Thursday, June 28, 2012

PoleCon 2012

If you love pole dance/pole fitness, then you at least considered attending Pole Convention 2012.  In it's third year, PoleCon has grown from 500 attendees in DC in 2010 to 800 attendees in Miami in 2011 to over 1,000 attendees in Los Angeles in 2012.  The pole community is growing so quickly.

Rita and I arrived on Thursday, June 21, 2012 in time to attend the Pole Masters Cup.  Bel had arrived the day before as she was participating in X-Pert certification.  We had many Twirly Girls in the house: Yolanda, Diana, Kim, Grace, Shelly, among others.

Friday morning was quiet so we sat by the pool and hung out.  I had every intention of trying to get into Felix Cane's free workshop that afternoon but got distracted and didn't get in line in time.  That evening, we went to Polesque and AERA.  Unfortunately, I missed the cocktail party that welcomed everyone to the convention.

I did get to meet a lot of really awesome Facebook pole celebrities.  Jennifer from PoleSkivvies.  Lulu from America's Got Talent.  Roz The Diva.  John Janda and Stephanie Skyy.  Annette Artman.  Sam Green, pole photographer.  Leen Isabel!  The list goes on...  I mean, I got to drive STEVEN RETCHLESS in my truck.  We ate French fries together!  I got to meet my pole sister from Australia, Kym (who is on an adventure around the world practically)! 

I very excitedly found my published articles in both Issue 5 of Vertical Art and Fitness Magazine (the black cover with Steven Retchless) and Pole Dance International Magazine (blogs with photos coming up soon).  

I had many intentions for the weekend.  I wanted to attend seminars and workshops.  I wanted to shop the vendors and meet people.  But what I ended up doing instead was watching.  I watched every single performance over the weekend.  Including the non-PoleCon shows, I videoed about 100 performances.  Part of me wishes I would have walked around more and experienced the convention.  But a bigger part of me is happy I have been able to provide videos for those who couldn't attend. 

My true goal for the weekend was to have something epic happen.  When Nadia Shariff ran up to me and said, "Hey, I recognize those boobs," I felt like my weekend was complete.  

I was really excited to be interviewed by Suzy Q for her documentary, Pole Life, and by Pole World News.  

Below is a playlist for the Saturday morning solo performances, which included my new friends, Lulu and Roz.  Don't miss Clementine, the granny pole dancer:



Below is a playlist for the Saturday afternoon solo performances, which included our very own Shelly Lamb and good friends of Twirly Girls, Pantera and Natasha Wang:



Saturday night was the big Bad Kitty Fashion Show and Showcase of the Stars.  Not to be missed:  My new friend, Annemarie Davies as Napoleon Dynamite. 



I was sad that Felix Cane didn't perform, but figured that maybe she was under contract with cirque du soleil.  She appears in the Michael Jackson Immortal Tour.  I stopped into the after-party, but was tired and ended up sitting in the hot tub and going to bed instead.  

On Sunday, there was the Bad Kitty Spins and Tricks battle:



Sunday afternoon, the group performances lasted about three hours.  It was a long show, but I saw so many great performances.  I have so many ideas for new moves I want to try and only wish I had created an index of cool moves as we went along so I don't have to watch ten hours of video to remind myself.  Don't miss our Twirly Girls, Shelly Lamb and Grace Garcia!  Our sister studio from Nor. Cal., Poletential, also performed.  Check out Golden Eye for some hot mamas!  After watching Kelly Maglia's Vertical Theater demo, I am definitely trying to figure out how to make a second trip to LA in October so I don't miss it. 



My only complaint has to do with the venue.  We were at the Marriott LAX.  They over-sold the hotel and didn't seem to care (there are so many horror stories to even list them all here).  Their internet was also terrible.  For a place that advertises itself as a convention center, you would think they would have a stronger signal for all of those vendors trying to run credit card sales off of their phones.  Even though it's not PoleCon's fault that the hotel was terrible, I guess I would hope that they wouldn't use them again as I watched the hotel be completely rude and unhelpful to their attendees (although for every employee that irritated me, there was one that was awesome.  I guess 50-50 isn't half bad.  No pun intended.)  ;-)  I imagine that next year's event will be in another part of the country, so the chances of returning to LA (or this venue) are slim to none.  Many of us have been debating where the next convention will be.  Although our crowd selfishly hopes it will be in San Francisco, I imagine it makes sense to move it to the middle of the country somewhere, although maybe not Chicago since the Midwest Pole Competition is in that area.  I'm sure they already know where it will be.  Jessalyn says that it takes 13 months to plan each convention.

