‘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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Pole Dancing comes to Boston University

[Megan Woolhouse | BU Today]

For most people, pole dancing conjures up unsavory images fit for a Sopranos episode, so let’s get a few things out of the way.

BU’s Pole Dancing Circuit class was not intended to train a new generation of exotic dancers. This FitRec class was about fitness, and fun.

Micki Taylor-Pinney, BU dance program director, says the three-session not for credit class was created to introduce students to an increasingly popular form of exercise and self-expression, one that demands muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.

“Pole dancing has had a certain image,” Taylor-Pinney acknowledges. “But more recently, it’s had a rebirth for fitness. So what we’re offering is a mix of dance and exercise, really not unlike aerial dance.”

It’s a workout whose popularity is growing both in the United States and abroad. Studios dedicated to pole dancing have cropped up in nearly every major American city, and international competitions abound. There’s even a nascent effort to make it an Olympic sport.

“Pole dancing has had a certain image, but more recently, it’s had a rebirth for fitness. So what we’re offering is a mix of dance and exercise, really not unlike aerial dance.”

— Taylor-Pinney

Taylor-Pinney says that students had requested a pole dancing class, so FitRec rolled out a pilot class this spring. The class was deemed so successful that Taylor-Pinney has scheduled four more sections during the summer. The four- or five-week-long classes will meet once a week and will be taught by modern and contemporary dancer and dance instructor Liz Roncka (Sargent’95,’97), who taught the pilot class.

Roncka says she became interested in aerial movement performed using ropes in the late 1990s as a professional dancer. She began studying pole dancing about four years ago as a means of fitness and artistic expression and eventually became certified to teach it.

Performing exotic moves in a safe place surrounded by supportive people is often part of pole’s appeal, and Roncka occasionally wowed observers during class with her aerial splits and other gravity-defying poses.

“Students are choosing pole for a reason,” she says. “Yes, they’re curious and it’s different because it’s aerial, but you also want to experience a more free and empowered version of yourself.”


Spiral pole dancer Kristel de Catalina wins 'PGT 6'

[ABS-CBN News]

A spiral pole dancer took home the crown during the grand finals of the sixth season of “Pilipinas Got Talent” held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on Sunday.

Kristel de Catalina was named the grand winner, garnering an average of 99.67 percent of votes from viewers and judges.

For her grand finals performance, De Catalina set her spiral pole dance routine to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.”

"Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat... Anak, para sa 'yo 'to."

— Kristel de Catalina

“Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat… Anak, para sa ‘yo ‘to,” she said.

“Thank you sa inyong lahat na bumoto at nagtiwala sa akin,” De Catalina added.

She took home P2 million as this season’s winner.

De Catalina caught the attention of both the judges and viewers as early as the auditions, when she received the “Golden Buzzer” for her performance.

In the semifinals, she blew away the competition when she dedicated her to her son.


Pole Fitness at Scarlet Studio in Brockton

[Joe Pelletier | Brockton Wicked Local]

Wendy Dayle, owner of Scarlet Studio in Brockton, says pole sports goes beyond strip-club stigmas.

BROCKTON — Pole sports will be an Olympic event someday.

You can count on it, says Wendy Dayle.

“It’ll happen,” she said, toweling off after a grueling pole workout at her Brockton studio. “Absolutely. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the world — it’s huge in Europe.”

And for years, it has been gaining popularity in Massachusetts. The sport (also known as pole fitness or pole dancing) is a little bit gymnastics and a little bit acrobatics, with touches of contemporary dance and circus flair.

“We, as a culture, oversexualize anything that the female body does. I can’t tell you how many girls don’t know how to simply move their hips from side to side. They’re taught not to move that way — that it’s vulgar.”

- Wendy Dayle

Dayle, who runs Scarlet Studio in Brockton, has been teaching pole fitness for about 10 years. Or pole dancing, she says — yeah, you can call it that.

She understands the stigma behind pole dancing: the strip-club connotations, the oversexualization of it all. And she embraces that stigma — the name Scarlet Studio is a nod to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Her classes, she said, are more than that stigma.

“I felt like Hester (Prynne, the protagonist) kind of lived outside societal norms,” Dayle said last week. “And she was forced to wear that awful scarlet letter, and she embraced it. So I’m embracing the rebel that Hester was.”


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.


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.


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.


