Trials & Tribulations of capturing those Pole Photos!

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Trials & tribulations of Pole Photography
So you’ve been to a few pole classes now and may want a few photos to share with friends and family and to capture your achievements. Great, Just grab a friend and a camera (or probably a phone these days), point and click… easy right?! Oh no no no…..
Well yeah, you could, but you’re more likely to end up with pole mishaps than pole marvel. Here are a few things to think about to try and get those fab pics you deserve in less time.

1) Make sure you’re ready!
Make sure you are comfortable and ready to hold the move you want a picture of for a decent time frame. Generally you’ll need to be able to SAFELY hold the move for more than a couple of seconds before being able to capture the moment on camera. It is fine to have your instructor or spotter in the picture if it’s a particularly tricky move that you’d like but still don’t feel 100% (possibly in the case of a workshop where you’d like the move to remember but haven’t had time to perfect it) but they shouldn’t be actually visibly holding you up in the picture, unless it’s a multi-person move. (Doubles, triples etc..) Also bear in mind you don’t have to be doing the most complicated move there is for it to look impressive, some of the simple moves look lovely as a picture, whilst the difficulty and effort of some of the harder ones just doesn’t come out on the other side of a lens.

2) It’s all about the angles!
If you are getting a non- pole friend to take the picture make sure you show them the angle it should be taken at, I’ve frequently seen people taking pictures so that you have no idea what move its supposed to be and it really doesn’t do the move (or your body) Justice. You end up with that awkward moment when you’re friend is really proud of herself for taking the picture and when you look at it you’re thinking… ‘Oh no, that totally doesn’t look like it’s supposed to.. I look awful!’ but instead you smile and say ‘Aw, that’s great thanks!’ Also try and suggest they stand a bit further back, you can always zoom in and crop on a photo to get closer but can’t zoom out any further than the original shot. This also applies to videos too, I remember when filming for a TV programme, when they’ve edited it they’ve zoomed in on my crotch for some bizarre reason and missed the move in its entirety (Total cringe). I think the move might have been a Cupid drop into Gemini… I remember being gutted because the whole combo was great and it really didn’t show the performance in a great light. And these were meant to be professionals. Don’t panic too much however about the fact you can ‘See the cellulite in my thighs’.. We all have body hang ups, but people will be more impressed you’re hanging upside down by one leg rather than anything else.

3) Check your background!
I’m sure we’ve all seen that unfortunate picture of the poor girl who posted her pole picture online and what seemed to be her pink dildo was sitting on the radiator! It was in fact a ballet slipper, but the press and online community had field day with it. I have to admit I have been guilty of this in the past, (not for leaving my sex toys laying around, but not checking my backdrop before excitedly posting pics on Facebook or Instagram) You don’t want the glory of your amazing move to be outshone by some busybody pointing out that your room is messy or that there are random items in the background stealing the limelight. Also watch out for mirrors.. they can be friend or foe. Used correctly they can reflect your good side to get 2 angle at once, but also picking up people and things not in direct line of the camera lens.

4) If you go Pro – Research your Professional!
There are lots of great professional photographers out there but not all of them specialize in the same themes and Pole is still a relatively new concept. If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on some nice shots make sure you get one that is familiar with the industry. Maybe use one that a pole friend or studio has used and you like the look of the photos they’ve done elsewhere. There have been some really creative and original ideas surfacing recently, take a look around and don’t feel pressured to make a choice you don’t feel comfortable with.

5) Relax and Smile!
Yep.. we’ve all seen that uncomfortable pain/concentration face we pull when trying to get into or hold a move. We’ve all done it, it’s a natural part of the process, but it’s not pretty. So ideally, on a photo immortalized for the world to see, we do not want to look like a panic stricken constipated monkey clinging onto a tree for dear life! I know the ‘Relax and smile’ comment is easier said than done, try and invoke ‘Serene Pole Goddess’… (Is there even a Goddess of pole? If not, why not? We should appoint one!) You don’t necessarily have to smile, you can go for the ‘Yay, I can’t believe I’m doing it!’ Excited/shocked face, or you can be silly and have a laugh- tongues out/thumbs up pose, or go for the ‘serious arty’ look. But the relaxed bit is the important part I feel. Whatever you choose is fine, you don’t even have to look at the camera to get a beautiful picture.

