First day of kindergarten? Chinese school welcomes kids with a pole dancer

[Anna Fifield | The Washington Post]

A Chinese kindergarten principal has apologized after allowing a pole dancer to perform on the school’s opening day. Yes, you read that right. A Chinese kindergarten thought it was a good idea to have a scantily clad woman writhing around a pole in the school courtyard on Monday.

American writer Michael Standaert, who is based in the southern city of Shenzhen, was surprised, to say the least, when he and his wife took their children to the privately run Xinshahui kindergarten in the Bao’an district of Shenzhen on Monday.

There, on a stage in the courtyard, in front of rows of children aged 3 to 6, all first-day-ready in pristine white shirts and neatly pressed black shorts, a woman did a routine that would not be out of place in a downtown strip club.

Dressed in a tight, black midriff-baring top, black leather hotpants and high black sandals, she flung herself around the pole and down on the floor, flicking her hair suggestively.

Some little boys can be seen laughing and swinging around each other, while the little girls in red majorette-style outfits in the front appear frozen still. Several mothers can be seen hurriedly shooing their children away from the scene.

“Who would think this is a good idea?” Standaert asked above one of several videos he posted on Twitter.

“The principal hung up on my wife when she called after saying it was ‘international and good exercise’ . . . okay, yeah for adults maybe, but not 3- to 6-year-old kids,” he added.

There were also advertisements for a pole dancing school around the school courtyard, leading Standaert to wonder if the principal had accepted money in return for allowing the unusual display. He later said by email that he had not been able to confirm whether this was the case.

After the videos garnered lots of unwanted attention on the Internet, the Bao’an educational bureau said the pole dance was “inappropriate.” In a statement on Weibo, the Chinese answer to Twitter, the bureau asked the owner of the kindergarten to apologize to the parents and the public, and to sack the principal.

READ MORE @ WASHINGTON POST


From stigma to sexuality, a professional pole dancer reveals what she loves about the art

[Olivia Alexandra Scull | Bristol Live]

 

Celebrities, sponsors and visitors will be coming from all across the UK to the Achieve exhibition in Bristol.

It is an amazing opportunity to hear some inspiration speakers, try out some new products and discover new ways to improve your life.

Just one of the great opportunities at the Achieve exhibition is to see Lyndal Marwick, professional pole dance and owner of Pole Tales demonstrate her skills. You might even get to have a go yourself.

Lyndal has been running Pole Tales and training as a pole dancer for seven years. Her message behind Pole Tales is to prove those who think they can’t pole dance wrong.

“I teach men and women how to pole dance typically those who think they are too unfit or uncoordinated. I work with people who are bored with the gym and of the substandard services of fitness classes,” said Lyndal.

“I teach men and women how to pole dance typically those who think they are too unfit or uncoordinated. I work with people who are bored with the gym and of the substandard services of fitness classes."

— Vernanda Hart

She works one-on-one with these women to reach their individual goals and improve their physical as well as mental strength.

“Part of what I do is to make people realise that they can do it and it is challenging but it’s fun and has such a sense of achievement. I’m cutting through a person’s beliefs that they have about themselves,” explains Lyndal.

“When I first started pole dancing there was a lot of stigma but people are now gaining more and more awareness. The IPSFA are pursuing to have pole as an Olympic sport.

“Occasionally when I have had stigma I realise that it’s their own shame or misogyny that they are putting on me and I don’t choose to indulge that and feel ashamed of myself.

“All dance taps into our sexuality,” claims Lyndal. “What’s the difference with pole dancing… it can be whatever you want.

“People worry about how they are judged so they wouldn’t try it. Women should be free to express their sensuality. More and more men are doing pole dance too,” said Lyndal.

Lyndal is really excited to be part of the Achieve exhibition, she said: “There is more and more awareness in the UK about benefits of having a coach in helping you in whatever you want help in, whether that is spiritual or starting a business or healthy eating or keeping fit.

