Thursday, 29 April 2010

Pre-election mania!

I am so sorry for neglecting my pole star blog but I have been forced to focus on my election campaign especially after some slander from another political party who have been telling people not to vote for me as I am a lap dancer, no offence to those who are lap dancers but that is not my job description! Check out my pre-election blog -

As soon as the election is over I will update you on all the exciting news from the art of dance and pole dance community.

Don't forget that this Saturday is UK Pole Dance Day, click here to see the fabulous line up of national events including our open session at the art of dance in Plymouth.

More to follow including our art of dance pole dance demonstration for Lord Mayor's Day 2010!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

p.s. apologies for the formatting problems in this blog, have no idea why the text is not behaving itself!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

UK Pole Dance Day and other news

It is now less than 3 weeks till UK Pole Dance Day and the art of dance will be holding an open session at our Plymouth studio. Click here to see the article about our pending event. 

I must apologise for the distinct lack of blogging but as you can imagine running 2 businesses; the art of dance and Pole Dance Community as well as standing for council in the local elections has kept my schedule pretty busy! Click here to see my political blogspot.

Other exciting upcoming events include a fabulous master class at the art of dance with Karen Chaundy from Body Barre in Manchester. The event is being organised by the National Synchronised Pole Dance Squad (NSPDS) in conjunction with their 'Routine for the Nation' event that will be held on Sunday 23rd May at Oceana. Click here for the event page on facebook.

Please spread the word that our Yoga sessions are still running every Tuesday night in our Plymouth studio at 6pm and they cost just £6 per lesson. Our yoga teacher, Chloe, trained in India and is fully qualified and insured. Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility and mobility. You do not have not be an art of dance student to attend these classes. Click here to book.

Before I sign of for today I wanted to mention the campaign to stop the construction of incinerators within the Plymouth area. I have grave concerns about the long term health effects for Plymouth residents if these incinerators go ahead. I fear another asbestos style health issue in years to come as a result of the toxins emitted from such incinerators. I will be attending the protest outside the council chambers on Monday 26th March to air my anti-incinerator view. For more info on the campaign against the incinerator just click here

I will leave you with a fabulous video of Sony (aka Kym) and her friends wowing the audience during Australia's got talent. Clcik here to see this fabulous fitness pole dancing performance from the Girlfriend fun and fitness pole dance school.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

More pole dance related rage

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of blogging! As you can imagine the run up to the local elections are keeping me busy (click here for my political blog) and I have had no internet access at home which has limited me further. Anyway since I spoke to you last I encountered a problem that has really upset me.

For those of you who have ever tried to organise a pole dancing event for charity you may have experienced similar problems to me; I do understand that some people still have a negative view of modern fitness pole dancing and they are entitled to their opinion, however I was gobsmacked to hear that St Luke's Hospice whom I have worked with on several occasions in the past declined the offer of our charity on the grounds that they were worried about what there older fund raisers may think about pole dancing. Bear in mind that the art of dance performed at the St Luke's Xmas Disco before Xmas giving up our Thursday night and hiring a van to take our outdoor stage to the venue. Having worked with St Luke's before I expected them to understand the nature of what we do and not have an issue with us performing in public to raise money for what I believe to be a very worth while charity. 

In response to St Luke's concerns over their 'older members' perhaps they should bear in mind that I have worked with the Women's Institute and Watch Ashore groups and have had ladies up the age of 93 pole dancing. I have performed at the Women's Health fair for the past 3 years and have seen women of all ages having a go at pole dancing with a very positive response. The Watch Ashore group were so impressed with the art of dance they have asked us to headline at their 2011 National conference.

The other concern that came from St Luke's is that we were dancing outdoors in front of member's of the public? We were dancing in front of members of the public at the Xmas disco (see picture below) so I really can't see the issue there? 

What makes the whole situation worse is that St Luke's work closely with the Plymouth calendar girls whose calendar is aimed at the male gaze with lingerie shots and stocking clad girls? How can this sit comfortably with the charity yet our gymnastic pole dancing does not?

I know that it is not just me that has had issues finding a charity to work with and the NSPDS event experienced similar problems when they tried to get a charity, ironically they now have the support of St Luke's Hospice!!!