These Epic Pole-Dancing Photos Are The Fitspiration You Didn’t Know You Needed

"Pole surfing" is apparently a thing.

[ | Women’s Health]

Pole dancing is no easy feat—it takes an intense amount of physical power to pull, slide, and swivel around that pole. Not only do you need to have a strong upper body to ace pole dancing, but also a lot of leg power and stamina (and a rock-solid core).

Have you ever carried a surfboard? Those things are heavy AF—and @lunalila is holding one upside down while dangling from one leg.

Now, the company Power Pole Sports is asking pole enthusiasts to take their fitness abilities to the next level: They’ve challenged followers to take photos of themselves doing things they do every day, but on the pole. And the results are mind-blowing, to say the least:


Allison Sipes continues to pole dance through her pregnancy

[Rebecca Reid | Metro]

A woman from Orlando, Florida, is proving that pregnancy is no reason to give up on something you love.

(Unless what you love is doing vodka shots & smoking cigars, in which case I’m so sorry but you are probably going to need to learn to compromise.)

Allison Sipes is a professional pole dancer, and she’s amazed fans by continuing with pole through her pregnancy. Allison, 35, has been pole dancing since 2005. She teaches pole and also manages the US Pole Sports Federation, so it’s fair to say that pole is a big part of her life.

‘They [doctors] think what I do is pretty cool!  They all encouraged me to continue exercise as long as I wanted to. I have fortunately had a very healthy pregnancy with zero complications, so keeping up with what I love to do – pole and aerial – has been a blessing.’

— Allison Sipes

Discussing the challenges of pregnant pole dancing, Allison said: ‘Pole dancing was business as usual until about 6 months, then the extra weight gain/weight displacement began to make it challenging strength wise, and with regards to what I was able to do safely with my growing belly.’

As her body changed Allison adjusted her routine in order to keep going. She said: ‘I’m still going strong at almost 38 weeks, and plan to continue until labour.’
Given that women who are fitter before and during pregnancy tend to have faster and easier labours, Allison’s activity should stand her in good stead when she gives birth to her daughter, due in April.

Of course, because when you get pregnant everyone suddenly has opinions about your body, people have asked Allison about the safety of what she’s doing. She explains: ‘I have spoken with my doctors about my form of fitness, and they all agreed that as long as I felt good, keep doing it, because it will make delivery and recovery after much easier.


South Windsor's Lisa Ebrahim wins Arnold Sports Festival pole dancing bronze medal

[Conor Hickey | Hawkesbury Gazette]

South Windsor woman Lisa Ebrahim’s pole dancing interpretation of the movie Predator saw her win a bronze medal at the Arnold Sports Festival in Melbourne earlier this month.

Ebrahim attended the three-day festival, which is run annually, and claimed a bronze medal in the amateur pole dancing category, which had 14 competitors in it.

The festival, started by Arnold Schwarzenegger, features a number of sports such as pole dancing, body building and cross fit to name a few.

The bronze medal in the Pole Championship Series was a big deal to 39-year-old Ebrahim, who finished in fourth place the year before, and was disappointed to miss out on a podium finish.

“I was visualizing what it would be like to get the medal all week... It was a great feeling. I was pretty shocked when my name was called out.”

— Lisa Ebrahim

The mother of two has participated in pole dancing for about four-and-a-half years, and became an instructor at Poletique in Richmond two-and-a-half years ago.

“I just loved how strong the women were and how acrobatic and dynamic and how graceful it is,” she said of the sport.

In Melbourne, Ebrahim decided she needed an eye-catching act to break into the medal category, after just missing out on one in 2017.

She opted to honour the man who started the festival, and created a routine based around Predator, the creature which Schwarzenegger hunts in the movie of the same name.

“I was Predator, my movements were quite animalistic,’ she said.

“Arnold was in the original predator, I thought it would be good. I am not a dancer by trade, so I thought what could I do.

“I remember in the movie he hung bodies up from trees. I got into a ball shape at the top of the pole and let my arms go like on a roller coaster. Everything went well luckily.”

She said she loved the entire experience of the competition.

She said there were Sydney based pole dancing competitions that she attended, but they did not have nearly the same crowds as were at the festival in Melbourne.

“It was exhilarating. Normally in pole competitions you are in front of your own community, but there were thousands of people there watching,” she said.