So, while we are waiting to hear when and where PoleCon 2013 will take place, Bel has decided that I must do a Viking Warrior routine next year.  I am extremely nervous and need to start training a little harder to even pretend to be on par with the performers I saw last weekend.  But I also think it could be a lot of fun and I am game to try.  Maybe I should start trying to perform locally so I can lose that whole sweat-over-every-inch-of-my-body thing that happens now when I get nervous.  Doesn't really go well with pole dancing.

If you were at PoleCon, please tell me your high and low lights!  I'd love to hear about what you liked and what you'd change.

International Pole Dance Masters Cup

Rita and I drove down to Los Angeles early in order to catch the International Pole Dance Masters Cup presented by Anjel Dust Productions.  The event was hosted by Jenyne Butterfly. 

Other than showing up late because it took 90 minutes to drive 15 miles in Los Angeles traffic, the event was a lot of fun.  I have decided that doubles are now my favorite type of pole dance.  I am also amazed by the acrobatics being incorporated into pole.  I really can't call many of the performances pole dance because they are mostly pole acrobatic tricks.  I do enjoy the tricks but I also really enjoy the dance, so I hope that it doesn't get lost in the quest for the Olympics. 

Again, it is easier to show you than talk about the performances, so check out the YouTube play list below!



The highlight of the evening for me was probably driving Steven Retchless and Doris Arnold back to the hotel.  We made a late night stop at Burger King for food.  Who knew these people could eat French Fries?!  Anyway, both were very, very sweet and I really enjoyed chatting with them. 

AERA and Polesque on the West Coast

While in Los Angeles for PoleCon, I had the great fortune to attend Polesque and AERA: Chasing the Sun.  Both are normally East Coast shows.  Polesque is a pole/burlesque competition that is a lot of fun.  I will post a YouTube playlist below.



There are no words to describe AERA's show, Chasing the Sun.  It was so amazing.  Silks, pole, lyra.  So many beautiful bodies bending into shapes.  It really can only be experienced in person.  The video playlist below might be impressive but just couldn't quite catch exactly how amazing this show was.  Still, you will enjoy the show!

June Posts for The Pole Dancing Shop

Here are my blogs for June on www.ThePoleDancingShop.com:

What's Your Pole Niche:
  
The most fantastic thing about pole dancing is the fact that everyone is different and each dancer has their strong suit.  Some are amazing at the flow and dance. Some love pulling off jaw-dropping tricks. Others can easily combine the two in the most beautiful way. While trying to find your way in the pole dancing world, you should ask yourself a question:  What's your niche?

Click the link above to finish the article...

In addition, we have begun releasing videos called, "I Pole Because," for The Pole Dancing Shop.  Catch the first three episode below:





If you pole dance, you should take this survey!

United Pole Artists, in collaboration with many other companies, recently released a survey related to pole dancing.  At first glance, you might not care if competitions or other pole related businesses get financing from non-pole sponsors.  However, if the pole industry doesn't thrive, then your pole studio can't either.  Please read this post, take the survey then re-post.  It only takes a few minutes!

http://www.unitedpoleartists.com/why-you-should-take-the-pole-survey/

From the website: 

Click here to take the survey and help us help you. Share it with your friends. It is anonymous, and you get a coupon or discount at the end of the survey, plus a great feeling knowing that you are making a difference for something bigger and better.

**********
 

You can also join the fan page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PoleSurvey?ref=ts

Please support your pole community and take a few minutes out of your day to take this survey.  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I attended PPC last month...

Life has been so crazy and I'm way behind in some of my planned posts.

Last month, I attended the Pacific Pole Championships.  You can read about the competition HERE.

Rita and I traveled to LA for the May 19, 2012 competition, not only to watch but to support Diana, who is also an instructor at Twirly Girls.