READ MORE @ BRISTOLPOST


2018 PWN AWARDS- WINNERS

CONGRATULATIONS WINNERS

 

The “Studio of the Year” Award

Best Studio of the Year          

 

Le Studio Francoise

 

The “Hot Legs” Award

Sexiest Legs of the Year

 

Maddie Sparkle

  

The “Gear It Up” Award

Best Pole and Aerial Apparel of the Year

 

Mila Krasna

 

The “You Rock” Award

Most Professional and Organized Company Award

 

Pole Sport Organization

 

The “Sensual Artistry” Award

Most Dedicated to Preserving Sensual Movement

 

Daria Che

 

The “Got Your Back” Award

Most Involved Sponsor         

 

Mighty Grip

 

The “Choreographer of the Year” Award

For Outstanding Choreography

 

Slava Ruza

 

The “Showcase of the Year” Award

Most Entertaining Pole and Aerial Arts Show

 

A Pole Story – Adventures in Wonderland (Singapore)

 

The “Outstanding Competition” Award

The Best Pole Competition of the Year

 

IPC 

 

The “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” Award

Best New Artist

 

Maria Jose Gomez Chavez

 

Exotic Artist of the Year

 

Kira Noire

 

Lyrical Artist of the Year

 

Magnus Labbe

 

Power Pole Artist of the Year

 

Rafaela Montanaro

 

The “Male Performance Artist of the Year” Award

Best Male Performer

 

Dimitry Politov

 

The “Female Performance Artist of the Year” Award

Best Female Performer

 

Heidi Coker


Now She's Fighting Back

[Dante Castle | BallerStatus]

 

Pole fitness is a widely popular form of exercise and attracts people from a variety of backgrounds. While it isn’t always meant as a sexual act, the art form remains taboo in the minds of many. Case in point, this teacher was suspended after a video of her pole dancing was leaked and now she’s fighting for her job with Hoke County Public Schools. Romper has reached out to Hoke County for comment, but has yet to hear back at this time.

Kandice Mason is a sixth-grade teacher in Hoke County, North Carolina. And while teaching English is her primary source of income, she also has a side job teaching a pole dancing fitness class. When Mason posted a video of herself pole dancing to her personal Facebook page, Café Mom reported, it was leaked to the school system and she was reportedly suspended from her job at the school.

I volunteered at a child care facility that Kandice was employed at. She did an amazing job with the children in her class. Not to mention that she is a highly educated, single mother. She would be an asset to any classroom she entered. I hope they consider this when they review the situation.

Since the reported suspension, Mason has spoken out about what happened to her. In an interview with local news station ABC 11 WDTV, she explained that pole fitness is something very special to her. “That’s how I stay in shape,” she said in the interview. “That’s how I feel like I can express myself and have time for myself.”

 

While Hoke County Schools has yet to respond to Romper’s request for comment, Café Mom reported that the school’s spokesperson, Donna Thomas, said that Mason has been suspended with pay pending an official investigation. When speaking with ABC 11, Mason explained that the school presented her with its policy when suspending her that reads:

 

As role models for the school system, students, however, employees are responsible for their public conduct … even when they are not performing their job duties as employees of the school system.

 

As the Associated Press reported on YouTube, Mason does not see her dancing as something to be ashamed of. “It’s just an art for me. I just don’t see it as negative,” Mason said in the video.

READ MORE @ ROMPER


Actress Kriti Kharbanda Is Newest Follower of Pole-Dancing in Bollywood

]

 

Kriti Kharbanda, who just did a delectable cameo in “Karwaan” and is set to release “Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se,” has been learning pole-dancing for quite some time now. The talented actress, who also features in Sajid Nadiadwala’s “Housefull 4,” was eager to give pole-dancing a shot for long.

 

Said the actress: “The best part about pole-dancing is that it’s not only about fitness but also about feeling confident while doing it. I was told that only when I was uninhibited about my cleavage being revealed, or about looking inappropriate when suspended on the pole, that I’d be more confident before the camera.”

“The best part about pole-dancing is that it’s not only about fitness but also about feeling confident while doing it.

— Kriti Kharbanda


Pole Dancing Across America Raises Funds for African Refugees

CONOR MCCORMICK-CAVANAGH| WESTWORD ]

On Sunday, August 19, Jane Haynie, her husband, Chris, and their two kids, Ascher and Alyssa, were out enjoying Cheesman Park. Instead of bringing a dog along or a ball to throw, Haynie, who lives in Fort Collins, brought her portable dancing pole. At 8:30 a.m., she hopped on the pole and began dancing, kicking off her cross-country campaign to raise $1,000 through social media for refugees living in central Africa.

