Saturday, 28 November 2009

Bring it on!

After my very negative blog on Thursday, as predicted, I am back on form and ready to take on anything! Before I blog further I thought I would share some news with from the UPPDC (University of Plymouth Pole Dancing Club) charity event held on Thursday to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. The event was held in the student union which proved to be a perfect venue for a pole dancing showcase. The area has a natural stage area and 4 metre high ceiling enabling us to fit a static x-pole rather than having to use the scary freestanding pole. The lighting was a little harsh and made the stage feel like a sauna but luckily I had my gloves so didn't have to worry too much about the hot slippery pole. The audience of approximately 250 people were great and they cheered in all the right places with no innappropriate comment from the males in attendance. The UPPDC committe did some wonderful displays and wowed the crowd before Tamar & I finished the show. I am so proud of the UPPDC committee for organising such a great event and I hope they raised lots of money for charity (I will let you know the final amount as soon as I know). Here is my performance from the night, it was not choreographed but I think I coped OK with making it up as I went along:

The crusade to appeal against Companies House has already begun and I have no intention of taking their decision lying down - more new to follow!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Dana Mayer from Rock n Roll pole in London and Kate Johnstone from Spin City Pole Fitness in Bristol. It was a very productive day and I will let you know the outcome of that meeting in due course. The 3 hour drive back was less enjoyable and the weather insisted on making driving conditions treacherous, I was definitely happy to return home in one piece.

As some of you know Linda Gilroy and I have never been best of friends and her attitude towards the Policing and Crime Bill has really angered me so I thought  rather than getting angry I would do something much more fun! Click here to find out more.

So once again I must succumb to the calls of my fleecy dressing gown and sofa!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Prejudice and exclusion

Excuse the tone of today's blog but I am really fed up with dealing with people's blatant ignorance towards modern fitness pole dancing. I won't go into my usual rants as my regular readers will be more than educated about my feelings however for those of you who have not read my previous posts here are three that discuss my crusade to change peoples perception of modern fitness pole dancing:

Today's upset comes from a letter I received in the post today. Having struggled long and hard to make the art of dance financially viable I finally came to the conclusion that the only way forward was to register the art of dance as a community interest company, that status would have entitled us to grant funding, reduced business rates, improved credibility and many other benefits. However despite a lengthy cover note and a meeting with Business link to ensure I had covered all areas of the application I received this back from Companies House today:

"Although your application makes a passionate case for the positive aerobic and anerobic fitness training of pole dancing and improvement in certain participants' self esteem, you will no doubt be aware that certain sectors of society would question whether pole dancing ...... are appropriate activities for getting under 18's fit and building the self esteem of vulnerable young women, and for that reason I cannot at this stage, reach the conclusion that a reasonable person would think that The art of dance's activities are being carried out in the benefit of the community."

Although I have been invited to comment further and argue my case I do wonder if I will be wasting my time and energy. Whilst anyone who knows me or who has been involved with the art of dance will know exactly how much we do to help individuals and to work with charities and other local causes I doubt I will be able to change the mind of a person sat in an office reading about the art of dance. I am unsure how much longer the art of dance can trade effectively as a business with rising overheads and an economic climate that means many people can't afford lessons with us. If we could get grant funding we could work with so many more people and pursue many more goals but I fear that without any financial help we will fail to work with as many individuals as we would like to. Indeed the future looks bleak.

Plymouth is already known for having very high rental rates, the highest water bills in the country, high business rates and low wages, these factors are all contributory into why the art of dance is struggling financially. The C.I.C status would have had so many benefits for us and without it we will struggle to carry on. Despite my current negativity I am not one to give up easily and no doubt by tomorrow I will be digging my heels firmly into the ground, tackling companies house head on and continuing to try to move the business forward. Watch this space....

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Random Sunday Blog

Firstly thanks to Mary Garnett (nee O'Leary) for posting this old school pic on facebook, it made me chuckle! Can you guess which one is me? (The picture was taken during my sixth form at Devonport High School for Girls )

So just a few random things to blog today starting with a huge Happy Birthday to my lovely husband! Hope you liked your presents!

The coming week involves a rather hectic diary so don't expect much blogging from me! I will be busy doing lots of teaching on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (3 hours a day I think), I have some final pole practice to do before my pending performance at the University of Plymouth Student Union on Thursday night (video to follow). On Friday I have to travel to Bristol for a photoshoot with James of Motion Stop Factory followed by a meeting with Kate from Spin City & Dana Mayer from Rock n Roll Pole. In addition to the aforementioned I have lots of admin to do and am still trying to find time to do more work on my new art of dance website, more research on DVD sales, planning and risk assessing our new Sunday PoleJams etc etc, Sadly all this leaves me no time for housework!