PPC was a competition that lasted 12+ hours and I tried to stay for the entire show.  I thought it was really well-run and well-lit (THANKYOU...so many showcases and competitions are really crappy for videos and photos).  There were various genres of dance and multiple levels.  I saw some great plus-sized pole dancers represent!!  There were somewhere around 81 performances.  I missed four (sorry, needed a potty break sometime!  Thank you to Rita for feeding my face so I didn't have to leave!).  I personally took 36 videos (Rita has more, including photos).

Rather than post all of the videos here, you can visit my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/lolorashel and search "Pacific Pole." 

Post note:  I made a play list on YouTube!  Check it out here:



Here are the WINNERS:

http://www.pacificpolechampionships.com/2012-results/

Artistic-Dramatic Level 1:

1. Carolyn Ip
2. Elese Orrell
3. Christina Lares

Artistic – Dramatic Level 2:

1. Tine Be
2.  April Burks
3.  Danielle Cloutier
4.  Rachel Melvin
5.  Macha Schneider
6. Vanny Aquino
7. Summer Vaughan
8. Amber Powell

Artistic – Dramatic Level 3:

1. Egypt
2. Uyen Hoang
3. Sayaha Aida
4. Rhiannan Nichole*
5. Rebekah Hennes*
6. Waeli Wang*
7. Sarah Mann
8. Diana Kottke
9. Kelli Hurley
10. Angela Cardwell
11. Kris Iriye
12. Chelsea Sedlak

* Total Scores tied – tiebreaker of Stage presence scores used to determine ordinals

Artistic-Dramatic Level 3 Masters:

1.  Leesi Ruskaup
2.  Greta Pontarelli
3.  Tina Oliver

Artistic – Entertainment Level 2:

1.  Monica Deomampo
2.  Erin Lawrence
3.  Katherine Doberne*
4.  AJ Artman*
5.  Tessa Gordon
6.  Karina Ortega
7.  Becca Armijo
8.  Ronda Clure
9.  Shawna Gatineau

* Total Scores tied – tiebreaker of Stage presence scores used to determine ordinals

Artistic-Entertainment Level 3:

1.  JillAnne
2.  Miyoko Rifkin
3.  Kate Cotruvo
4.  Jamie Apostol*
5.  Briyanae Jackson*
6.  Hyun Jung Kim
7.  Nadine Young

* Total Scores tied – tiebreaker of Stage presence scores used to determine ordinals

Freedance Level 2:

1. Macha Schneider
2.  Lauren Lanza
3.  Amber Powell
4.  Rachel Melvin

Freedance Level 3:

1.  Egypt
2.  Sergia Louise Anderson
3.  Rhiannan Nichole
4.  Celeste Ayers
5.  Christina Jondle
6.  Irina Sevdyukova
7.  Julia Kurz
8.  Trisha McKinstry
9.  Leesi Ruskaup
10. Rebekah Hennes

Championship Level 1:

1.  Christina Lares
2.  Kathleen Pate

Championship Level 2:

1.  Tiffany Rose Mockler
2.  Felicia Montoya
3.  Lace McGarry
4.  Lola Singer
5.  Carolyn Vaughn
6.  Marissa Freeman
7.  Lauren Lanza
8.  Jinny Gram

Championship Level 3:

1.  Sergia Louise Anderson
2.  Jennifer Kim
3.  Chalese Stevens
4.  Egypt
5.  Waeli Wang
6.  Sayaha Aida
7.  Julia Kurz
8.  Trisha McKinstry
9.  Jennifer Jennings
10. Nadine Young
11. Irina Sevdyukova
12. Tina Oliver
13. Greta Pontarelli
14. Gemma Bessey
15. Bianca Sako

My biggest complaint/concern was that some of these poor ladies were bruised to the point of distraction.  I understand you can't always avoid those badges of honor, but I am wondering if one of the pros can come with some advice on timing practices so that you aren't THAT banged up prior to a competition (maybe I just haven't noticed it before because most of the other shows I've been to weren't so well lit).  Also, ladies...I love you and I get this is an issue that can't always be helped, but please understand the first few rows are able to see most of your naughty bits.  If you are having issues with bumps after waxing, maybe wear shorts instead of bikini-type bottoms.