“Pole dancing has been hugely inspiring and powerful for me. It really helped me open up and feel more free being myself in the world."

— Jane Haynie

Haynie thought to herself, “What can we do to make it more interesting?” Then she thought of her friend and fellow dancer, Aimee Heckel, whose parents run a nonprofit that helps refugees in Africa called Think Humanity. Haynie, a marketing professional, decided to use her hobby of about two and a half years to raise funds for the organization.

“Pole dancing has been hugely inspiring and powerful for me. It really helped me open up and feel more free being myself in the world,” she says.

 

he quick road-trip fundraiser, which ends today, August 21, included seven stops, spanning states from Colorado to Kentucky. At each stop, Haynie set up the pole in a public place and danced. The dancing was meant to raise awareness for the social-media fundraiser and the work Think Humanity is doing in refugee camps.

 

According to Beth Heckel, the head of Think Humanity, the organization’s fundraisers skew more traditional —golf tournaments, for example. “It’s very unusual and definitely different than anything we’ve done before. I commend her for her creativity,” says Heckel.

READ MORE @ WESTWORD


Teacher suspended over pole dancing video

[WSOCTV ]

A North Carolina teacher says she was suspended because the district found out she’s a part-time pole dancing instructor.

Kandice Mason works at West Hoke County Middle School in Raeford. She posted a video of her dancing on her private Facebook page. The school district found out about it and suspended her.

“I was really excited! I had already been given my classroom.”

— Kandice Mason

“I was really excited,” Mason told WSOC. “I had already been given my classroom.”

The single mother of two has a masters in psychology, bachelors in English and a certificate in phlebotomy.

She’s also a self-taught pole dancer, using it to unwind in her home after long days in the classroom.

“That’s how I stay in shape,” Mason said. “That’s how I feel like I can express myself and have time for myself.”

Hoke County Schools would not specify why Mason was suspended but cited a policy that says employees should be role models even when they’re not at work.

“I’ve worked so hard to try and make sure I can provide for my daughters and our livelihood to have it jeopardized just for doing something that I’m passionate about,” Mason said.

READ MORE @ AJC


Julie Fowler started pole-dancing to lose weight – now she's South Africa's champion

[Jay Caboz | Business Insider South Africa]

12 years ago, Julie Fowler wanted to lose weight. Then she found pole dancing.

Between the sport, which combines dance and acrobatics, and a healthier lifestyle, she shed 10 kilograms.

In 2018, the 36-year old was crowned SA’s pole sports champion.

“My first international competition was 2013,” she said. “The industry was so small then.”

“My first international competition was 2013. The industry was so small then.”

— Julie Fowler

In July she will travel to Spain to compete in the World Pole Sports Championship.

There she will compete with 41 athletes in the pole-sports division, the top among some 5,000 registered athletes from around the world.

Pole dancing is more complex than you may think. Competitors are judged on skill, technique and execution, much like synchronised swimming or rhythmic gymnastics.

Some of the more complex manoeuvres are the Russian Splits, a 180 degree split parallel to the floor, inverted.

“One needs to be flexible to achieve the split angle and strong enough to hold it in that position to be scored,” says Fowler.

READ MORE @ BUSINESS INSIDER SOUTH AFRICA


‘Hateful and ignorant’ priest targeting pole fitness studio

[CBS 58 Milwaukee]

There’s a conflict between the owner of a pole dancing fitness studio and a reverend in Beaver Dam, the priest doesn’t think it belongs downtown and the owner said he’s being ignorant.

Studio Paramour has pole dancing classes that are meant to be a fun way to get students in shape. Abigail Balliett and Amanda Garcia have been coming to pole fitness classes for about four weeks.

“From your neck to your toes, it harder than any workout I have ever done,” student Abigail Balliett said.

Students say it’s not only a great workout, but gives them confidence.

“I can be me. I don’t have to hide anything and I’m getting stronger,” Balliett said. “That’s the best part,” Garcia continues.

Tiffany McDaniel opened the business four months ago. She believes it’s a new and different place for people to exercise in the Beaver Dam area.

“To see them go from ‘Oh, I can’t do this’ to have them do it effortlessly now. It’s an amazing feeling,” McDaniel said.