Having not had a holiday this year my husband and I decided to raid our meagre savings and book a 2 day break in Padstow. I will blog fully about that nearer the time but can't wait for the 2 day pamper break!

Before I sign off for today I want to say that I am thinking about art of dance pole dancing instructor Tamar Preston who, as I write, will be sat patiently waiting for tonights PoleDivas finals in Manchester. Good Luck Tamar!

Enjoy the stormy weather!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Help needed in the bed department!

 I received an e-mail yesterday that must have caught me a generous mood, it was from Dana at the Eddystone Trust and she asked me if I would be able to volunteer to help out with a charity bed push to raise money for the trust and to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. I obviously forgot that the 3rd December on the Piazza is likely to be freezing and the last thing my muscles need is to be cold and pushing a bed but I agreed to help out nevertheless.  Here are some details of the event:

The Eddystone Trust is a charity providing information and support for anyone concerned about HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health.  This year, World AIDS Week takes place from 30th November – 6th December, with International World AIDS Day being on Tuesday 1st December.

This year, on Thursday 3rd December, The Eddystone Trust have organised a bed push to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to also raise funds for The Eddystone Trust Hardship Fund.  The bed push is taking place in Plymouth City Centre and we need your help please! 
We need volunteers to take part in the bed push around the Piazza, near the big screen; this will involve pushing the bed, handing out leaflets and collecting donations. I am helping helping out from 12:00-13:00 but they need many more volunteers.

If you would like to help out by giving half an hour of your time between 11am - 3pm, please contact Paul or Dana at The Eddystone Trust on 01752 257077 or email (The Eddystone Trust is a charitable limited company: Charity no 1078268 registered company number 3867526). For more images or interviews, contact Sarah Aston, Head of Training and Development. Mobile number: 07792 151741.

So if you fancy joining me for some fun in the cold just contact the trust for more info, no doubt I will get some photos and videos from the day and blog about them later!

Lastly if you are interested in learning aerial silks with one of the masters just click here for details of Jenyne Butterfly's aerial silks and pole dancing classes and click here to see her in  action.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Controverisal Life Centre; Is it a waste of taxpayers money?

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am deeply opposed to the 'planned ' (No doubt the decision is already done and dusted) Life Centre. With such strong views on the centre I was looking forward to reading the councils Aquatics strategy for the city which seems to be written purely to justify the Life Centre.

I have many issues with the strategy and the points made within it:

Firstly the Aquatics strategy has no provisions for any other part of the city other than the development at Central Park. The document does not take into account the lack of swimming provisions in Plympton or the North of the city, residents in these areas have campaigned for years for improvements which seem to have been denied to them. The document does not comment in any way on the Tinside Lido yet when the Lido was refurbished we were told it would be a major attraction for the city, we now know that the Lido is losing money and is not proving to be financially viable.

The strategy states that "The Aquatics strategy will establish a Plymouth Aquatics Academy this will be a new citywide structure for the organisation and delivery of swimming, diving and water polo, not based on one club identity." Does this statement mean the end of the smaller clubs who will be absorbed by one big club? How will this affect existing clubs such as Leander who have made a big name for themselves without the need for a 50 million life centre or an academy to dictate to them? The strategy does however recognise the success of clubs such as Leander - "The most successful age group swimming club in the country, Plymouth Leander (Swim 21 accredited), is based in the city, at Plymouth College.  Plymouth is one of four high performance diving centres in the country– the others being Southampton, Leeds, and Sheffield.  Some of the most successful and talented divers in the world; Tom Daley and Tonya Crouch, and Brooke Graddon are based in the city." We as a city are already producing world champions, so again, why the need for the life centre? Is this simply a publicity bid by the council so that they can take the credit for our existing champions?

The strategy also states that "Swimming is the largest participation sport in the city; given the low level of participation recorded in the 2006/07 Active People Survey (APS) (18.6 per cent) there is an obvious need to increase levels of participation and swimming provides a key opportunity as it is already the highest participation sport in the city. The APS results 2008/09 show an increase in participation to 23.5 per cent."

The aquatic strategy fails to comment on the largest aquatic facility in Plymouth; Plymouth Sound. Surely the development of Plymouth Sound and the hoe foreshore would benefit more people and be more beneficial for tourism?  The Hoe diving boards have been removed with no plans to replace them. (check out my previous blog on tombstoning if you are interested in more of my views on kids diving of Plymouth foreshore).

