Tuesday, 23 June 2009

My Weekend in pictures

As I am too busy to blog I thought I would post some pictures from the weekend starting with a couple of pictures from a promotion at Plymouth's Grosvener Casino in conjunction with Heart FM. Pictures is our beautiful Burlesque Goddess Georgina Gale alongside the Lordette of Darkness Jo and the second picture is of myself & Jo manning our promo stall.

As the weather was fantastic during the weekend my husband and I found time to enjoy the wonderous Plymouth Seafront taking in some of the Honda Formula 4 stroke powerboat race as well as finding time for ice cream and ale! Pictures as follows: Wedding cake (Belverdere) on Plymouth's Hoe, Sutton Harbour with its luxury flats, Sutton Harbour with the China House to the left, Smeatons Tower and my husband checking that Plymouth City Council are keeping up to date with their gardening!

The next two pictures are of the fabulous country cheeses shop in Tavistock - Yummy!

Proper blogs to follow soon - probably Thursday, I am off to Weymouth tomorrow to finalise the first art of dance instructional DVD as well as check out the 5th Birthday ball DVD, both items should be on sale very soon. Then on Friday I am off to the Equity HQ in London for the Equity pole dancers working party meeting where I will be discussing the new Pole Dance Community website as well as other issues concerning the pole dancing industry,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 19 June 2009

Women's health fair 2009 - My review

Last Thursday saw the return of the eagerly awaited Women's health fair at Plymouth Guildhall, it is the third year that the art of dance have attended the event and we have always enjoyed being part of such a great day. (picture left of me doing a Gemini Handstand variation)

This year we set up in our traditional spot in the upper bar adjacent to the main hall, it is the only place that can take a fixed x-pole and Jo and I will do anything to avoid using the freestanding pole! On arrival we were joined by Cass and another of the Heart Angels who had a go on the x-pole and took some pictures for their website. (thanks to Heart for letting us use the pictures in this blog!)

After nearly missing half the stalls last year I set myself the task of viewing all the stalls during the morning so I did not get to the end of the day and realise I had missed them all:
My first stop was the Sienna stall where the ladies were offering free bra fitting, many women wear the wrong size bra and this can have detrimental health effects as well as looking less than aesthetically pleasing. I am particularly aware of women with badly fitting bras and ladies who turn up to pole dancing classes with normal bras rather than sports bras usually ending up with exposed nipples! The queue for the bra fitting service was huge so I ventured onto the next stall.

The nurses manning the NHS advice stalls were handing out all sorts of advice, running blood pressure checks and generally being on hand to listen to people, they also had a large queue so I quickly moved onto the breast cancer care stall and found it full of great leaflets and helpful ladies eager to offer advice. I took some breast examination leaflets to place in the changing rooms of our Plymouth studio as well as some other leaflets to give out at our forthcoming Ladies night (more details on that to follow later).

I then moved onto to the stroke association stall, I used to work for the stroke association so had a vested interest in the stall. The 2 ladies manning the stall were more than happy to give me some more leaflets to take back to work and they focused on the leaflets that accompany the current TV campaign to raise awareness of the signs of strokes: F.A.S.T Face, Arms, Speech, Time.

I picked up one leaflet on the fabulous local project that is Diggin it, Diggin it is an organic gardening project run by local charity Routeways, check out their website for full details.

It was during last years event that I discovered my new sports masseuse Tracey Mitchell, this year Tracey was situated at the entrance to the main hall and was busy all day doing massage treatments and Bowen techniques, I must book in with her soon for another sports massage!

This years fair saw a lot of stalls aimed at young mothers and babies and pregnancy crisis, the support on offer was massive and I spoke to some women from the young mother and baby groups who told me how valuable the support groups were to them. The family Information Service were also on hand to give advice on all matters such as working tax credit, childcare vouchers and funding for training. The Mend group were promoting ways to keep kids fitter and healthier alongside representatives from the Green Ark Children's centre in Devonport who were informing people about their great range of events such as baby massage seminars, Krafty Kidz sessions and Weaning advice to name but a few. The Green Ark project is part of the action for children charity.