I was disappointed there weren't any men competing and I wouldn't mind seeing a doubles category next year.  And despite my criticisms above (not really the competition's fault), I enjoyed all of the performances!  Congratulations to Amy and Bayleigh for putting on a great competition!  I look forward to next year!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jimmy Gale, Stephanie Nicole le Dream and AIDS Walk SF

I have posted about Jimmy and AIDS Walk SF before.  You can read last year's posts below:

About last year's charity drag show:
http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/05/team-le-dream.html
Jimmy's story:
http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-heart-jimmy-gale.html
A video Jimmy did last year:
http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/aids-walk-san-francisco.html

Last year, Jimmy set a pretty lofty fundraising goal and promised to walk the SEVEN MILE AIDS Walk San Francisco in SIX INCH HEELS if he met it.  He exceeded that goal and walked the entire walk in those heels.  Even at the end, when he needed help getting across the finish line, and we were pleading with him to take the damn shoes off, he wouldn't.  He made a promise.  And he kept it.

Stephanie Nicole and Ronnie's performance at 1220
This year, I think the Walk snuck (sneaked...whatever) up on us.  Jimmy has been SO busy at the RCC opening up their new thrift shop, Everything Under The Rainbow.  He set a goal of $5,000 for the walk.  He told me that he wasn't sure he'd hit the goal since fundraising seemed to be starting late in the season.  Last night was the 7th annual charity drag show hosted by Club 1220.  Jimmy had a little over $1,600 already on his AIDS Walk fundraising page.  He raised over $3,500 last night and has already met his $5,000 goal.

I think we need to set a new goal.  Last year, Jimmy raised around $8,000.  This year, I think he can do it again.  If you are able to donate even $5, please visit his fundraising page at: tinyurl.com/JimmyGale

There are only three weeks left until the AIDS Walk in San Francisco.  I know he has a couple of fundraising events still to go....one of which will be held at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness in Pleasanton on July 9.  If Jimmy can raise $3,500 in one night, he can raise $1,000 each week until the Walk.  If you can't donate, please share the link with others who may be able to (yeah, that's bad English and I'm okay with it).  


Last weekend, at the RCC's pride picnic, I received the "Honorary Homosexual" award as a "straight" person who loves and supports the gay community.  I was so excited and proud, but got super nervous when it came time to talk on the mic about what the award meant to me.  So, I'd like to re-state what I was trying to get out at the picnic (plus add a little more).  

I am so very grateful for being introduced to Jimmy and everyone surrounding him.  I don't want to start naming names, only because I don't want to accidentally leave anyone out.  The Rainbow Community Center and Club 1220 are both filled with so many great people who love and support each other.  I know that Holotta Tymes has worked hard to build up her reputation as one of the best female impersonators around, and I think it is such a huge compliment to Jimmy that she is willing to give up one of her shows as a fundraiser for the Walk.  Even though I said I wasn't going to name names, I also feel like Ronnie (Jimmy's partner) and Robert (Holotta's husband and my fellow Twirly Boy) deserve personal mentions.  Both are huge supporters who give up their time and money without a second thought.  Last night, Ronnie hugged me and thanked me for everything I do.  I was dumbstruck because I just watched him bid like $200 on baseball tickets (I know taking care of Grandma can't pay THAT well) and then give them to Jimmy's mom.  I want to thank Ronnie for everything HE does!  I love that I have a whole new extended family.  I admire Jimmy so much for all of the hard work that he puts into the Center.  I know working for a non-profit can't pay all that well so it makes me appreciate him that much more -- knowing that his hard work truly is for the love of helping his community.  I don't really know if I personally deserved that award.  I have struggled a bit with money the last couple of years especially, so all I really have is my time to give.  If I could write a check to the RCC to help keep it running forever, I would.  Since that is not possible, I am so happy that my time has been enough.  I have met so many amazing people (the kids especially are so inspiring), and I am so grateful for that.  So, thank you to each person who nominated me for the award.  Thank you to the RCC for embracing me, even though I'm just some straight chick who likes to show up at their events.  And the biggest thank you to Jimmy for everything he does.  

