Thursday, 30 September 2010

University of Plymouth Blog

 picture above of the view from Cuba on North Hill looking into the university campus.

It must be a very exciting time for many students as they embark on their first year at University. I had the pleasure of popping into the student union last Sunday to see how my University of Plymouth Pole Dancing Club (UPPDC) were getting on at the annual Fresher's Fayre. The student union was buzzing with new and existing students and it was fabulous to see the wide array of clubs and societies on offer to the students. I almost persuaded myself to apply for a university place next year just so I could join some of the clubs myself!
picture above of some of the UPPDC committee.

My  lovely UPPDC committee were working extremely hard and managed to sign up 112 members during the afternoon which has resulted in a very busy couple of weeks for the art of dance as we try to get all the new UPPDC members inducted in the art of pole dancing.

It has been so great to see the studio so busy and to meet so many new faces. I hope that the UPPDC members become as addicted to pole dancing as myself and my UPPDC committee! A huge thank you to all my committee members for working so hard to make this years club a success and a big thank you to Plymouth University for boosting Plymouth's economy and helping to create a vibrant and diverse city.
picture above courtesy of Hannah Bevan.

For those who have criticised the universities decision to occupy the Hoe for a month to hold the graduation ceremonies I have to strongly disagree with their viewpoint. I can't think of a better location for the students to celebrate their success whilst showcasing Plymouth Sound to their friends and families. The occupancy of the Hoe does not prevent the rest of us enjoying our fabulous waterfront and we should be proud to share our harbour with those from outside our city.

Congratulations to our very own art of dance pole dancing instructor Tamar Preston
on her graduation after passing her UoP Photography degree.

Before I sign off for today I wanted to mention the new Ninja Warrior TV series. The programme shows some serious feats of strength and endurance and makes other shows like Total Wipeout and Takeshi's castle seem like easy challenges. This Japanese gameshow features elite athletes taking on seemingly impossible challenges. It is definitely worth a watch!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 24 September 2010

Plymouth's delights.

This week has given me the chance to take a little time off to share the delights of Plymouth with my Mother In Law and her partner. My husband and I wanted to show off some of our favourite Plymouth places and where better to start than with a Port of Call breakfast. The Port of Call at West Hoe has a special significance for me as it is where my Mum, Fern (one of my bridesmaids) and I had breakfast prior to my wedding. OK, so the cafe is not fine dining but it is good, honest food with cheap prices and a lovely, friendly, family feel.

We couldn't share the delights of Plymouth without a traditional Devon Cream tea at the Jennycliff Cafe where we could peruse the Sound and the amazing panoramic coastal views (see picture top of blog of the view north from Jennycliff looking back towards the Hoe). Check out this and other fantastic viewpoints along the South West Coast Path.

Tuesday night meant al fresco dining at the
Seafood and Pasta Bar where we could enjoy a mild September evening and Bouillabaisse by the sea. The views across Sutton Harbour are simply stunning and this restaurant has a lovely menu and great customer service.

Another local attraction that seems to be overlooked by many is the Dartmoor Zoological Park at Sparkwell, just 5 miles from Marsh Mills roundabout. The DZP has always been a firm favourite of mine and it as great to see the many improvements being made to the animal enclosures. The visit started with a trip to the Bears, Coati's, Owls and Foxes before making it to the Tiger enclosure just in time for feeding. Whilst I enjoyed the feeding Solomon the Lion treated us to an unplanned roaring session which may have been in protest at the fact that it was not him being fed! Josie the lioness also made an appearance and came within about 3 feet of me before deciding the tiger's meat looked decidedly more interesting.

As the Zoo Park was quiet I was treated to a special close encounters session where I got the chance to pet some of the parks less cuddly creatures including a giant land snail,  hissing cockroach and my favourite reptile, Clive the Bearded Dragon (see picture right). I also got to see 2 of my favourite birds a scarlet macaw and a blue and gold macaw.

It is so sad to hear that the park is facing such financial difficulties and I really hope that the Park can hang on in there until it starts to reap the rewards of the film royalties due next year. 