Apologies to all the exhibitors I haven't mentioned but after my brief dash around the hall it was time for me to get back on the pole and carry on exhibiting!

To summarise, this years event was a lot quieter than last year perhaps due to its lateness in June rather than the previous date of March? it was also a very hot sunny day and many women had probably opted to spend the day outside to make the most of the sunshine. Despite the drop in numbers I still managed to lose a small amount of skin on my left shin from being on the pole excessively! Well it just woudn't be WHF unless I lost a bit of skin from some part of my body, but then that's what you expect when you try to pole dance from 10am till 4pm! I will look forward to exhibiting at next years event when hopefully the crowds will return again to this valuable and informative occasion

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Online competition & more....

Before I announce news of a fabulous new online pole dancing competition I must mention recent controversy surrounding the Ame Du Pole Production and the Northern Ireland tourist board, Ame Du pole is the brainchild of Elionior of Polercise in Belfast, the initial show was a sell out and the show now has plans to tour. The show traces the history and soul of pole dancing from Mallakhamb to Chinese pole to modern day pole dancing and features dancers and producers with over 25 years experience.

The Northern Ireland tourist board were contacted regarding further promotion of the planned tour but the tourist board responded by saying they could not advertise "that type of event", they then refused to elaborate on exactly what they meant by "that type of event". The promoters of the show appeared on BBC Radio this morning to discuss the decision by the tourist board. Watch this space for more news and discussion.

Nicer news comes in the form of the Pole dance Community websites new online photo competition. The PDC is looking for the most unusual pole dancing picture and want to see people pole dancing in obscure places, see the first entry above from the lovely Hayley Silk, the photo was taken on a catamaran in Lanzarote! The winner, who will be voted for by PDC members, of the competition gets a free pair of Nomis Gloves. The competition is only open to registered members but registration is free. To enter simply log onto the competition and scroll down to upload your picture.

Blog to follow on last weeks Women's Health Fair......

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Fitness advice

When I was first asked to write this blog for the this is Plymouth website I was asked to focus on issues of health and fitness and for some time I managed to succeed in this simple task however before long, as my regular readers will know, I found myself writing about politics and holidays as well as constant discussions about pole dancing. Anyway, today I will ensure that by the end of the blog I have given you some words of wisdom to help you become fitter and healthier!

Someone who is getting fitter and healthier is the lovely Ellie who has been visiting me once a week for a private pole dancing lesson, check out her comments on her progress so far via her blog on her quest to lose weight. I will look forward to another lesson with Ellie & Nicky next week.

On the subject of health and fitness I will write a full blog in the week (probably Wednesday!) about last weeks annual Women's Health Fair, it is an event that definitely needs its own blog!

So, as promised, here is some fitness advice: The Universities of Birmingham and Manchester Metropolitan have been testing athletes performances and the link between increased performance levels and liquid carbohydrate supplements. It has been known for some time that carbs play an important part in fuelling the muscles but this new research shows that athletes don't even have to drink sports drinks, instead they can simply swill them round the mouth and then spit them out and still achieve the same effects.

In the study participants, who were all trained endurance athletes were given specially prepared drinks with glucose, maltodextrin or neither, artificial sweeteners were then added to the drinks so that they all tasted the same. The athletes given the glucose and maltodextrin drinks did marginally out-perform those who had neither supplement, remember that all athletes simply rinsed their mouths with the drinks before spitting them out yet still achieved higher performance levels. Dr Chambers suggests that the findings challenge previous evidence that the carbohydrates fuel the muscles and believe that the carbohydrates in sports drinks stimulate the brains receptors directly from the mouth. The findings indicate that the brain can have a greater effect on the body's performance than either the lungs, muscles or heart.

OK, so I am not a scientist and you may prefer to read the report yourself via the Manchester University website, but the findings are interesting and I do believe that your attitude towards training is as crucial as your physiology.