I hope this helps a little on your pole photo mission, but just on a little side note make sure you’re not spending too much time dedicated to just taking pictures of moves, and don’t just learn a move, take a picture and move on to the next. Enjoy your classes; listen to your instructors and peers. Make sure you spend time getting in and out of the moves correctly and learning how to transition nicely from one move to the next. It’s all well and good learning individual moves but if you can’t put them together you may regret it at a later date. Apart from that.. go forth, be proud of what you’re doing and capture those amazing accomplishments for the world to see!

Pole Love. xxx

(Ps if you would like to recommend any pole photographers feel free to comment)

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Children: To Pole or not to Pole?

It was 2013 and I had just returned back to Tenerife after my time in bonny Scotland. It was around this time that Poling for Kids was a new topic doing the rounds on the online communities.
Whilst in Scotland a couple of sensationalised news stories had made the news headlines. One focused on a British school in Kent that had a student perform a gymnastic type routine on a pole at a school fête. This got misrepresented and scandalised as totally disgraceful by a reporter who was trying to make a name for himself even if it meant trampling over someone else to do it. Such was the spin on the article that it created the controversy he was obviously keen to inflame. There were two camps, those for and against. Simultaneously, there was an online scenario in which a group of enthusiasts were innocently posting pictures of their kids on poles.
The fact is that only a weird misfit could interpret any of the moves as being provocative or salacious. The organiser was trolled by finger pointing witch hunters who accused her of all sorts of deviancy including being a paedophile enabler. Really, some people have such illiberal minds I would be surprised if they visited art galleries. There they could be offended by seeing Victorian artworks illustrating naked children bathing.
What was pole dancing seen through the eyes of an innocent child? It was simply a more demanding and sophisticated form of climbing frames than could be found in any urban playground. Ironically, pole dancing is more appropriate to children than it is for adults because of their suppleness and agility. As soon as kids see a pole they are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. They see it’s potential more quickly than does an adult. A child’s first instinct is to ape monkey life and shin up the pole, swing from it and generally show off. The best proof was seeing my own son’s appreciation of a pole’s potential.
During a family visit in which we were joined by my niece and nephew, the pair pestered me to be able to use the pole. They were begging me to show them a few challenges. I did so, which caused neither me nor the two children any problem at all. I suppose if people see ugly they will spout ugly. I was abused after I posted a video of one of my pole routines on YouTube.
During the video, and in the corner of a reflection in a mirror, you can see my mum in the room holding my son whilst they watch me. He was around one-year old at the time. The matter was of no consequence. In truth, such was the triviality of it I never even noticed it. I was made aware of it only when some idiot commented: ‘How disgusting it was that someone had allowed a baby into a strip club’. There was very recently, in the last couple of weeks a video/picture of a mother holding her child whist spinning round her pole in her own home. This again made the headlines an overly negative manner and received onslaught on facebook. My own son has been drawn to the pole ever since he could crawl and is forever wanting to pull himself up and swing round it. In my own personal view I think so-called child beauty pageants are far more irresponsible in having small children mimic a certain type of adult in dress, cosmetics and behaviour.
You only need to Watch 11-year old, Olga Trifonova’s videos to see why how amazing and talented kids can be when on a pole. This talented athlete who won the hearts of millions went on to win Russia’s Got Talent. It is a pity some muckrakers and sleazy reporters cannot demonstrate a similar talent in doing what they do. Times have moved on. I know many many youngsters who have gravitated towards pole school. Obviously not all pole classes have the same content, and yes those that are geared more towards the ‘Pole Dance’ side of the spectrum may not be appropriate. As with everything, some amount of sensibility is needed. There is now however a variety of official courses specifically aimed at for children’s pole fitness and Gymnastics. (Eg Vertical Dance Kids Pole instructor training)

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*Photos have been used with Parents permission.