DZP is a great family day out  and is good value at just £8.95 for an adult pass and £33 for a year's unlimited pass. I can't wait to purchase my annual pass and make DZP a regular day out. I also hope to save up for a behind the scenes day too.

Wednesday evening meant fine drinking courtesy of the Seco Lounge, giving us a chance to peruse the stunning Royal William Yard development before dining at the Butcher's Arms. It was my first trip the this establishment  but it won't be my last, this undiscovered gem ticks all the right boxes for great food, real ale, excellent service and a relaxed atmosphere. The Black Rock Grill is superb value for money and tastes amazing.

I mentioned in a previous blog about the marvellous aroma wood-fired pizzas that I had sampled so I couldn't resist the opportunity to pop down and take a picture of a pizza being pulled from the oven - check out the results below. Once you have tried this pizza you will never eat at a franchised pizza establishment again.

Before I sign off for today I must give a mention to Moet who died on Wednesday night. Moet was the oldest and bravest cockatiel I have ever had. He was rescued from Woodside and was in a poor state, he then endured an attack by my battery chickens which nearly killed him. Despite his injuries Moet battled on regardless and was a big character within the aviary. He had a lovely sea burial by moonlight at 9pm last night on the Hoe. Hopefully he was not caught by any of the local fishermen!

Must get ready for my performance at the Ladies night at Tenpin bowling later!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 20 September 2010

Unite Street Festival

Just a quick blog today to update you on yesterday's fabulous Unite Street Festival where Rosanna, Tamar and I pole danced to a public audience in Plymouth's Union Street. The event was organised by the Stonehouse action group and was designed to allow local residents to integrate and create greater bonds.

We were not sure how the audience would be and so were delighted when the large crowd smiled and cheered throughout our performances. As usual, our very wobbly podium stage made seemingly easy pole dance moves seems horrendously difficult, it feels like the stage is possessed by the devil and is just waiting to throw you off. Despite the constant fear we managed to squeeze in a few smiles and only lost a small amount of skin during our 2 performances.

Here are the 2 videos our our sets. I think we actually pulled of some great moves despite the dangerous pole and the cold wind!

I would like to thanks Soraya and Wendy from the Stonehouse Action group for inviting us to perform at thier event, we are already looking forward to next year.

I will blog again soon with feedback from the national Protest the Pope campaign that saw over 20,000 descend on London and also involved a successful Plymouth demo by the Plymouth Humanists yesterday outside the Catholic Cathedral. I will also update you on a few upcoming events including the Tavisrock Festival, Macmillan Charity night at Carpe Diem, Ladies night at Tenpin bowling and the St Luke's Hospice Memory mile.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Breaking Pole Dancing News - Press Release

In light of today's media coverage of the Debbie Plowman pole dancing accident that occured in December last year I have decided to share with you the official press release from the Pole Dance Community (pasted below). I will write again very soon with feedback from last night's Protest the Pope meeting and news about Sundays Union Street Action Day.

Stay Healthy

Sam x

Pole Dance Community (PDC) official response to breaking news about Debbie Plowman's pole dancing accident.

The Pole Dance Community (PDC) - UK's pole dancing advisory body - would like to respond to recent news stories about a lady being paralysed during a pole dancing class. The incident highlights the dangers of pole dancing, the importance of finding a professional pole dancing instructor and the necessity to use safe equipment.

Whilst the PDC accepts that injuries can occur whilst partaking in any sport, the risk of injury will be limited if attending a PDC approved pole dance school as these schools follow a strict code of conduct*. All PDC instructors have a minimum of 3 years pole dancing experience and are required to have professional indemnity on top of basic public liability cover. To provide additional reassurance for pole dancing students the PDC offers free personal accident cover to student taking part in our grading scheme - the Advancement and Accreditation Programme (AAP).

In addition to the PDC code of conduct all PDC schools/instructors have access to ongoing debates about safe practice as well as articles and resources about topics such as correct pole dancing clothing, safe spacing between poles, grip aids, and other important safety issues.

We would urge all individuals thinking of taking up pole dancing as a fitness regime to think seriously about where they go to train and to look for the PDC Approved logo when choosing a school.