“I almost vomited because it was unjust and plain ignorant...  It feels like a modern day witch hunt."

— Tiffany McDaniel

That excited feeling quickly changed last week when McDaniel opened a letter sent to her studio, the Beaver Dam Mayor and the City Attorney. The owner was shocked to receive the letter from a local reverend saying her business is insensitive to women. The studio is meant for exercise, but Reverend Michael Erwin of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish in Beaver Dam shared in that letter, he doesn’t see it that way.

In part the letter says:

We already have a problem for our downtown being littered with pawn shops which exploit the poor, now we have an exercise facility that is insensitive to women who are held captive by force or drugs in the for-profit sex industry.

“I almost vomited because it was unjust and plain ignorant,” McDaniel said.

Rev. Erwin goes on to say the church may regret keeping their parish in downtown Beaver Dam and also makes references to recent human trafficking charges filed against a Dodge County man connected to two strip clubs.

“You just don’t put those things in the same realm as what we do,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel believe the letter is hateful, uneducated and doesn’t reflect anything they do or stand for.

“It feels like a modern day witch hunt,” McDaniel said.

READ MORE @ CBS 58


Poetry in Pole-Dancing: A Shenzhen Burlesque Dancer’s Journey

[Zhuorui Fu | That’s Mags]

A Shenzhen native, burlesque dancer Zixy pursued a degree in Fine Arts at the Institute of Chicago and there gained experience as a pole dancer, a career choice rarely seen among Chinese students overseas. Years later, she’s positioned herself at the center of the world burlesque dancing scene: New York City. Her journey has had its ups and downs but in the end, she’s discovered poetry in her work as a pole dancer. Here’s the account of her lyrical journey from Shenzhen to New York.

"I did Chinese traditional dance before. A lot of my inspiration and moves still come from my childhood exposure to traditional dance. Frankly, I got into pole-dancing [in high school] out of coincidence."

— Zixy

Tell me about some of your formative experiences in Shenzhen.
Besides studying in a liberal environment [at Shenzhen Middle School], I also started mingling with adults and people in the real world when I was in high school. I moved out with a classmate… into a studio apartment, so we had our own space and own lives outside of school.

How did you get into the art of burlesque? 
I did Chinese traditional dance before. A lot of my inspiration and moves still come from my childhood exposure to traditional dance. Frankly, I got into pole-dancing [in high school] out of coincidence. When I was practicing and teaching dance, I met one person doing poles. He asked me to try. I tried. I had never expected to fall [in love with] pole-dancing so much. But as I began doing more and more of burlesque, it became a part of my life.

Have your parents ever argued against your dancing? And how did your pole-dancing develop while you were in Chicago?
No, they were supportive. I have a great family, and they love me. In Chicago, everything went well. I kept practicing over there, studied Fine Arts and used the opportunities the city offered, like [going] to events, [and] kept fine-tuning my dancing moves. Then I started teaching. Gradually, over four years, I accumulated more students, more [of a] reputation, earned money, and for sure my skills became better as well.

How did you end up in New York?
By the time graduation loomed, I was facing a lot of pressures to have a real job. [I was] a mess, I do not know how I got through it. I applied for a fellowship program in New York with my current dancing firm, which I had wanted to enroll in since my first year. They only take a handful of people globally and they took me. I felt it was the right chance to come, and I needed to change my life – I couldn’t stay in Chicago anymore.

READ MORE @ THAT'S MAG


Photos of Pole Dancing Competition show just how hard it actually is

[Heather Leighton | Houston Chronicle]

This weekend was the Pacific Pole Championships in Los Angeles and Getty Images of the performances show just how intense the art of pole dancing actually is.

On April 7 and 8, performers – both professional and amateur – took to the championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles.

A photographer with Getty Images was at the competition and captured incredible images of the performers – both men and women – showing off their skills mid-air.

"Combining dance and acrobatics, originally began as entertainment in strip clubs, pole dancing soon became mainstream as a form of exercise and expression."

— Getty Images

“Combining dance and acrobatics, originally began as entertainment in strip clubs, pole dancing soon became mainstream as a form of exercise and expression,” Getty Images said in the caption of the photos. “Competitions are now held in countries throughout the world and has a participant level estimated at over 30,000 in the US.”

