have major positive benefits for the entire pole dancing industry and will result in a safe more professional environment.

Aside from the international scene the new pole dance community portal site for the UK pole scene is due for launch in May, I am very excited about all the new projects happening and hope that all the hard work pays off.

More news to follow but I have to dash off now to make the most of the rest of the day.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A miserable blog.

Yesterday was not a nice day, I was not expecting the day to be great but it actually ended up being worse than my original fears. The day started with the realisation that there was no food in the fridge so no breakfast and no cash to buy breakfast due to being skint. After the missed breakfast it was off to pick my mum up for her friends funerals: Jane was a lovely lady and the funeral service was as nice as it could possibly have been, Jane was cremated in a beautiful wicker coffin bedecked in fresh primroses and other hedgerow flowers which Jane would have loved, I was amazed at the bravery of Jane's children as they stood up and read their individual speeches. My thoughts are still with Jane's family particularly her children and her husband.

After the funeral both Mum and I had to return to work, having a funeral first thing in the morning doesn't exactly start the day off well but I hoped my mood would improve as the day went on. The working day mainly involved chasing payments owed to the business, Plymouth City Council owe me quite large sum of money but 'forgot' to get the cheque sent out last week so I now have another 5 days to wait for it and ten another 3 days for it to clear, Plymouth College of art and design owe me money from December which they have found an array of excuses for not paying yet, Plymouth University are shut for Easter so can't send any payments out, I could go on but I wont. The result is that as a small business I simply do not have the cashflow to keep my head above water if I am not paid what is owed to me. Still, things could be worse.....

I left work at about 6.30pm still feeling a little miserable and decided to opt for an evening on the sofa to wallow in my own pity. At 8.30pm Rosanna called me to break the news that we had had the till robbed for the 2nd week running and this time a lot of cash had been taken. I felt sick. If things were bad financially before they were now looking dire, I have no money to pay myself for Aprils wages so can't pay my mortgage payment. What is yet more frustrating is that I should have the money but I have been let down by the overdue invoices and so am short of cash. The robbery has just added to the severity of the situation and the costs of the robbery have now doubled with the cost of extra security measures, new keys and locks and the fact that the thieves stole some of the tickets for our pending birthday ball.

What makes things worse is the feelings a robbery leaves behind, we have such a lovely friendly atmosphere at the art of dance and that has been shattered resulting in everyone being on their guard and not feeling safe on the premises. Myself and the rest of the team work so hard to make things work here so the theft is a very personal blow to all of us.

For the reasons mentioned above I am not feeling great today, I would like to say that at least I am fit and healthy but a trip to the doctors tomorrow to be referred back to my specialist may indicate otherwise. I have directed some of my bad mood towards my local MP Linda Gilroy who gave me a very unsatisfactory response to a recent letter I sent her, I am sure she will not enjoy the letter I sent back to her today and perhaps I will share that letter with you in a future blog.

I must say a huge thank you to the lovely Amytree for coming into work this afternoon and dragging me out for a half pint to stop me wallowing too much and for reminding me that there is lots to look forward to.

Hopefully I will be in a better mood for blogging soon, so apologies for the doom and gloom in the meantime.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Bank holiday weekend

The key to a good bank holiday weekend is getting the time to completely relax and I can definitely say that I have found that time. Before the bank holiday weekend started I joined Rosanna and Tamar for an intense training session where we worked on moves such as the dart, I also found a new move which I cant find a name for but will photograph and post when I have a chance. The session took its toll on my muscles as I started to realise I had probably overtrained during the week.

On Friday my mum and I went out for a spot of retail therapy involving buying new shoes for the pending art of dance birthday ball in June. We then ventured off to the Barbican Kitchen for a pre-theatre super which was a bargain at 2 courses for £9.95. I opted for the goats cheese salad to start and the plaice and crushed lemon butter potatoes for my main, the food was gorgeous and it was a pleasure to spend some quality time with my Mum despite the recent loss of her close friend Jane.