X-pole pole dancing pictureIndividuals should also be selective when choosing equipment as there has been a lot of concern over cheaper pole dancing poles which are designed as novelty items and are not suitable for the high impact use that modern fitness pole dancing puts upon them. There are good professional poles such as X-Poles but individuals should be advised to check that they get their pole from a reputable source such as the PDC or direct from the manufacturer, Vertical Leisure Ltd. Other retail sources, particularly online shops, have been known to sell fake x-pole products which have been deemed highly dangerous due to cheaply manufactured plastic parts and sharp metal edges.

In Debbie Plowman's case there seems to be nothing to suggest that any individual was at fault and the incident was a genuine accident however the injuries sustained must be devastating for everyone involved; Debbie, her family, Debbie's pole dancing instructor and her fellow students. PDC Approved pole dance school Vertical Dance is setting up the Debbie Plowman Happy Faces charity.

The PDC hopes that Debbie's case does not dissuade others from trying the modern fitness pole dancing phenomenon as it is a great way to keep fit if carried out in a safe environment. In actual fact, cases like Debbie's are statistically rare and most students suffer no more than the odd bruise.

The PDC Team.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Unhealthy Tsar!

I have to admit that I have neglected my own personal training somewhat and I am really looking forward to getting back on the pole for some serious beasting. Despite many hours of teaching which has kept my fitness from deteriorating, I have hardly pushed myself and need to perfect a few new moves before I will be satisfied with my pole dancing progress. Luckily the pending performances have given me a much needed excuse to get myself back on the pole and I can't wait for an hour of pole practice at 5pm on Monday with fellow instructor Rosanna and Tamar as we rehearse our routine for the Stonehouse Action Day to be held next Sunday 19th September. Click here for more details on the fun packed family day out. Let's hope the sun shines for our routine.

My fitness has hardly been aided by a dangerous discovery that occurred last weekend when my husband and I decided to order pizza. We rarely order takeaways as we are usually disappointed by the resulting food and the price tag that accompanies it, however, my husband forged ahead and found a small pizza company that made some amazing promises. Here is the statement direct from their website - "Here at `Aroma Woodfired Pizza` we are fanatical when it comes to creating and cooking the most authentic and delicious perfect Italian pizza takeaway. Our Pizzas are cooked in the traditional Italian way, directly on the stone floor of our wood fired oven, to make them the most succulent tasting pizzas in Plymouth. Come in and taste our pizzas and you’ll understand, why in over a 1000 years, wood fire cooked Pizzas are so superior in flavour. Our Pizza sauce is home made with tomatoes and herbs, free from preservatives, or `E` numbers and our traditional cooking method eliminates the need for excessive oil when cooking, making them not only taste fantastic but healthier too. Our pizza dough is freshly made on our premises from specially selected flour and `extra virgin Olive oil`. Our Tomato Puree is freshly made and not out of a container like many pizza takeaways."

The Pizza was absolutely gorgeous and was probably the nicest pizza I have ever eaten in my life. We paid just £15 for 2 extra large pizzas and £1 for delivery. I am not trying to encourage you all to go out and consume fast food but if you are going to eat pizza then this shop is highly recommended and has to be a healthier option than the franchised pizza stores. Click here for the aroma wood fired website. N.B. normally I would have taken a picture of the pizza to share with you but unfortunately I got carried away with eating it!

Well after last weekends indulgence the menu at the Remmer household needs to be a lot healthier this week so we are off to the Tamar Harvest at the stunning Cothele Quay to stock up on healthy local produce to refuel my body ready for some serious pole dance training. 

Stay Healthy (despite the indulgent pizza recommendation!)

Sam x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Pole Dancing and The Pope.

My fitness is certainly being boosted by the increase in hours teaching and the many pending pole dancing performances also look set to either boost my health further or result in me needing to lie down for 2 days! After the successful re-launch last Saturday we started our week of themed pole dancing classes to give fitness pole an extra element of fun. The week included a Black rock theme, Sparkly inverts, Pink Ladies spins master class (see picture below) and my 80's spinning pole dance class (see picture above). The classes have been such a success that we now plan to make it a monthly feature.