Before I sign off I must pass some comment on recent incidents in Plymouth surrounding the arrest and charge of Vanessa George, the case has shocked the residents of Plymouth and is particularly close for me as I have a good friend whose children are involved. My thoughts are with all the families who have been affected by this disturbed woman, I hope that justice is truly done. I must also question what on earth Linda Gilroy was doing raising questions in the house of commons about the case, surely Linda must have known that her questions would be barred and that members of the public would see through her pathetic attempt to regain public confidence?

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Big Event - another review!

After months of planning the art of dance 5th Birthday Ball took place on Sunday night at the stunning Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club overlooking Plymouth Sound. The night was eagerly awaited and despite lots of behind the scenes disasters the night went ahead in front of a seated audience of 75 people.

The show kicked of with a duo performance by Nikki Brown and Charlie Hancock, two of our Liskeard students, Nikki & Charlie did a wonderful display dancing to Marilyn Mansun's 'The Dope Show', dressed in black shorts, red vests, red bow ties and black waistcoats they opened the show in style and did the art of dance proud. Next up were 2 more Liskeard students Helen Davis and Lauren Dodge dancing to Ultrabeats 'Pretty green Eyes' the two danced brilliantly despite Helen's pole coming loose and nearly falling of the ceiling! After the x-pole was repositioned the show continued with Jazz aka SJ , another Liskeard student who wowed the crowd with her strength and carried on despite missing a bit of her routine, it takes real guts to get up on stage and even more guts to carry on when something goes wrong. SJ also gained credit for her fantastic outfit of brown and pink surf style bikini with matching pink ballet shoes, she looked fabulous and danced beautifully to another Marilyn Mansun song 'Tainted Love'.

Charlie & Nikki doing a Plank and Bat variation

Jazz aka SJ doing a bat

Act two saw Exeter student Nicole Windley dancing to the Stranglers Golden Brown, it was a very pretty dance with some fantastic Caterpillar climbs and some lovely choreography. Then it was Emma Barnes turn to amaze the audience with her beautiful routine to Beyonce' 'Halo', Emma had not wanted to perform and I had talked her into it and was so glad that I did as she really shone on the pole demonstrating her natural talent and grace.

I must mention our brilliant pole cleaners Kelly and Gemma Shattock who cleaned the poles brilliantly, looked wonderful and managed to climb the pole prior to each of the 13 performances!

Act Three was our showgirl section and the act started with an outstanding performance by Miss Melanie Clare aka Mel Scaffold, Mel danced to All That Jazz, from Chicago, she was dressed in top hat and tails. Mel's stage presence was truly superb and she engaged the audience from the start as well as landing some great ricks whilst keeping in perfect time to the music. Mel was followed by Miss Amelia B aka Mia Gilson whose cheeky routine to Shirley Bassey's 'I only want some' captivated the audience, Mia's facial expressions combined with stunning pole work was an act of genius and demonstrated why we have picked her to be our latest art of dance Burlesque instructor.

Finishing Act Three was our guest performer Miss Glory Pearl who rocked the house with her fantastic old Granny routine - see picture below- the act was sheer brilliance and I can't wait to see it again on the DVD, the act was true to Miss Glory pearls Burly-pole style and the perfoamcne climaxed with a very storng diaply of tricks on the pole inclduing knee conditoning and an aerial climb. A big thank you to Miss Glory Pearl for travelling all the way down from London to perform at the event.
After the buffet the guests were ready for the eagerly awaited Instructor exhibition and they were not about to be disappointed, Tamar Preston opened Act 4 with an electrifying dance to Linkin park's What I want. Tamar's first set of moves were a shoulder mount to Felix figurehead to shoulder mount to the Dove!! The dance was flawless and was a beautiful blend of dancing and pole tricks. The audience responded appropriately with cheers and applause for such a brilliant performance. Next on was Hayley Silk and once again the audience were in for a real treat, Hayley danced to a live version of Metallica's 'Nothing else matters'. Hayley's Pantera-esque style was crammed full of world class tricks that mesmerised the audince and seemd to defy gravity, her perfoance included the Eros (or flight attendant - a move that remains elusive to me!) a one handed bow and arow and a spin and snap to finish.