Despite my concerns I would hate to think that people might read this blog and decide not to donate money for charity, that would be the last thing I would want as St Luke's do an amazing job looking after those with terminal cancers. What I would hope is that in the future charities like St Luke's could be a little bit more open minded when they make decisions on who they work with. The whole sage left me feeling very upset as I work so hard to try to make fitness pole dancing acceptable and to get people to realise that pole dancing is not the same as lap dancing.
This blog does have a happy ending as we have been given the support of wonderful local charity called the Drake Foundation who do some truly amazing work within the city so it is a real pleasure to have them on board. I am really looking forward to working on our planned pole dancing event that will have a truly athletic feel to it and will not be for the faint hearted - Watch this space!!!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 2 April 2010

 Please note that I have changed the names of all the individuals in today's blog to protect their identities
Despite the cold I had decided to walk to work and back yesterday, it's not a long journey and as long as it is dry and I don't have too much to carry it is a pleasant walk either up North Hill to Mutley or via Greenbank past the fire station. I am a little wary now of walking through either area after 9pm but at 8.10pm yesterday I felt it was safe to walk. As I neared the Spar on North Hill I witnessed what looked like an altercation between a 'beggar' (that is probably not the politically correct term these days!) and three 'youths'. The 'beggar' turned out to be a very old friend, Bill, and the three youths were the children of several known local families (N.B. I am being careful how I write this!). 

I decided to intervene to check that Bill was OK. Before I carry on writing let me explain how I know Bill; I have known Bill since I was about 15, he was always such a caring individual with a unique sense of humour and a slightly eccentric nature. I had only known him for a few years when both his parents committed suicide, as you can imagine Bill's life was torn apart by his parent's loss. Bill has struggled to cope ever since and the situation was not helped by his families deep involvement with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church, of course, saw suicide as a terrible sin and did not recognise the deep depression that had lead to the suicides, instead they told Bill that both his parents would go to hell for their acts and that he should not mourn them. I can't imagine going through any of this and am still angry at the way the Roman Catholic Church treated Bill in his time of need.

Anyway, back to yesterday evening; I do see Bill quite a bit and always stop to chat but yesterday was different, Bill had been beaten up again the previous evening and was still bruised, swollen and bearing several stitches on his face, this in itself is not unusual, Bill is frequently attacked by yobs on their way home from a night out who see Bill as no more than a punch-bag there purely for their own entertainment. One of the youths who was there on my initial arrival was now wandering off leaving Bill and I with one very drunk girl of approximately 15 called Kyra and another girl of about the same age, who appeared sober, called Nicky. Kyra and Nicky are usually drunk and roaming the streets of an evening and Bill feels some responsibility towards the welfare of the 2 girls, but yesterday he was particularly tired and was desperately trying to keep his patience as Kyra persistently asked him for cigarettes and booze. I asked Kyra and Nicky if they could give Bill a little bit of space a he could see he was tired and probably a little uncomfortable due to the facial injuries he had sustained on the previous evening. Kyra had no intention of giving Bill space and to be fair it is hard to expect some poor drunken 15 year old from a troubled family to perhaps understand the need for personal space.

Despite my desire to get home out of the cold I could see a desperation in Bill's eyes that I had not seen before and was also intrigued by the lives of the 2 young girls who seem to have such a bleak looking future. By now there were tears in Bill's eyes so I crouched next to him and he offered me a space on the piece of cardboard next to him. I spent 50 minutes sat outside the Spar shop seeing a little bit of life from Bill's point of view, watching people walk past and giving you dirty looks, the utterances of abuse as well as those who simply avoid eye contact and give you a wide berth. At one point a kind lady emerged from the Spar shop and gave us a packet of 10 Marlboro.

It was the first time in years that I had actually had a decent conversation with Bill and we had a chance to talk a bit about the past and as well as his heroin addiction and alcohol addiction, both of which he has beaten and then returned to. We talked about the moment he decided to become homeless, he was getting behind with his mortgage payments and was struggling to deal with life so he simply walked out and posted the keys back through the letterbox, he has been homeless ever since. He knows that being homeless is his own choice and he says that he finds living on the streets easier than trying to deal with depression at home on his own. He admits that he doesn't like the cold but says it is not so bad sleeping rough in the summer, he sometimes struggles to get enough to eat but says that most nights he can find something to eat. He wishes that people wouldn't beat him up but that is not really a big issue for him as they usually stop after a while before he is too seriously injured. One of his biggest reassurances in life is his dog whom is by his side constantly and is very beautiful, her name is Bella and we call her the Rattweiller!

Bill tells me that he just wants some answers to life, he says that he really wants to get into heaven so he can punch God for sending his Mum to hell and then he repeats the words I have heard him utter so many times before "How can God send an angel to Heaven?". I struggle to find the answers Bill needs.  Before I do get a chance to answer, Kyra starts hassling Bill again as she needs to use a toilet, she says she cant go home as her parents are fighting again and so Bill decides to walk her to a local smack (heroin) den so she can use their toilet. The trio set off on their way and I kiss Bill on the cheek triggering his tears again.

I walked home, not quite believing how cold you can get from sitting out on the cold for 50 minutes, how could Bill possibly survive a whole night in such conditions. I am not going to draw any conclusions from this blog, I simply wanted to share my experience with you.

I will leave you with this interesting little nugget on plans to arrest the Pope on his pending visit to the UK- click here to read!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x