Anyway, enough of the slurp-fest here.  I am honored to walk with Jimmy on July 15th in San Francisco and I hope that anyone who can donate, will...and if you want to walk with us, please let me know.  We will have quite the Team le Dream entourage and there is always room for more!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pole Spin Magazine: Pole Dance is for EveryBODY

http://polespinmag.com/welcome/2012/06/lori/


When I tell people that I pole dance, their raised eyebrow is not a reaction to the whole “stripper thing.”  It is usually to give me the once over as they ponder out loud how I could possibly be a pole dancer.  You see, at six feet tall and over 200 pounds, I am not your average pole dancer.  Or so I thought.

Facebook has provided me with a wealth of information about what the “average” pole dancer looks like.  She is tall or short; thin or not; has long hair or short; light skin or dark.  In fact, the average pole dancer isn’t even female anymore.  More and more men are joining their pole dancing sisters in the studio.  You see, there is no average pole dancer.  We are professionals, students and soccer moms (or dads).  Some of us dance for fun and others dance for a living.  Our age range spans decades.  I have seen videos online of dancers as young as nine-years-old and as old as 70.  My own pole dance instructor, Bel Jeremiah, is an energetic 60 years young.

...

Read the rest of the article at  http://polespinmag.com/welcome/2012/06/lori/

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Who represents the pole community?

Yesterday, we talked about the difference between pole dance and pole fitness, including the push to get pole into the Olympics.  As part of that blog, I brought up the International Pole Sports Federation.  There are many federations and associations in the pole industry.  I thought it would be fun to create a list of some of the more well-known groups from around the world.  Each description is taken directly from each association's website.  If I miss any, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Pole Fitness Association (PFA)
http://www.polefitnessassociation.com/

Created by Pole Professionals
FOR POLE PROFESSIONALS

What is the PFA? 
Pole Fitness as an art, science, and sport has progressed significantly in the past several years. Professional industry representation, leadership and promotion are vital to building and sustaining the reputation of our athletic art form as a safe, effective form of exercise. Promoting our industry benefits everyone - and will add significant value to your business.


Who is the PFA?
Collette Kakuk of OC Pole Fitness, and Lizz Schofield of Studio Soiree are the founders of the PFA. They were inspired to create an “umbrella” for all other professionals and studio owners to sit under. The PFA is a haven for all in our industry to share knowledge, and educate while working together to band the industry.

What does the PFA Do?
The purpose of the PFA is to define and promote standards for training, safety, equipment, terminology, and technical specifications to unite and empower Pole Fitness studio owners, professionals, and enthusiasts everywhere in celebrating the sport of Pole Fitness as a rigorous, tasteful, and athletic art. Would you like the PFA to endorse your certification program? Would you like the PFA to sanction your event, product or competition?

American Pole Fitness Association (APFA)
http://www.americanpolefitness.com/
Host of American Pole Fitness Championships in New York in October.

Goals & Mission:
American Pole Fitness Association (APFA) is an association established to give mass appeal & awareness by promoting the art and sport of pole fitness in the US and abroad. The first of its kind to offer FREE services and open its doors to the public. APFA is working towards achieving broad demographic & national recognition for pole fitness as a main stream sport, focusing attentions on the physical skills, gravity-defying technical abilities, poise, grace and elegance of performers of both genders. Pole fitness as a sport is gradually reaching new heights globally and APFA’s main goal is to make sure the US isn’t left out of the phenomenal new innovative ways of staying fit.

APFA present the American Pole Fitness Championships™ featuring male and female competitors. The event is an annual championship which features the nation’s best pole fitness performers demonstrating their mesmerizing jaw dropping skills, physical strength and sheer stamina through choreographed routines created by the performers themselves. The first annual championships was held on October 23, 2010 at the prominent Grand Ballroom Theater, Manhattan Center right in the heart of New York City live. APFA offers FREE services and encourages the promotion of the sport through the education it provides with the help of its eager and willing members. You are welcome to be members here and any other association you may desire to join. To compete we ask that you apply for FREE membership so we are aware from whom the submissions are coming from at least. APFA is not personally or directly affiliated with any pole fitness studios, therefore it embraces all studios equally and is unbiased in any matter in regards to promoting and educating the public about the services they offer.