Hayley doing a bracket pencil hold

So the pressure was on for myself and the other instructors for Act 5 after the superb performannces by Tamar and Hayley but Rosanna Durban was not about to let the audience down: her superbly choreographed routine to songs relating to rain was fantastically executed, Rosanna started in full costume of umbrella, wellies and raincoat before attacking the pole with some wonderful tricks including a Gemini handstand and the Cupid at height! it was a magnificent show. Next up was our Burlesque Goddess Georgina Gale aka Sue Manser, Sue seems to be part of the pole and she moves effortless round it making her tricks look flawless yet majestic, Sue wore a pretty polka dot biking with a black skirt and she worked on one static and one spinning pole captivating the audience with every move.

So after all the acts it was up to me to pull of the finale, I had chosen Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocceli's version of 'Time to say Goodbye', a classical opera track, I was going for a true balletic style and gentle flow which I hope I managed to achieve. Prior to my performance the Lordette of Darkness herself decided to reduce me to tears with an emotional tribute to my hard work and to the art of dance as a company, tears aside I rushed to get on the pole wanting to get my dance out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of the evening without performance nerves. I was horrified to realise that in haste to get on the pole I had forgotten my gloves and mighty grip, teh music had already started and rather than starting again I decided it was up to me to do what I had been preaching to my students and just get on with the performance regardless. I did omit a twisted hand stand combo due to slippy palms and replaced it with a plank to spider combo but was over the moon to get in my climb to flag invert without falling off. I received standing ovation and was practically reduced to tears again!

Now overall the evening was truly marvellous but things were nearly very different, I had been assured and reassured by the venue that the ceilings were solid concrete: After my finale I offered the poles to the audience for freestyle, Mia jumped up to do a classic fireman spin when the pole went through the ceiling, we couldn't believe that the poles had stayed in place throughout the night and now were able to see why the pole had moved for Helen's performance at the beginning of the night. We were very lucky that no one was seriously injured!

Anyway to summarise, it was definitely a night to remember, I would like to thank all the performers for representing the art of dance and all of the audience for creating a great atmosphere for the performers. I am looking forward to doing another showcase in October with a slightly different theme and layout so will keep you posted on that. I will also let you know when the DVD of the event comes out. In the meantime if any of you were there and took pictures or videos please upload them to the art of dance event birthday ball events page, there are also some pictures from the night on Michaela Roberts facebook, Hayley Prescott's facebook, Charlie Hancock's facebook and Nicole Windley's facebook. More pics and links to follow.

For those of you who are local to Plymouth and happen to be female don't forget that on Thursday is the annual Women's health fair at Plymouth Guildhall, the event is free and it starts at 10am and fisnhes at 4pm, The art of dance have an exhibiton stand and an x-pole in situ, check out full details by clicking here or click here to read the review from last years event, I simply adore the WHF and am really looking forward to Thursday especially seeing it is the place where I got married and on Thursday I will be pole dancing in exactly the same spot I did on my wedding day!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Fowey - W.I Review

After our recent exhibition and talk for the Women's institute in Fowey here are our reviews courtesy of the Cornish Guardian: Fowey group -The subject for the Gribbin group's entertainment for the April group meeting was controversial and cause for much discussion. The then president Vera Trenwith's suggestion to book a demonstration of pole dancing was finally adopted, and curious about what they were letting themselves in for, on April 22nd, 67 ladies arrived for the meeting at the Fowey Community College.

In the hall a sturdy platform with a central steel pole stood behind the presidents table where Sue Buscombe, Fowey's president, welcomed Sandar buck, vice chairman f the Cornwall Federation; Nan Collier, our Wi advisor: and the other presidents in the Gribbin Group; Ann Jukes, standing in for Cuddra's president and also the group convener: Elaine Pearce, Tywardreath, and Gwen barberry from Polkerris. Business was soon dispatched, then Sandra gave us an outline of upcoming events and Nan described her training as a W.I. advisor.