The last statement of the aquatics strategy states that "The Life Centre will help improve Plymouth residents’ quality of life and make Plymouth a more vibrant and attractive place to work and visit." - Will it really? Not everyone wants to travel to Central Park and those residents living close by already experience parking problems during events such as Argyle home games, Concerts and Watchtower conventions. Will the local residents be happier after the life centre is built. If, as promsied by the council, there will be no more loss of green space from the park then where is the extra traffic / parking  going to go? We are already told that Plymouth Argyle plan to expand their ground too?

Another fact which is omitted from the Aquatics strategy seems to be the existence of private swimming providers within the city. Has anyone considered the impact the life centre may have on smaller privately run pools such as the New Continental? In the current economic climate smaller clubs and pools may not survive the introduction of the Life Centre yet many swimmers may prefer the small clubs as they may be more friendly and less crowded and offer a more personal service to their members?

Whilst I certainly agree that there is room for improvement  with the existing Pool and facilities at the Mayflower centre I think as a city in financial difficulty we simply cannot justify spending 50 million of the Life Centre and where exactly are are the council gong to find the money for such a cast project? Backing from Sport England may sound promising but Sport England have pledged just 1.99 million of the 50 million needed for the project and there are already rumours that the centre will cost nearer 65 million to build and complete. The funding issue seems to have been overlooked by Council Leader Vivien Pengelly especially when she was interviewed by the Herald about the sale of Citybus and the possibility of a referendum said  "A referendum would cost at least £150,000 and will not be part of the process. Some people have been opposing our decision to find out the value of Citybus for purely political reasons. Throughout this process there has been scaremongering and misleading information about the potential impact of the sale of Citybus." She said the council was not looking at a potential sale for ideological reasons but because of the current economic climate. "We have a duty to manage all our assets in the best interests of local residents and tax payers, including local bus users," she said. Quote taken from www.thisisplymouth Monday 9th November 2009. Does this statement not imply that Plymouth is having to tighten the purse strings? How we can the council be so desperate to pull money back into the city by selling citybus but then lavishing £50 million on the life centre?

I sincerely hope that the sale of Citybus is not a way to raise the cash needed to build the life centre. It would be a real shame if the council sold of one of its most profitable assets to fund a new business that may not deliver all that it promises.

If you want to learn more about the Plymouth City Council Aquatics strategy then click here but be warned you cannot add comments as that function is disabled, you cannot click on the link to take you to the council website either as the link doesn't work. You can e-mail your comments to As you can imagine I will be submitting my comments!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 12 November 2009

More Work!

It seems that it is not just me that is busy working: The lovely Jess Leanne Norris from JLN fitness has been busy promoting her fabulous new studio in Westhoughton whilst amazing trickster Deb Riley is busy preparing for her British Pole Dance Academy launch on December 6th as well as taking the fabulous Jenyne Butterfly on a UK tour.For more news on pole dancing in the UK just click here.

Aside from work I am trying to find a little time for a personal MOT and that stared last week with a sports maassage and continues to moorw with an eye test. On Monday I have a GP's appointment for a pending hopsital visit that I am not looking forward to but have put it off for far too long. Hopefully the result of the massage, eye test etc will be an extra fit and healthy me!

Today has been a fairly boring day trying to get my new DVD's ready to send out. The footage from the 5th Birthday bash is finally ready for posting and looks great, it features our student showcase, instructor exhibiton as well as a guest performance by the Gorgeous Miss Glory Pearl (Miss Glory Pearl will be hosting an aerial workshop at the launch of the British Isles pole dance academy too!). The DVD costs just £9 per copy including postage and can be purchased via the events page of my website - just click here and scroll down to buy.

Also released this week is the first art of dance instructional DVD. Our first advanced level DVD focuses on 4 tricks - The Superman, Shoulder mounts, Elbow holds & Cradles. The DVD also includes many different variations on each trick as well as advice for combination tricks too. The DVD costs just £7 including postage and is a great guide to developing and improving your tricks. Just click here and scroll down to buy. We hope to add more DVd's to the range very soon.

Well I must dash of to do an hour's practice on the pole with Rosanna to get some new ideas for a pending showcase for the University of Plymouth Pole Dancing Club. The Charity showcase will be held at the students union on 26th November. I still can't decide on a song and am doing my usual thing of finding a song dancing to it 2 or 3 times and then deciding it bores me! Best I make a decison soon.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 9 November 2009

Work blog

At present it seems like it is all work and no play. Despite supposedly having the weekend off I have been checking e-mails, doing research for various projects and editing video footage which hardly counts as time off work! I did find time to have a much needed sports massage on Saturday with the lovely Tracey Mitchell. Tracy realised quite how knotted my muscles were and applied some Bowen technique to the worst areas. I now  feel like I have new shoulders!