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Pole dancing and pregnancy – MY personal experience.

It was mid 2008 and Pole classes were growing at a good rate, but that wasn’t the only thing expanding. In April I was to discover I was pregnant with my son, Valentino.
This was a little problematic. Pole dancing, let alone teaching the art, is not the sort of occupation you expect to find a pregnant mum taking part in. Where was I going to fit in? Fortunately, I had the full support of my husband, the girls and especially Emma. So I set my mind on all carrying on regardless.
As it was still early days in the world of pole dancing there wasn’t much research to do. After all, we were writing the rules for others to be influenced by. What is the saying? “Do not follow your dreams, lead them,” Yes, we were trailblazing pole dancing. I broached the subject with my doctor but pole dancing as a fitness regime was foreign to him. I don’t think he properly understood my concerns and he wasn’t much of a help. Just kept telling me to ‘Do lots of walking’ and try not to put on too much weight.
He did reassure me that both me and my baby were very healthy, there was no need for concern and to live life as normal as possible. Great if you are living a normal life. Pole dancing hardly qualifies for ‘normal’.
I neither smoked nor touched alcohol, I ate healthy so I did what everyone suggested I do. I listened to my body. Keeping up ‘as normal’ for the first six/seven months of pregnancy I then became acutely aware of a heaviness and my balance was a little off normal. Time to take stock, so I called it a day on the Handsprings, inverts and the more extreme movements. I was fine with the basics such as spins and perfectly up to it when instructing the students. I also kept doing some the floor based classes and stretching right until the end. Since then there have been plenty of stories, pictures and videos of pole dancing mums-to-be. There again, has been some outcry and controversy over it, but I have yet to hear of a negative outcome? (and I hope there are none) Please note, it is not recommended to start any new sport or fitness activity if you are already pregnant.
Valentino, bless him, arrived a few days late but fine and healthy. All went well with the birth. Well, as good as can be expected. At the time, the birth was still the most horrific and painful experience I had ever been called upon to endure. Although as they say… ‘You do forget’.
While I was in the early stages of labour I took a walk to see my friend Lisa who had coincidentally had her baby a day earlier and had not yet been discharged from the ward. When I asked her how it went she smiled brightly and said “Oh a bit painful but fine!”
She later apologised profusely for lying to me, but couldn’t bare to tell me the truth at that point.
The delivery took all of eight hours and all of it without any pain relief or stitches. And it was it worth it.
I brought our baby boy home on Christmas Eve. My gorgeous son was the best experience in my life and continues to be so. Did I do well? The midwife apparently thought so.“Wow, your flexibility is the best I have seen,” she said extravagantly whilst I had my legs spread in stirrup type holders. True Story! Not the most appropriate of remarks but I am sure she meant well. I did also note that my post labour/pregnancy recovery seemed to be a lot quicker than my non-poler friends that had had babies at the same time. Other than that, it is important to know, I am not qualified to offer advice to anyone who, whilst learning to pole dance or already practising the art, discovers they are pregnant. This is solely my personal story, everybody and every pregnancy is different. Please see your doctor, get professional advice, do some research and listen to your body.

Extract taken from ‘So, I hear you’re a pole dancer?’.

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The Key to Health and Happiness is…..

The key to happiness and health is….
……..Balance and Moderation!