Her Poles Have a Particular Magnetism

A nun, a Charedi housewife and a U.N. official walk into a pole-dancing studio…

[Deborah Danan | Jewish Journal]

No, that’s not the beginning of a joke with a Middle Eastern twist, it’s just a random Monday at JPole, an exercise studio in Jerusalem owned by —  and the plot thickens — a religious settler.

Originally from Bet El, a Jewish community a stone’s throw from Ramallah, Ayelet Finkelstein opened her studio in the city center six years ago with strong ideals and a weak business plan. “I’m not a business person at all,” Finkelstein admitted. “I just wanted women to feel good about themselves.”

“In here, you strip your clothes and your preconceived notions.”

— Ayelet Finkelstein

From that perspective, at least, the studio flourished. Women suffering from anorexia joined those battling obesity and with each spin of the pole their confidence bloomed.

But maintaining 1,600-square-feet of prime real estate in the Holy City was no easy task, and in August Finkelstein was forced to close her studio.

“You get to the point where you gave your soul and your heart and then you have nothing left on your plate to give,” she said.

But after the liens, the municipal fines, and the heart-gripping anxiety attacks, that’s when the yeshua — or divine redemption — steps in, she said. In her case, it came in the form of a loyal student who helped Finkelstein reopen her studio at an existing gym, saving her overhead costs.

Finkelstein views pole dancing as a form of exercise like any other but she doesn’t dismiss the sexy side to it. She runs the gamut of pole classes — from a focus on the sport’s athletic, acrobatic side to classes that combine the pole with contemporary dance.


Pole fitness @ Taos Body Shop

A new fitness class in Taos has students spinning with excitement.

[Jessie Moya | The Taos News]

Adding to the growing list of classes at the Taos Body Shop, owner Julia Fernandez de Maez has introduced X-pole Xpress Southwest classes to teach community members about pole fitness.

Classes will be offered for the first time in Taos, making the Body Shop the first Northern New Mexico fitness studio to offer the experience, according to Fernandez de Maez. Through the classes, students will be offered a full body workout experience that takes dancing, fitness and gravity to new heights.

"When people think of pole dancing, they think of stripping. That's not what we're doing here. We take a very athletic approach to this."

— Fernandez de Maez

Fernandez de Maez said she is taking the taboo out of pole fitness and is encouraging others to try out her classes. The shop has been offering classes for the past two weeks, and Fernandez de Maez said classes are filling up and growing.

Pole fitness is a growing trend across the U.S. and incorporates a full-body workout for students participating. The hourlong classes at the Body Shop focus on several different areas of the body including arms, core and legs while working on the dance routines. Learners are encouraged to start at the basics and build their confidence through the routines and workouts provided by Fernandez de Maez.


Pole dancing helped a mother-of-three recover from breast cancer and PTSD

Emilia Mazza | Daily Mail]

A mother-of-three has revealed how becoming a pole dancing instructor after a series of traumatic events has given her the strength to always battle on – no matter what life sends her way.

Northern Territory-based Kerryn Luby is currently in recovery from early stage two breast cancer, after she lost her son in 2010 and was once threatened by someone wanting to kill her children.

But since taking part in and teaching pole dancing, she has built a stronger body and mind, and it’s also helped her to focus on her needs, according to the 49-year-old.

‘It’s not a sexual activity, it’s a way of looking after yourself in a nurturing environment,’ Ms Luby told FEMAIL.

"It's a way of looking after yourself."

— Kerryn Luby

Ms Luby was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2016 and has since undergone surgery, chemo and radiation – her cancer is currently in remission.

And while this has meant less time teaching, every week she shows up to her studio, Champagne Fitness, which she opened in 2009, to help women practice their pole dancing moves.

She said she came to the activity, one that’s more aligned with sport than stripping these days, after a traumatic event had left her struggling with ongoing issues from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Touching on details, Ms Luby revealed she had received a letter at work one day, that was sent anonymously, in which the writer had threatened to kill her three children.

She was alone at the time as her husband, who she is now divorced from, was overseas working with the RAAF.

The upbeat music helped relax my mind and gave me energy at the same time. It was also very supportive because it was all women.

The letter left her so badly affected that all she wanted to do for the next year was stay at home and protect her kids. She was also placed under the care of a psychologist.

The turning point came when one night some girlfriends invited her to a pole dancing class – something she credits with changing her life.