After competition announcements Sue introduced Sam & Jo from the Art of dance, Plymouth.
Sam & Jo explained that pole dancing is a modern take on 12th century and ancient Chinese pole work designed to train men to be warriors. At the Art of dance studios it is taught for pleasure and fitness. Girls go to them thinking that they are going to learn nightclub dancing: not so. When they find out what it really is they generally reject the sleaze and stay to learn the sport.

Jo demonstrated low intermediate spins, limited as she had recently had surgery, Sam, dazzled with graceful spins and postures on the pole- the splits and a stomach crunch from upside down to name but two.
The lovely movements have names like the Knot (invented by Sam), flamingo and butterfly.

Both women are qualified fitness professionals and tremendously fit. The dance is aerobic and anaerobic and can be performed with or without any type of music, expressing individual styles. Jo's style is athletic and Sam's balletic. Indeed much of her work is reminiscent of aerial ballet which circus performers display.
Pole dancing is suitable for all and the oldest person they have taught is 93. Despite stringent safety techniques there are hazards, and bruises are plentiful. There is as yet no governing body but work is in progress for a national and international committee. During a question and answers sessions a member described the demonstration as "beautiful- an art form".

Invited to have ago, three ladies (one at age 79) braved the pole, performing simple, graceful movements- feet firmly on the ground! I found it exhilarating and expressive, with the pole supplying stability. After all the excitement we really needed our cup of tea and delicious refreshments.

Competition results were: Craft- first, Doris Robbins, Polkerris; second, Paula Quinn, Fowey; third, Di Pomeroy, Cuddra; third, Margaret Neville, Cuddra; highly commended Paula Milbank, Fowey. Floral- first, Gwen Barberry, Polkerris; second, Pat Haberland, Tywardreath; third, Phyllis Curtis, Tywardreath. After the raffle was drawn, the evening ended with a short presentation by members of humorous poems (see poem below) performed by themselves. After a lusty rendering of 'God save The Queen' we left with smiles on our faces and much to talk about. -article by Pam Ellis.

Tywardreath group review: On April 22nd, 16 members attended the Gribben group meeting, hosted by Fowey W.I. We were introduced to the art of pole dancing by two charming young girls, Sam & Jo, who demonstrated the athleticism, grace and strength required to exercise on the pole. One or two brave ladies from the floor had a go as well!

Our thanks to Fowey W.I. for a very entertaining evening.

Here is one of the poems written by Mary Jones, a member of Fowey W.I. Mary mentioned that she had written the poem before the evening and had felt reservations about going to watch a pole dancing display so she hoped the poem did not cause offense, which of course it didn't;

The Women of the W.I.
A boring old lot you may cry
They cook buns and cakes
Without any mistakes
Such boring perfection says I!

They sing Jerusalem, make their jams
make outfits for babies in prams
They don't turn their noses
At small birthday posies
These boring, these sweet little lambs

By coach for a day to the sea
They say 'After you, before me'!
It takes so long to load
When they get on the road
It is time to come back for their tea

They are polite, they're well dressed and they're straight
Just look at us here, aren't we all great
These members of Fowey
Are all out to enjoy
These such simple pleasures, but wait.......

What is that thing I hear Vera say
I'm changing the meeting one day
To a real enhancer
We have a pole dancer
So get ready now, line up this way

When she struts her stuff as you see
It's as easy as ABC
With her legs a twining
And greasy pole shining
Are you shouting and screaming 'Now me'!

Cos ladies of W.I.
Open minded and legged, just try
Yopu can all have ago
And before you all know
You'll be swinging and swinging so high

But this fun just for this night
And it sure is an incredible sight
But let's not be haughty
We can't do the naughty
We'll go back to what we do right!!!!!

Thanks to all the ladies at the W.I., particularly Vera Trenwith of Fowey W.I. for having to the courage to book us and Liz Moir from Golberdon W.I. for getting us involved with the W.I. in the first place, more news to follow....

Stay healthy,

Sam x