The 80's classes were such fun to teach as I blasted out classics such as Madonna 'Like a Virgin, Taylor Dane 'Tell it to my heart' and Cyndi Lauper 'Girls just want to have fun'. Thankfully despite the spinning poles, no one was sick and everyone made some fantastic pole dancing progress. Aside from the constant singing, dancing and laughter there was some serious hard work going on (doing a seated climb on a spinning pole is no mean feat).

Next week I will be taking pole dancing to a new audience as I perform at the Protest the Pope debate at Raffles. The debate has been organised by my husband who is chair of the Plymouth Humanists and looks set to attract a large audience and I can't wait to get involved with the debate which will be held on Wednesday 15th April. From a personal standpoint I don't believe that UK tax-payers should be paying for the Pope's visit for 2 reasons; Firstly due to the Pope's cover up of child abuse within the Catholic Church and secondly because I don't see why, in a time of economic difficulty, we can justify spending millions of pounds on bringing a very wealthy religious leader to UK soil. Surely the Vatican should be funding this visit and not us. It seems like yet another example that our government is not listening to the needs of the people.

It is just non-Catholics who don't agree with the visit and many Catholics are shunning the £25 ticket prices that would give them the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict. Click here to read a recent BBC news article. Further irony can be found in the many UK schools bus-loading kids to see a man who covers up child abuse, click here for the Herald story on a Plymouth schools planned visit. Anyway, I will let you know how the debate goes next week as well as updating you on the planned Plymouth Protest against the Pope scheduled for Sunday 19th September and departing at 5.30pm from the Natwest Building at the top of Royal Parade and then ending at the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface, 45 Cecil Street. We will gather for a protest outside the Cathedral. All are welcome.

Prior to the Pope Demonstration I will be taking part in a pole dancing performance alongside fellow art of dance pole dancing instructors Rosanna Durban and Tamar Preston at the Union Street Family Fun day to be held on Sunday 19th September. We will be pole dancing in front of a fire engine which should be fun.(full details to follow). On the 24th September you can catch Tamar and I pole dancing at the Tenpin bowling Ladies night (full details to follow).

On the 25th and 26th September I will be dancing at this years Tavisrock Festival at the Wharf, one of Devon's premier music venues. The event is in it's third year and is the brainchild of local promoter Ellie Hudson - click here for more details on the Festival and the amazing line-up.

More news to follow very soon.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Art of Dance Open day and other news

picture above of Emma Thorpe and UPPDC chair Lou Watts toasting the art of dance!
What a fabulous day yesterday was! After much hard work behind the scenes the art of dance re-launch was an immense success. Beauty salon Chica Bella opened as planned last Tuesday and The Nail Room was ready for the open day and it's first day of trading which will be held on Tuesday 7th September.
Pictured from left to right - Pole Dancing instructors Sam Remmer (that's me!), Rosanna Durban, Pole Flow Yoga teacher Jane Macdermott, Burlesque Goddesses Georgina Gale and Amelia B, Creative Nail Technician Naomi Grant and Beauty Expert Lisa Hill.

The day started with some last minute dashes to buy flowers, pour the bubbly, vacuum the studio and polish the studio mirrors ready for the arrival of members of the public at 1pm. It was so lovely to see the art of dance building busy with it's new staff team, existing students and new faces eager to see the refurbishment.

Just before 2pm the lovely Lucy, a photographer from the Herald, dropped by to snap some pics. I stupidly sugested that it would be good for Rosanna and I to do an extended butterfly on each side of the pole with me at the top, I didn't realise quite how long we would have to hold the pose and I, for one, was glad to return safely to the floor after the pics were taken. Can't wait to see the results.

Check out the sandwich board above which took me some time to write as the words pole dancing, massage and minx next to each other just looked really dodgy!

As the day went on more people descended on the art of dance studios and a few ladies started to feel the effects of the bubbly and their frequent visits to Raffles bar next door. Lisa, Naomi and I were buzzing as we all took extra bookings as a result of the open day. 