It’s that time of the year again when people reflect back on their lives, and think forward as to how they can be more happy and, most of the time, healthier in their life’s.
There is however countless articles out there that claim they have the answer to these problems, and I’m sure some of them do, in part. But that is almost the problem these days. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough; it’s that we have too much! For a start there is too much advice out there to follow and it is constantly changing so can become confusing and overwhelming. One minute chocolate is bad for you, the next it’s good. Same for wine, fats, juice, exercise, and a hundred different things.
If we are taking the subject of happiness, we need to go back to basics and realise what happiness is. It’s a chemical/hormonal controlled emotion within the body. A trigger in the brain causes these chemicals to be released (Eg. Endorphins or Serotonin), these cause a series of effects that eventually reach and stimulate receptors making you feel good and happy. BUT, you CANNOT be permanently happy, this cannot be a continuous process, at some point they have to flow back the other way or get re-absorbed and dispersed out through the body leaving you with a ‘Down’. Now, the good thing is, if you have a healthy lifestyle, one of the factors of which is getting enough SLEEP at the right time, then this happens when you’re sleeping so you don’t feel this down so much. Hence why happiness and a generally healthy lifestyle go together.
Now, the other part as I mentioned earlier is Balance and moderation. For every good health fad out there you will find an article opposing it, most of the time these reports are created for some financial benefit towards one product or another.
You can be the prime example of health in the sense that you don’t Smoke, drink, do drugs, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise all the time, but if you’re stressed to the max and don’t take time out to relax you could still end up with a heart attack by the age of 40. If having that piece of chocolate or 1 glass of wine makes you happy and gives you a sense of well being then go for it, but just consider why you are doing what you’re about to do and ask yourself if it will really give you enjoyment, rather than doing it out of habit (it’s what you always do?) or social pressure (That’s what everyone else does?). They say it take’s 45days to break bad habits or form new good habits, an interesting point to bear in mind. I said earlier you can pretty much have a bit of anything you fancy, however, here’s where the important MODERATION bit comes into it. Anything in moderation is fine, but everything can be harmful in excess. Unfortunately us humans sometimes struggle with this concept. We always want more. A lot of people also have addictive personalities which doesn’t help matters, we get addicted to the ‘high’ of the previously mentioned chemicals from whatever it is we are gaining pleasure from. Also I’m sure we all know by now the unfortunately doing the same thing over and over again no long gives the positive effects it did in the beginning. You’re mind and body adapts and gets used to it, so the journey to health and happiness is a constantly changing one.
Just as an example; I know Juicing has been a big trend for a few years now, and yes, having a juice of mixed fruit and vegetables every day is a good way to get in those vital nutrients. However, if you are surviving on just 3 of these juices or shakes a day instead of proper meals, then no, it is not natural and certainly not healthy.
Exercise; I am a fitness instructor, it’s my life, it’s what I do. Movement of the body is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but, there is such a thing as too much exercise. You’re body can tire out and injure itself if you’re not careful. Unfortunately we live in a very competitive and consumeristic world, pressure to do more, have more, be the best. We don’t all have to be perfect; perfection in itself is a relative term. By all means, read the current ‘advice’, try the latest new concepts, but don’t think they will magically solve your problems and make you happy. A combination of small things with the aim of contentment may be your best line of focus? Some people of a spiritual nature seem to have found the key, but they are specific to say they have contentment, not happiness. They are 2 different, but not mutually exclusive emotions. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you one specific point that will bring you health and happiness, no one can, if they saw they can, they are lying.
So to recap:
– Everything is ok in moderation
– Find balance in your life, Work, family, ‘you time’ (and don’t feel guilty about it) Read, Run, Cook, Take up a new hobby… whatever suits you.
– Continuous happiness is an impossibility so don’t think you have failed if you are not always happy and positive, and don’t worry so much about what other people think. It’s YOUR life.
– Sleep well
– If all else fails, stick on your favourite song and dance like a crazy person around your bedroom for a while! 😉

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New year, new reasons to try Pole classes… step outside the box!