The Pacific Pole Championships is one of several annual events that go on throughout America, Canada, and Switzerland. According to the Pole Sport Organization, which organizes the dancing competitions, there are 15 competitions that happen throughout the world. Other upcoming locations for competitions include Chicago, Atlanta, Mexico City, Dallas, and several others. The U.S. nationals are set to be in Los Angeles on August 11 and 12.

READ MORE @ HOUSTON CHRONICLE


How pole dancing helped this actress overcome depression

[Divya Goyal | NDTV]

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s niece Smilie Suri debuted in Bollywood in 2005 film Kalyug, which was a critical and commercial success but the actress’ career failed to take off after that. “After a hit like Kalyug, I didn’t get any films and I come from a family of achievers. To be able to live through that and say ‘I need help’ is very difficult,” she told news agency IANS. While battling depression, Smilie Suri was introduced to pole dancing, which she says gave her “the focus and grounding” she needed. Smilie Suri, 34, told IANS: “I took time to realise the true purpose of my life. Everyone takes their own amount of time to heal.”

"I took time to realise the true purpose of my life. Everyone takes their own amount of time to heal."

— Smilie Suri

After Kalyug, Smilie Suri starred in Yeh Mera India. She had cameo roles in Crook and Teesri Aankh: The Hidden Camera. Smilie Suri also played the role of Rukaiyah in TV show Jodha Akbar for a few episodes.

READ MORE @ NDTV


Confessions of an Exotic Dancer

[GRACE ALLEN | Refinery 29]
With ever more burlesque and strip clubs opening around the UK, exotic dancing has seen something of a reinvention in recent years.

Pole dancing classes have been embraced in many cities as an alternative to the usual workouts – Pilates, yoga or spinning. The connotations are positive and wholesome: gain body confidence, get fitter and healthier, feel sexier.

While there are many for whom exotic dancing continues to have a sinister side – women often turn to this industry when they find themselves in financial trouble, out of options and lacking support – there are others who choose to make it their profession, citing benefits like flexibility, fitness, and high earning potential.

"Dancing is like a love-hate relationship. It’s a tough profession. The best thing about dancing is just being able to express yourself... [but] We dancers are often the punching bag of society."

— Mysterious Exotic Dancer

We speak to one exotic dancer to find out the ups and downs of the job, from clients to hours and pay.

How long have you worked as an exotic dancer?

Since October 2009.

How and why did you start working in this industry?

When I moved from Europe to the US in 1998 I started working as a fitness instructor, teaching mainly yoga and Pilates. In 2005, interested in pole dancing, I took classes. I was later trained to teach pole. Then in 2008 the economy took a hard hit. My family was struggling financially so my husband and I decided to stake out some high-end strip clubs. I thought I had all the skill and training to take matters into my own hands and bring in enough money for us to live more comfortably. We did a lot of research and after an audition at a fully nude club, I started working there. Little did I know that dancing was just about 30% of the job.

What are the best things about the job?

The best thing about dancing is just being able to express yourself. With every stage I take or every private dance I do, I get the chance to make my audience feel. I can touch people, bring them to life, wake hidden desires. This applies to men as well as women (the club I work at has a mixed clientele – men, women, couples). The other thing I really like about dancing is that I choose who I talk to, who I spend time with, or who I dance privately for. At the club that I work at there’s no pressure from management to ask for private dances if I don’t want to.

READ MORE @ REFINERY29


2018 PWN Awards - Vote Now!

[Pole World News]

Since 2014, PWN has hosted award shows celebrating the best and most entertaining talent in the pole industry. 

Year after year we’ve hosted a gala night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. During this time we’ve realized there is simply too much talent in the pole and aerial community to fit into one night of celebration, so we’re switching things up!

Welcome to the first PWN Awards Online Experience! Here’s how it works:

This year’s nominees have been carefully selected by the *PWN Academy Ambassadors Committee.

  1. Carefully read through the voting categories (we’ve changed a few) and vote as you see fit!
  2. Voting ends August, 6th 2018 @ 11:59pm.
  3. Winners will be notified August 8th.
  4. Beginning August 20th, we will announce 2 winners per week for the following 10 weeks. Each announcement will be accompanied by a special artist feature, including videos, photo galleries, interviews, and more!
  5. Voting from a community computer? No problem, just be sure each voter clears the browser cache (browsing history) after voting.

