Saturday, 28 May 2011

Guest Blog from Brian.

I would like to introduce myself; My name is Brian Vervet and Sam has kindly given me the opportunity to write a guest blog. I am a Vervet monkey from Dartmoor Zoo Park in Sparkwell near Plymouth.
I am currently living at the art of dance studio in Mutley, Plymouth where I am learning to pole dance.

I am a particular fan of strawberries (well any fruit really), eggs, small rodents (only on the weekends), and Sam has introduced me to Real Ale which I like but tends to affect my stomach the following day (runny poo!).

I love gardening and I have a special technique for sowing my seeds; I ingest seeds whole and then poo them at my preferred destination, its very handy. Sam has grown some strawberries for me and her Kakariki and they really are very tasty.

This week I have participated in several pole dancing classes meeting many of the lovely students at the art of dance. I did my first Crucifix, Seated Fall Back and Inverted Crucifix all of which were extremely painful. I also had my first private lesson with Emma Tulloch who is much better than me on the pole, I hope to be as good as her very soon. As I have very small paws and I find the 50mm x-pole quite hard to grip so I tend to wrap my long arms around the pole instead to maintain grip.

I love Doctor Who, Sam and Sid introduced me to it on-line and now I can't wait to watch it live on TV tonight. Sam has also told me about a programme called Britain's Got Talent but Sid tells me its rubbish so I may not watch it. I have so much to lean being such a young monkey but as I am more intelligent than stupid humans I should learn very quickly.

I am staying at Sid and Sam's over the weekend before returning to the art of dance studio on Tuesday, can't wait for more pole dancing lessons! Sam is very nice but a little opinionated, Sid is also nice but quite grumpy, they make a great couple and I like them both despite their flaws. They do have some very strange behaviours but I am not sure if those behaviours are theirs alone or whether they apply to all humans? I should also mention that Sam's farts are unbearable and worse than any animal at my home (Dartmoor Zoo Park).

At the moment Sid is introducing me to some of his favourite tunes, my god he listens to some rubbish, but he has got me interested in Talking Heads, a very interesting band with some thought provoking lyrics.

This morning Sid tried to poison me with a strange smelling liquid called Coffee, I nearly puked, it is disgusting. Sid also called me a pervert today for talking about my rather splendid red and blue genitals, I think he is just jealous but Sam said that humans generally do not flaunt their genitals as I do, very strange.

If you want to keep any eye on my antics you can find me on facebook or join my group that I share with my less attractive brother Gordon (pictured right). You can also visit my family at Dartmoor Zoo Park.

Well that's it from me, no doubt Sam will be ranting and winging about something very soon!

Love Brian x x

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The most amazing day out at Dartmoor Zoo Park

Just 5 miles from the art of dance studio there is a fabulous opportunity for some very close encounters with some extreme exotic animals. Set within stunning grounds on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park is the Dartmoor Zoo Park, formerly Sparkwell Wildlife Park. The history and current renovation of the park is so fascinating that Hollywood film makers have based a film on owner Ben Mee's book 'The Day we bought a zoo'.

Caracara pictured above posing for his picture (he was very cute)

Today the art of dance staff team (minus Sue and Jana who were deeply missed) had the pleasure of spending a day at the zoo park as well as being treated to a special behind the scenes experience within the tiger enclosure. It was a day I will never forget, not just because of the tiger experience but because of all the wonder the park has to offer and the chance to share these wonders with my lovely fellow pole dancers; Megan Hookins, Emma Thorpe, Rosanna Durban and Tamar Preston, (pictured below).

For just £10.95 (family and other discounts available) you can spend the whole day at the park. Aside from the many animal enclosures there are lots of opportunities to watch feeding displays, falconry and close encounters. The Jaguar restaurant offers fresh, home-cooked food at great prices and there is a gift shop where Emma and I couldn't resist the chance to buy some toy monkeys (it was either that or we were stealing a real one!). At lunch I sampled the vege chilli and jacket potato having just missed the yummy looking carvery (this also has a vege option). There are plenty of options for carnivores too.