I hope the majority of those reading this book will already be seriously interested in pole dancing, or at least be contemplating taking this dance-fitness lifestyle up. It could be that many if not most readers are already involved in this fascinating fun-filled and challenging modus vivendi.
There are so many advantages to taking up pole dancing. Use it or lose it, the human body needs to be agile for all its working parts to function in harmony. If you have a weight problem you will find your weight quickly drops as surplus weight is averse to pole dancing. Actually, I say ‘weight’, generally it’s more of a ‘body mass reduction’ you will see, as you’re body changes shape, less fat, more muscle. These advantages boost self-confidence. You will not become an egotist but you will find that your self esteem hits new peaks. Activities that were once an effort become far less demanding. You not only feel better, you look better. This new you radiates outwards and impress others. When going about your everyday tasks you will find you are better physically and mentally balanced. As well as a variety of other side effect benefits, Increased flexibility, strength, stamina, and generally a better, more lean and defined body shape.
You will be far better tuned to your immediate environment. The new you earns new friends, keep old ones, and makes life far more exhilarating.
Moving on, I want to explain the effects pole dancing or more importantly teaching the routine has had on me. Cast your minds back to when you first learnt to invert. Otherwise, picture the move that you have been working towards perfection for ages. Out of the blue you get it just the way you dreamed of doing. This is the ultimate ‘I DID IT!’ moment. It is then you get the tingling sensation, the adrenalin rush that creates that unmissable buzz. You experience a sense of achievement that is so memorable that it never totally drains away.
Let me assure you, your ecstasy radiates through me too and I share it because I have been there and I know exactly how you feel. I feel it because it is my achievement too. The delight on my students’ faces at the moment of truth is priceless to me. Given a little time I also get to see the transformation that comes over people. I get a rush too from witnessing success that I have partnered. This is just another reason why I love doing what I do and I’m sure other instructors can back me up on this. Over the years I have seen, felt and experienced the changes in students as they go from novice to blazing glory. I have seen students lose weight, watched as the body changes to a glowing radiance. I am often approached by shy, reserved girls who would never say or do anything to offend.
I have celebrated each girl’s restoration of her self-esteem. Such is the renewed confidence they have in themselves that, instead of being fearful or apprehensive about public displays of their skill, they welcome the opportunity to show off. Friendships to make and keep are much easier and much more natural. You don’t make a friend, you become one. The pole dancing lifestyle changes people for the better. I have heard and read on the various social media groups so many inspirational pole tales, how this vertical metal bar has helped girls out of depressions, gotten them over phobias, even helped fight battles against eating disorders. Other stories, such as that of Urban Poleist Danny Charge, who I will mention again later, where exercising on the pole acted as physiotherapy after a severe climbing accident left him near paralysed. If you have any such tales, feel free to post them to me, I always love to hear about them.
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Hello and welcome to the best Pole book ever!

Whenever I mention the phrase ‘Pole Dancing’ in most people’s minds it automatically conjours up images of naked girls in seedy nightclubs.
But the reality is so much different to what people think. I have been running studios teaching Pole fitness around the world for 8years now and been in the industry for over 15 and it has many different sides that so unseen by so many out there, hence why this year I finally published my very own book, ‘So I Hear you’re a Pole dancer?’. Part biography, part Pole handbook. In it I cover everything from my Leeds roots, to Life on the Spanish island of Tenerife, and the growth of the Pole industry. I also cover a lot of topics such as, Men in Pole, Children in Pole, the arguments between Pole sports and Pole dance, Poling in Pregnancy, Plus much more. The ups and the downs so to speak.
When I first started to take note of my experiences and achievements I had in mind to do a blog, people continuously asked me how I got into the industry. In time I found I had more than enough material to write a full book and so with the help of my amazing editor, I decided to take the plunge. It’s been available for purchase since the end of November and so far the response has been overwhelming. The feedback and reviews have been great and it’s currently in the top 10% selling books on Amazon. Although my original target market were people within the industry I have been surprised with the response from the general public. Even my boyfriend’s grandmother raved about it after she read it.
I hope that it will help to educate people about this amazing art form that is still so misunderstood and also to show that anything is possible if you want it enough. Everyone is capable of so much more than they realise.
‘So I hear you’re a Pole dancer?’ Is available as a paperback or kindle download from any Amazon site, and be sure to find me on any of the usual social media to let me know what you thought of it.

For Uk Orders- http://www.amazon.co.uk/So-hear-youre-Pole-Dancer/dp/1502859424/

For US Orders –  http://www.amazon.com/So-hear-youre-Pole-Dancer/dp/1502859424/