The “Studio of the Year” Award - Best Studio of the Year

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The “Hot Legs” Award - Sexiest Legs of the Year

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The “Gear It Up” Award - Best Pole and Aerial Apparel of the Year

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The “You Rock” Award - Most Professional and Organized Company Award

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The “Sensual Artistry” Award - Most Dedicated to Preserving Sensual Movement

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The “Got Your Back” Award - Most Involved Sponsor

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The “Choreographer of the Year” Award - For Outstanding Choreography

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The “Showcase of the Year” Award Most Entertaining Pole and Aerial Arts Show

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The “Outstanding Competition” Award - The Best Pole Competition of the Year

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The “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” Award - Best New Artist

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The " Exotic Artist of the Year" Award - Best Exotic Artist

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The "Lyrical Artist of the Year" Award - Best Lyra Artist

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The "Power Pole Artist of the Year" Award

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The “Male Performance Artist of the Year” Award - Best Male Performer

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The “Female Performance Artist of the Year” Award Best Female Performer

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"The Oscar's of pole dancing."

— KCRW Radio

PWN Academy Ambassadors Committee

  • Cristiana Bembo (Italy)
  • Evgeny Greshilov (Russia)
  • Jedda Jordan (Australia)
  • Leigh Ann Reilly (USA)
  • Natasha Wang (USA)
  • Stacey Sneddon (United Kingdom)

Stay tuned for more!


Anne Noris wins Pole Idol @ IPC 2018

[The Ross Gazette]

Pole instructor, Annie Norris, is feeling on top of the world. She is so highly regarded in the pole sporting world that last month she was invited to compete in an all expenses paid trip to Brisbane, Australia, to compete in the prestigious International Pole Championships 2018, competing against the very best in the world. The public had voted her as Pole Idol winner, and in Brisbane she won the Instructor of the Year award.

Only the second British person to make it to the finals, this is the culmination of years of hard work Annie has put in to pass on her acrobatic, dance and pole skills to others. 13 years ago she set up Pure-Studios which runs classes pole dancing, trapeze, aerial hoop, aerial silks, stretch and burlesque, as well as many other dancer classes, and it has gone from strength to strength.

“Teaching is my absolute passion... I travel across the country and world to learn new ways to teach and new techniques, to give my students the best possible classes and tuition.”

— Annie Norris

Annie is a renowned judge as well as a teacher, and flies all over the world to judge pole competitions, present seminars and perform. Astonishingly, she managed to find time to marry her fiancé Kieran in a fairy tale wedding, only days after returning from Brisbane.

READ MORE @ ROSS GAZETTE


Pole dancers bring disco theme for second Errington hall event

Island Talent Pole Fitness show to include national champs on June 2

[Adam Kveton | Parksville Qualicum Beach News]

A variety of athletes and performers are setting their poles back up at Errington hall for the second Island Talent Pole Fitness Show.

Having taken place last year for the first time, students of Island Talent Pole Fitness and their teacher, Glenny Davidson, introduced many people to a growing side of pole dancing — one that emphasizes physical strength, theatricality and even comedy, as opposed to stripping.

While Davidson said in a previous interview that there is nothing wrong with being sexy, what she and her students do is more about the sport and theatre side of what pole dancing can be.

“I had quite a few older ladies come up to me that had been at the show that were just amazed by the talent and strength (of the dancers)... Errington hall has quite a bit of support in the community, so there were people that had never been to a pole show that actually went, so it wasn’t just family and friends of people who pole. There was other people in the community that went.”

— Glenny Davidson

Last year’s pole fitness show did a lot to show the dance in a new light, said Davidson, while also giving her students a chance to show their community what they can do.

“I had quite a few older ladies come up to me that had been at the show that were just amazed by the talent and strength (of the dancers),” said Davidson.

“Errington hall has quite a bit of support in the community, so there were people that had never been to a pole show that actually went, so it wasn’t just family and friends of people who pole. There was other people in the community that went.”

For this year’s show, Davidson is encouraging attendees to get in on some of the fun. With a disco fever theme, there will be prizes for the best costumes in the audience. Some door prizes and/or costume prizes include a home dance pole, and a free tattoo.