Walking around the park we had the chance to get up close and personal with a multitude of animals including the latest additions to the park; Capybara babies and 2 reindeer, one of whom was just 5 days old (see video). A day at the park just isn't enough and you leave wanting to return as soon as possible. The calming influence of this secret paradise mean you come away invigorated and refreshed, a perfect finish to a weekend that could actually be enjoyed on any or every day of the week.

Blotch the tiger.

The video tells you more of the story but apologies for my rubbish camera work. I did forget to press record for the falconry display but it was fabulous despite the barn owls refusal to perform as she was already full with mice, she did muster the energy to fly back to her car indicating that she wasn't in the hunting mood. The Harris Hawk and Lanner Falcon behaved much better and put on an amazing display of agility and grace. I am lucky enough to have experienced one of David Buncle's falconry experiences; my husband and I spent a day with David flying Hawks and Eagles and it was a truly memorable which I highly recommend as either a gift or treat for yourself.

If you want to get involved with DZP there are lots of opportunities to do so, you can simply visit, buy a membership (just £40 for unlimited entry!) or try one of the many gift experiences on offer. Businesses can also help out with sponsorship and win-win deals. If you run a school or community group then you can try one of the fantastic education opportunities that DZP offer. At the art of dance we hope to get more involved with DZP so expect to see some interesting projects on the Horizon involving the art of dance pole dancing instructors and 2 special monkeys!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Quick message of thanks :)

I will keep it brief today but just wanted to let you all know I haven't stopped blogging but have been very busy with the brand new PDC Syllabus (link is to old syllabus) which launches in June, Thanks to all of those who have been helping contribute to the Syllabus. The Syllabus will be an amazing resource for all pole dancing students and instructors :)

My second lot of thanks goes out to everyone who has sent messages of support to me over the last 24 hours as the press have reported the story about me teaching pole dancing to kids. I won't go into any of the issues that surround this as there is already plenty of healthy debate on the media. This whole week, which has included my birthday, has given me a chance to appreciate what wonderful friends and family I have and how lucky I am to have such an amazing support network, without them I could never have achieved so much. The birthday messages and support messages have flooded in via text, e-mail, facebook, phone and, of course, in person.

I am looking forward to spending this weekend with just a handful of those special people starting with Pirate day on the Barbican today and an art of dance team build tomorrow at Dartmoor Zoo Park (if there is a rapture I will still be here!).

My last bit of thanks must go to Cherie Gordon, the journalist at the Herald who did the original Herald article on my kids classes. I felt Cherie wrote a fair and balanced argument raising all the necessary points to provoke a healthy debate unlike other reporters who have merely used the story for a quick headline and to dig up the usual misconceptions.

Must dash now to finish the review of the fabulous All Wales Pole Dancing Championships before donning my pirate costume and heading off for some pillaging!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Delamore Arts 2011.

Last weekend my husband and I returned to the annual Delamore Arts and Sculpture exhibition at the stunning Delamore Estate in Cornwood, Devon. The Delamore Estate is open to the public just once a year for this marvellous event. Entry is just £5 and the exhibition is on until 31st May 2011. Rather than bore you with my usual ranting I will let the pictures tell their own story. Hope you like them?

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Death of Osama Bin Laden

Am I one of the few people who was not happy to hear about the Death of Osama Bin Laden? I am not saying I was personally upset but I was horrified to see images of a carnival atmosphere in New York. Whatever this man is guilty of, or not, I believed we lived in a civilised society where the forces would have done everything they could do catch Osama alive and bring him to trial. By killing the man and then celebrating his death surely we have lowered ourselves to the same standards as the extremists working for Al Quaeda.

It seems, for me, the the death of Osama is just another tragedy in the long line of violence associated with war in the middle east and the greedy fight for oil, power and money and if those caught up in the conflict are now happy to be killing each other then the future looks bleak.

Whatever your thoughts on Osama Bin Laden, this man like the rest of us had friends and family who now have to watch the world celebrating the death of their loved one and now that he will not face trial we will never know the truth about his alleged atrocities. It is a sad week for justice.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x