On Friday night our beautiful Burlesque goddess Georgina Gale aka Sue performed at the Duke of Cornwal hotel in Plymouth. She was fabulous as always. Here is her performance:

At long last I finally have, in my hand, the first instructional pole dancing DVD from the art of dance. The DVD will be officially released tomorrow and will coincide with the release of the eagerly awaited footage from our 5th Birthday Ball. I will add details to this blog and the website tomorrow afternoon.

Lastly a huge Get Well Soon to the best Mum in the world ever! Hoping to catch up with you very soon and perhaps indulging in some lobster? X

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 6 November 2009

My Pole Dance Challenge - The result

Well today was the day I took on my pole dance challenge. In hindsight having quite a few real ales last night with the lovely Amelia B probably wasn't the best idea but I did my best nevertheless. For those of you who don't know what the hell I am on about I was challenged to see how many times I could monkey climb a 50mm x-pole (2.8 metres high) in 60 seconds - click here to see the actual bet on Be Lucky Tote. Anyway here is the video of my challenge;

So 14 climbs in 60 seconds! I am fairly pleased but know I could have done better. Being that time of the month didn't help either (sorry guys - more info than you needed I am sure!). I hope to set up another challenge soon and like the idea of a 60 second climb starting with a shoulder mount from the floor into inverted caterpillar climb then death drop into reverse shoulder mount and so on! I didn't actually train for this challenge but think that if I do another challenge it will encourage me to train harder and boost my fitness levels.

Anyway back to last night and my lovely night out with Miss Amelia B. We started off in the Mannamead to check out the Real Ale festival. I love the idea that you can buy 3 different beers in 1/3 pint glasses for just £1.69! What I didn't love was that one beer from Poland was made with fruit - YUK, if I wanted a fruit based product I wouldn't have ordered an ale!  If you don't appreciate real ale you can ignore the next paragraph.

Here are the 6 beers I sampled and my comments on each;
Shepherd's Neame - Damnbuster - 4.4% - Loved this one but have always been a fan of this brewery. A proper ale!

Batemans - Iron Lady - 4.1% - probably very nice but it was cloudy and the bar staff argued that it was fine even though it clearly wasn't!!
Thwaites - Liberation Ale - 4.5% - Lovely Ale, beautiful colour, Mmmmm!
Browar Namystow - Plum. Avoid unless you like fruit mixed with beer - simply horrible!

Jennings - Cockerhoop - 4.6% - Nice summery Ale, light and refreshing.

Galbraiths - Mr G's luncheon Ale - 3.7% - Lovely colour and pleasant taste. would try again! 

My two clear favourites were the Damnbuster and the Liberation Ale!

After the beer tasting we went to see a contemporary dance production by Attik Dance at the Roland Levinsky Theatre at Plymouth University. I was dying to see the theatre as this was the place I have been excluded from for the past two years. Plymouth University hold an annual 'dance, dance, dance event' which is meant to be socially inclusive and about tackling prejudice - however they will not allow me to pole dance and will not give me a reason why! I have sent them videos of some of my performances to quell any concerns they have but have still been denied access to perform at the event. Remember this is the same event that has salsa and belly dancing in its programme! What was interesting was that the performance I saw last night contained nudity and swearing - So that is obviously fine but pole dancing isn't????

Aside from my crusade to take pole dancing everywhere last nights performance was brilliant and was beautifully put together. I loved the theatre and the lighting was amazing. I also loved the final scene which involved 8 foot scaffold chairs which the dancers moved around on (Mmm - dancers moving their body weight and dancing on a metal structure - sound familiar??). 

So work now calls me and the pile of admin on my desk isn't going anywhere in a hurry.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

New Pole Pictures!

Here are my latest pole pictures from Chris Trent at Global Eye Photography. We were just playing around in the studio trying to do something a little different than the standard black and white studio shots I normally do;

I think this is called the aviator but would appreciate any feedback on alternative names??

Me being silly playing Lara Croft - much fun!

Bracket pose

Thanks to Chris for all our pics, you can check out Georgina Gale's burlesque pictures by clicking here and Tamar's new pics by clicking here, I will add Amelia B's pics in the next few days as I don't have her password so I can't hack her blog!

Off to teach my next 2 hours of pole dancing now, have 3 hours a day nearly all of this week  and they are nearly all advanced classes! I expect to be shattered by the time I get to do my pole dance challenge on Friday! Wish me Luck!

Stay healthy,

Sam x