Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pioneer of Pole: KT Coates of Vertical Dance!

When I first started at Twirly Girls, Bel used to tell us about this amazing pole dancer from the UK named KT Coates.  In fact, one of the moves we do on the pole is called the "KT Coates."  I am really excited to include KT in my blog today and am even more excited to (hopefully) meet her at the Pole Convention in June!

How did you first find pole dancing?

I got a job as a show girl in one of the oldest burlesque shows in the world at the Raymond Review Bar in Soho. I got the job with no experience in pole, dance or fitness and it was on the off chance that I even went to the audition. I then started practicing on the poles there and we incorporated it into my show. I didn’t have a clue at first but I was young and fearless so I just threw myself into it and taught myself how to pole dance. Back then there was no YouTube or classes so I just found something I loved and ran with it.

I understand you helped X-Pole develop its product in the UK in 2004.  How did you get involved with that?

I met Clive at an expo. I was performing and he and Paul had the first prototypes. We got chatting and got on really well. By this time I wanted to open my own school. There were exotic dance schools but I wanted to take the pole out of the clubs and put it in the gyms and I explained this to him. He lent me his prototypes to test out and use in my classes. At this time the poles were nothing like they are today so there were a huge amount of redesign in the first few months and it’s still being changed today. I will say the DVD that I did for the pole makes me cringe, I wish I could go back and re-film it. 

You opened Vertical Dance and released DVDs in 2006, which makes you a Pioneer of Pole.  What made you decide to open your own studio?

I was good at pole, it became a passion and I saw others opening sexy dance schools and I wanted to take it away from that, as I just don’t see pole that way and it doesn’t make me feel that way. Opening a school was a natural progression for me and the best and most satisfying, but also frustrating thing I have ever done. We were the first company to do so many things such as have videos on the site, online training, teacher training, world record, the first amateur competition and showcase. We have a world record, which is on my toilet wall. Things have changed so much and I am just so proud to be a part of it.

Which pioneers of pole do you admire?

There are so many people that have worked so hard over the last decade. We all have to thank Fawnia for being there at the start. I admire Mary Ellyn Weissman for promoting pole for the mature generation and raising health and safety standards. I think Bobbi from Bobbi's Studio has done so many great things for her style of pole. Ania from the IPDFA is one of the most diplomatic and profession people in pole, her competitions are fantastic. I admire every one that does pole, they are a pioneered in their own right, because without them it wouldn’t be here today! 

Do you have a trick that you consider your nemesis?

Anything with flexibility. I can barely touch my toes and my back is like a board, I can only forward fold. lol 

It feels like the pro/competition pole dancers are all going the route of contortion and extreme tricks.  Do you feel like something is lost from pole dancing when it is all tricks and no dance?

I not a fan of contortion, it’s not attractive. It’s not flowing and it’s not impressive. The best pole dancers are the ones that have the right amount of flow, flexibility, power, strength, musicality and dance ability. I call contortion type of dancers the ta-da performers, it’s very much like Chinese pole, you pull a move hold it for the applause, I do not find this easy on the eye at all. If a dancer spends his/her entire routine inverted on the pole busting trick after trick I am not impressed and I would mark this type of routine down. I think performers are growing and this will be a thing of the past. 

How do you feel about pole dancing going mainstream?

I have been very vocal about pole going mainstream and I do not see a future without it. If we want pole to carry on for generations to come then we need to make it professional, regulated and safe. Once this is done then we can open classes to children and then pole will be as acceptable as gymnastic. 

Tell us something we'd be surprised to hear about you.

I do not and never have owned X-Pole...Not sure why people think I do...LOL! 

What else are you looking forward to in 2012? 

We are looking forward to the IPSF World Pole Sports Championships in London which we are creating. It will be our first step to the Olympics and it is something that so many people have worked hard on and a dream that I cannot believe is actually becoming reality. I also cannot wait for to get over to the USA this year. I am in Chicago in May, at the LA Pole Convention in June and Vegas in September and NYC in October. I am also bring out a new DVD and an insurance package.

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