A huge thank you to My Mum and Carol Milligan for all their help that ensured the refurbishment was finished on time. Another massive thank you to my lovely husband for all hos hard work in putting together the template for my new website as well as time involved fixing all the errors I then made on the template! I must add that we missed Tamar terribly as she had to work elsewhere but I am looking forward to telling her all about it on Monday . I also want to say how pleased I am to be working with Lisa, Naomi and Jane, it is going  be so great to work with such wonderful ladies as well as working with my brilliant existing staff team. I feel very lucky to be working with such a lovely bunch of people.

The Open day soon descended into chaos as we hit the Fortescue, cracked open more bubbly and generally behaved in a raucous manner for the remainder of the evening. Apologies to the Fortescue regulars for the immense laughter and the drunken toasts that took place!

More pics from the open day and after-party to follow very soon!

Before I sign off for the day I wanted to share some news from the King of Plymouth event organised by PCSO Pablo Beckhurst, the event took place next door to the art of dance yesterday and saw about 300 people descend on the church for the break-dancing competition which was eventually won by Paris based Marcio from Legiteam Obstruxion. Full results as follows and check out the video below for the fantastic final dance-off.

4th - Dezire (Squirrels of the Nut Tree - Bristol)
3rd - Kazuki (MDK)
2nd - Spin (La Familia / Breakstation - London)
1st - Marcio (Legiteam Obstruxion - Paris)

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Art of dance open day and other news

I can't believe it the open day is just 2 days away! Luckily all the painting is just about finished and the stunning new beauty salon Chica Bella opened as planned on Tuesday. I have my first waxing appointment in the new salon on Friday and it will be amazing to simply walk less than 50 yards from my office to have the waxing done. Next week I get my new Minx nails too!

Before I share more art of dance and pole dance news with you I must tell you about the marvellous meal my husband and I had at the16th Century Who'd have thought it Inn (pictured above) last Saturday. We had decided to celebrate a few milestones for the Pole Dance Community website and we decide to dine out at the Who'd have thought it as it is under new management. On arrival at the Inn we found the restaurant fully booked but the owner managed to sneak us in for a main course. On perusing the menu I was a little worried that the vegetarian option of mushroom risotto would be the usual frozen then microwaved option but I was so wrong. 

The risotto was perfectly cooked with an unusual variety of seasonal local mushrooms, parmesan icing (not sure of that is the right word to describe the beautiful decorative parmesan wafer?) and white truffle oil. My husbands Ham, Egg and Chips was equally pleasing with melt in the mouth home made chips, thick slices of delicious locally sourced ham and 3 perfectly cooked free range eggs accompanied by a hot, freshly baked rustic bread loaf.

The real ale was also perfect, I opted for the seasonal Sharp's Honey Spice Gold and it was one of the best pints I have ever had. The ale was crystal clear and the perfect temperature. I can't wait to return to the Who'd have thought it Inn to try some more of their menu.

Last Friday Rosanna and I visited the Moscow State Circus where we held our breaths for most of the how as the entertainers and acrobats attempted some very dangerous acts including the wheel of death (pictured above). It really as a great night out but was a little marred by the ignorance of many audience members, as the show neared it's ending abut three quarters of the audience left the big top to avoid getting stuck in car park jams, this must have been awful for the talented performers who waited for their final round of applause only to find a sparsely filled audience. Sometimes I really wish people had a bit more respect for others although what was ironic was the fact that by the time we left the car park was nearly empty so we could drive straight out.

The concerns that the majority of the audience seemed to share over exiting the circus do no bode well for any further development within Central Park. I will write more on this subject very soon! In the meantime check out all the latest on the Central Park developments including the highly controversial Life Centre at the This is Plymouth website.

So if you want to find out more about the new art of dance, the re-launch, the open day of the week of themed pole dancing classes just click here to check out our new events page diary. For those of you who live locally I hope to see many of you at the open day and you are al welcome to join us for post-event drinks at the Camra approved and multi award winning Fortescue pub (pictured above) on Mutley Plain.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x