In keeping with the theme, Davidson will be doing her performance wearing roller skates, which she notes don’t seem so heavy until you’re trying to invert yourself.

READ MORE @ PQB NEWS


Pole dancers headed for World Championships

[Donna Collins | New Era]

Namibian acrobatic pole dancers, Sonja Keil and Charlie de Bortoli, have elevated their extreme pole dancing routine to international status.

They have been chosen as the only act of its kind to participate in the World Performing Arts Championships in Los Angeles [LA] , United States of America [USA] on July 2. The duo first made their debut at the 2016 Carnival of Flames Extravaganza in Swakopmund, when in skimpy costumes mesmerised a large audience with their graceful and acrobatic double dance routine using a metal pole as support. Since then these two incredibly talented artists, have gone from strength to strength performing shows around the country, amongst others at the WIKA Carnival.

They are also the first Namibian Pole Dance Doubles to compete in the [USA] Pole Dance Competition, coming first in the doubles category. They then went on to compete in the Namibian Championship of Performing Arts last year, winning an invitation to [LA] this July, as the only represented pole dancers from hundreds of different acts around the world.

Their 13-day trip will include boot camps, workshops, modeling and shows and because they are the only pole dancers chosen to participate, Sonja and Charlie will be teamed up with invited acrobatic circus acts, which is the first time this category has been opened. Preparation and practice is high up on their agenda, with costumes and routines being perfected. They will be performing in six acts with Sonja doing three solos, as well as a duo performances. But performing aside, both girls have an impressive CV and are unique artists and professionals in their own right. Sonja studied drama and dancing, group fitness training, personal training and yoga for six years in Cape Town, and started with pole dancing in her second year to “try something new and exciting”.

“I want every woman to try pole dancing at least once in their lives, just for them to find out how absolutely beautiful and strong we can be.”

— Sonja Keil

“I fell in love with pole dancing immediately and it was really amazing performing at different events and showing people the beauty of pole dancing,” says Sonja. “I want every woman to try pole dancing at least once in their lives, just for them to find out how absolutely beautiful and strong we can be.” Sonja also worked as an instructor for five years in a Cape Town pole dance studio, then spread her wings to Australia, to further embark on more pole dance training, which resulted in her opening up her own Pole Dance Fitness Studio in Swakopmund.

Charlie is one of the few Namibian women with a black-belt in Karate. She also takes part in regular fire spinning shows, performing for international tourists in exotic desert locations, as well as corporate events. She is a mom, and put herself through accounting studies, which is her day job.

READ MORE @ NEW ERA


Kennel Club bans vet's Pink Panther pole dancing routine with her border collie

[Jessica Green | Daily Mail]

 

  • Dog banned by the Kennel Club from taking part in a pole dancing routine 
  • Rebecca Kennedy, of Glasgow, was planning to perform at a fundraising gala
  • But now the 25-year-old vet has been warned that she could face a £300 fine

 

A vet’s Pink Panther pole dancing routine with her border collie has been banned by the Kennel Club because it ‘isn’t suitable for a family audience’.

Rebecca Kennedy, of Glasgow, was planning to perform a new sequence involving her border collie, Izzy, at a fundraising gala to help Scotland’s dog-training ‘Heelwork to Music’ team get to the European Championships.

The pair, dressed as burglars, synchronise their moves to the Pink Panther theme tune as Rebecca performs on the pole and Izzy jumps through her outstretched arms.

"During the communist time there was no pole dancing in Hanoi. Now it's seen as an art form."

— Vernanda Hart

Rebecca and Izzy competed in their first show in June last year.

They performed a Lion King routine at the Bearded Collie Heelwork to Music competition in Lanark.

A relatively new type of competition, Heelwork to Music involves participants performing routines timed to music with their dog.

Speaking about her 2017 performance, Rebecca said: ‘After the performance a judge came up to me and told me there were some banned moves but that there was not a problem with me using the pole.’

Yet the pole dancer then received an email from the Kennel Club which told her she was prohibited from taking part in the fundraising gala as her routine was ‘merely a circus act and not a serious canine activity’.

They also deemed pole dancing as ‘not suitable for a family audience’.

But Rebecca said: ‘There is nothing sexual about my routine. I was wearing modest clothing and I’m very aware of my angles and what part of my body I’m showing to the audience.