On Saturday it was time for Sid and I too enjoy a day off together, the day started with a beautiful cooked breakfast followed by some time with my birds who enjoyed a feeding frenzy followed by a warm shower. We left the house and ventured out to find some equipment for Sid's proposed attachment to the BBQ - a rotisserie! Whilst perusing various shops for Sid's new machinery we popped into Leigh's farm shop at Roborough where we bought some divine looking duck eggs and fresh granary bread, Sid sampled some of the Leigh's farm burgers which he mentioned were really tasty, Leigh's farm have a great new meat counter (see picture right) and are slowly increasing the amount of different items they have on sale.

After the farm shop visit it was back into the city centre to the Pannier Market, it is some time since I was last there and I couldn't believe the transformation. There were many fresh food outlets including a new Italian pasta stall and a fab new 'Taste of the westcountry' stall where Sid bought some Orchard Pig Apple juice. Another great find, and one which I will be passing on to the lovely Amytree, is the new retro clothing stall, the stall has everything from beautiful silk full length ladies gloves to velvet jackets and sexy black leather heels. I purchased a gorgeous white cotton gypsy style blouse and vowed to return very soon for more goods. The market shopping experience was completed with a visit to Vincent's farm shop stall where we stocked up on sweet potatoes, cabbage, leeks, potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli.

After all the shopping it felt like time for an afternoon beer and what better place to stop than Chandlers for a selection of olives, warm bread and a pint of Tribute in the sun (see picture at top of blog)! We even had some celebrity company on the adjacent table although I was more distracted by the spaniel puppy on the next table!

It was a fabulous day and was rounded off perfectly with an Easter Doctor Who special and the first in the series of Britain's got talent. So I still have all of Sunday and Monday to completely revitalise myself before my return to work on Tuesday. My muscles are starting to ease today after their beasting this week, I now know how some of my students feel after they have had lessons with me!

Anyway I hope you have fabulous weekend,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

World Pole news

Already I feel like it should be Thursday or Friday yet it is only Wednesday, I have a wide variety of bruises from my neck down from trying various new moves and from teaching everyday. I must partly blame Tess aka Polelsuhes for some of my bruises as she continues to invent bizarre moves for me and others to try FAO Tess, I think I may bill you for my next sports massage! Check out Tess demonstrating the Crane - pictured left.

Nixi's dislocated knee has now been braced and will be adjusted very 2 and a half weeks meaning she will be in the brace till at least mid May and then will need recovery and physio afterwards before she can return, for those of you who have facebook there is a great video of Nixi in tesco on her mobility scooter!!

Hopefully the Lordette will be back next week to deal with her overflowing pigeon hole that I have crammed full or work for her to do!! Haha - no peace for the wicked! On the subject of evil instructors it seems both Rosanna and Tamar have the art of dance bug for beasting students so apologies to our victims, sorry I mean students, for the last week of pain and bruising but hey - No Pain No Gain! You may want to check out Tamar's blog for very cute pictures of Jipper and Jabba her 2 degus.

I am still waiting on news from the Miss Pole dance world championships currently being held in Jamaica, here is the line up:
AUSTRALIA ~Miss Pole Dance Australia 2006 & 2008 Winner - Felix~
BRASIL ~Miss Pole Dance Brasil - Marcela~
CANADA ~Miss Pole Dance Canada - Justice~
GERMANY ~Miss Pole Dance Germany 2008 Winner - Jeannine~
HUNGARY ~Miss Pole Dance Hungary 2008 - Orsi~
JAPAN ~Current World Champion - Reiko
Miss Pole Dance Japan 2008 Winner - Vanilla~
NEW ZEALAND ~Miss Pole Dance NZ - Amy Richardson~
RUSSIA ~Lena Shishkova Julia Irina~
UNITED KINGDOM ~Miss Pole Dance UK 2008 Winner - Alesia
Miss Pole Dance UK 2006 Winner - Tracey Simmonds~
UNITED STATES of AMERICA ~ Pantera, Tanya Jordan, US Pole Dance Winner 2009 - Jenyne
(see picture above right of Jenyne demonstrating 'the hangman'.)

I hope to get the results to you ASAP and am rooting for Tracey Simmonds to win!

More news to follow,

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sunday update

As the week draws to a close I am facing Monday with mixed emotions, I am still a little gutted by the events of last week, firstly the theft from reception which actually ended up being a little worse than I thought as the theif had taken the entire float which added another £40 to the total nicked. The news that Kim had taken a turn for the worst and was back on oxygen and IV's, the news that my business rates and utility bills had risen again! The fact that my menstrual problems have just taken a real turn for the worse and I fear that a hospital visit may be in the offing.

Despite the negative incidents there is a lot of positive stuff going on in my life and therefore I should remain motivated rather than dwelling on the less good things. So just when I was sat in the sunshine of my backyard enjoying the company of my birds I had a call from Nixi, poor Nixi has just been on field trip with Plymouth University as part of her course but during the trip she fell and dislocated her knee. I will know more after Nixi has visited the fracture clinic but at present her whole leg is plastered and she definitely wont be teaching this Friday and I doubt that she will be back on form in time for the birthday bash - Get Well Soon Nixi x

Don't worry though this blog is not all doom and gloom, Great news from the London Burlesque Festival as Miss Glory Pearl aka Glamour Puss attained third place in the amateur Burlesque competition, what is even better is that Miss Glory Pearl should be performing as a guest as part of our pending birthday ball. Congratulations to Puss and look forward to catching up soon.

You may have noticed a new useful link on my links section, the link is to the new blog from Disabled Kevin? and provides some interesting reading, Good Luck with the blog Kevin and say hi to Kasia from me.

Pole practice news comes in the form of two very nasty bruises that I managed to gain whilst practising with Hayley and Rosanna on Friday, one of the new moves we are trying involves holding onto the pole mainly with your stomach and that has resulted in a big black mark under my belly button. The other new move which I can't even begin to explain (see picture) has given me a black elbow and some swelling just above the elbow joint but I am determined to try it again on Monday. Thanks (I think!) to Bridget for the picture.

On the subject of the pole it seems that for the 2nd year running I have been excluded from the University of Plymouth Dance, Dance, Dance event, I had been excluded last year after someone had suggested that pole dancing would not be appropriate for the show.... I am getting deja vu already! OK so you may be thinking that it is not my automatic right to be included in very single dance event that happens in the city but to be specifically excluded from an event that promotes social inclusion really winds me up, check out this quote from the organiser Dr Sanjay Sharma, who lectures in the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, he said: "Through tolerance and open-mindedness, our society becomes richer and more humane. Dancers don't require a language – everyone likes dance and so the audience can come together to enjoy the colour and the costumes." Once again acts such as Belly dance and Salsa are considered family friendly but pole dancing is not, shame on the organisers for failing to promote tolerance and open-mindedness as claimed!

Anway I didn't want to end today's blog on a negative note so will leave you with this wonderful news, all our MP's have decided to refuse their pay rises, stop claiming such ridiculous expenses and act in our best interests, OK so I am lying but wouldn't it be nice if it were true! I found a site called they work for you which has published all the expenses and other relevant information about each MP, check out the info on my very own MP Linda Gilroy, no wonder she is featured on the Plymouth shame on you site.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Rollercoaster

After such a great night on Sunday at the Saints and Taurus kick boxing show at Marjon I was actually looking forward to the start of my working week. My ring girls had done me proud at the show so thanks to Sophie and Josie for representing the art of dance, you both looked fab.

Monday went well and things were looking up with extra bookings and an increase in general enquiries but then someone had to ruin so thank you to the ******* who robbed our till at our Plymouth reception last night, you have not only taken cash from a very small business who is struggling to keep it's head above water but you have also caused great distress to a member of staff and to the entire team at the art of dance.

I was just dealing with the shock of the theft when I caught a local heroin addict breaking the lock to the cigarette bin outside my premises so there's another £20 down the drain, then add to that the cost of the extra security I have been advised to install and I have worked the entire week for nothing and am now more behind than I thought.

The police are dealing with both incidences but the whole situation has left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. Poor Tamar also lost sleep last night after the incident.

When I do feel such anger I like to use it to make something positive happen so I decided to chase Linda Gilroy by phone for not answering previous correspondence sent to her on February 27th and then sent again on March 27th. I am still awaiting a response and will let you know how she answer my questions on her voting for secrecy on her expenses and for her supporting new legislation on 'pole dancing' that could involve me having to get a license to state that I am a sex worker, the legislation may also restrict my write to distribute promotional material featuring pictures of pole dancers!!!!!

Obviously the world has gone completely mad so on that note I will stop blogging, try to calm myself down and have a nice cup of tea in the sunshine!

Stay Healthy

Sam x