‘I make sure I manoeuvre myself in a tasteful way. The sport is not just from strip clubs – it’s also known as Chinese pole.

‘The event was a fundraiser to help Team Scotland go to the championships.

‘It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and they’re hoping for it to become an Olympic sport.

‘I told the Kennel Club this but I have had no response.’

A Kennel Club spokesman confirmed Rebecca had been contacted about a ‘regulation breach’ but declined to comment further.

READ MORE @ DAILY MAIL


Cork scientist representing Ireland in the World Pole Dance Championships

[Sarah Horgan | Evening Echo]

A CORK microbiologist is shedding her lab coat in favour of something a little more risqué after being selected to compete in the World Pole Dance Championships.

Jenny Schmiedel is busy balancing lab duties with practising her routine for the contest which takes place in Tianjin, China, next Monday.

The performer took up pole fitness while still a teenager and teaches classes regularly at her studio, EM Fitness and Nutrition, on Model Farm Road.

“I was around 15 or 16 when I decided I wanted to do this.”

“I grew up in the middle of nowhere so I’m not sure exactly how I got it into my head. The only sport I had taken an interest in before that was horse riding,” said Jenny. There was something about the strength and grace of the women involved in pole fitness that I really admired. I come from a very open family so my parents were nothing but supportive.

“I always find that people have expectations of you depending on your age... everyone works at their own pace. In order to be happy you have to do what’s right for you.”

— Jenny Schmiedel

“They were just happy that I’d found something I was interested in and was passionate about taking it to the next level.”

Jenny is keen to inspire others to follow their own path.

“I always find that people have expectations of you depending on your age. It’s unrealistic to think that we should have ‘the man’, house and kids by the age of thirty when everyone works at their own pace. In order to be happy you have to do what’s right for you.”

Jenny’s colleagues have also expressed interest in her exploits.

“It was actually announced that I was heading to the championships at a lab meeting. My boss is super excited about the whole thing.

“Everyone at work is really happy for me. One of my colleagues is even taking one of my classes.”

Pole fitness has been more than just a sport for Jenny.

READ MORE @ EVENING ECHO


Tucson pole athletes prepare for regional competition

[Jeff Gardner | Tucson Local Media]

Katrina Wyckoff danced ever since she was a kid. In 2006, she became director of the Centre Stage Dance Studio in Oro Valley, and continued formal dancing. But in 2013, when she stumbled upon a pole sport and dancing class, everything changed.

“I saw the good that pole brought out as people discovered their own strengths and styles,” Wyckoff said. “People don’t realize there’s a whole athletic side to it.”

Now, Wyckoff if helping to host the regional competitions for the US Pole Sports Federation and is part of a committee that is drafting the codebook for what may someday be an Olympic event.

“I saw the good that pole brought out as people discovered their own strengths and styles. People don’t realize there’s a whole athletic side to it.”

— Katrina Wyckoff

Once Wyckoff started working with poles in her dancing, she implemented them at Centre Stage. But soon, the dancers of Oro Valley became interested, and even more than that, passionate. Before long, the dance studio was filled with poles, so Centre Stage founded a second location to keep up with the demand.

“What started as a few poles in the corner of the dance studio grew into a whole sport of its own,” she said. “It has come so naturally. There’s a need for people to have a place to go to, and to fall in love with their work out at.”

Poling generally starts as fitness with most people, but as time goes on and their strength improves, it becomes a sport and contains a life and artistry of its own, much like gymnastics. For a set, the athletes choose 10 moves to perform from five categories. Professional pole sport sets are based on three A’s: artistry, athleticism and adventure.

Of course, exercising in and around a pole holds a stigma. Although poles have been used in fitness across the world for centuries, in the modern day, they are undoubtedly associated with erotic dancing.

“Of course there’s a stigma, but we’re not on some big mission to change people’s minds,” she said. “As people see the athletic passion, the stigma will be removed.”

When skeptics see a pole athlete 6 feet in the air, holding themselves at a 180-degree angle with just their forearm strength, and then doing a backflip from that pose onto the ground below, they’ll probably be convinced it’s a form of fitness, if not a perfectly legitimate sport.

READ MORE @ TUCSON LOCAL MEDIA