What’s The Catch?
APFA does NOT take any fees for its services. The whole idea of its existence is to help promote the sport. We do not impose anything on anyone, neither do we ask that we become part of your events if you choose not to. No matter how tough you might think your ideas or inquiries are, you just never know if it’s possible unless you ask. Let APFA assist you, together we can help make this a mainstream and worldwide sport available for any age, class, type, or gender. Help us in our mission to take pole fitness beyond its current level and have a voice in growing it. We feel the sport is ready to be on a whole new level outside of the pole community by letting more people be aware of it. We aim to promote the established and/or discover new talents and make it more of a household name. Together we can educate the world about pole fitness and change misconceptions about it.

Additional Services Offered:
For those seeking services in party planning, lessons, or anything related to pole fitness, send in your inquires using the “Contact Us” link above and we would be more than happy to direct you to the right companies who will help you. If you are a studio owner please send us your information to add to our database and share with anyone who inquires for lessons in your area. For those launching a new pole fitness studio and you are a member of APFA, let us know and we would be more than happy to make it known to all of our members.

About the Founder
At the helm of the APFA, is the Founder and President, Tinu who has a passion for the sport. Herself an avid pole fitness practitioner and advocate since January 2009, but has made a name for herself in fashion, music and soon to be an author of a book that resulted from her hit music video. Her knowledge of the sport’s lack of proper mainstream marketing inspired her unique concept for this association and events to follow. She intends to bring her combination of artistic talent and business acumen to the sport. Tinu holds a degree in Finance and Marketing from NYU, Stern School of Business but also pursued an international modeling career during which time she strutted the runways for some of the top fashion houses while also landing high profile international advertising campaigns.

Tinu discovered pole fitness while working on a music video and has since been active in pole fitness dating back to January of 2009. She says, “I have always been slim all my life, but it’s a whole new matter when you stay firm and toned. I got that doing pole.” Despite having garnered a lot of press for her music, not once did she mention anything about her involvement in pole fitness to the press. Each time she managed to bring it up amongst friends, she was shocked by their negative reactions because they were ill informed about the sport as there were no proper platforms to market pole fitness as it should be. She wasn’t impressed by some in the industry claiming to want to take it “mainstream” but never really opening up to let others in. She felt a lot of people without the “big names” were intimated to approach some of the few organizations/events around. Frustrated by the results she acquired from her year long research she had conducted using some pole enthusiast like herself, she decided to be the one to “stick her neck out” by making the bold move, creating an association where all are welcome and “free to roam” so to speak. Her main mission is to help promote the industry to a wider audience in a positive light and has started by investing some of her hard earned money acquired from her music, accessory designs, and a few angel investors who believed in her mission and proceeded to launch the association that would benefit everyone home and abroad.

The founder has no direct personal or affiliation with any pole fitness studios or pole fitness performer in any country, hence freely and willingly able to market the sport equally for all involved in the sport. Furthermore, she does not participate in judging competitors in any of APFA’s championships. She leaves that task to the independent advisory board committee which consist of pole fitness instructors and expert in the sport. The carefully appointed judges, all highly skilled and well versed in the sport.

A global traveler, Tinu is multilingual and fluent in several languages. Her love of culture, aesthetics and fashion, she created the beautifully handcrafted and bejeweled Tinu Shoebag® worn at the Academy Awards and successfully sold by numerous high-end boutiques worldwide. Tinu’s own sense of style have been noted by Essence and Vogue Magazine while Bill Cunningham regularly features her in the social pages of the New York Times. Her debut album “Rhythm of Love” was an instant success in 2003, debuting on the Billboard R&B charts and capturing the hearts of a broad and loyal fan base worldwide. Her latest album Addicted spurned the highly successful hit song  Shoeholics (Youtube hits over 1 million in a few months) launched in the fall of 2009, is still receiving worldwide airplay including MTV, LOGO, FUSE. For more on Tinu, please visit Tinuonline.com 

US Pole Dance Federation (USPDF)
http://uspoledance.com/
Host of  US Pole Dance Championships in New York in September.

US Pole Dance Federation (USPDF) was founded in the beginning of 2008 by Anna Grundstrom and Wendy Traskos. It’s the first organization in the US to host professional pole dancing competitions based on a fair judging format.

In 2008, there were no credible pole competitions in the US that determined the winner by a professional score system. Competitions were often held in clubs, where the applause of a crowd determined the winner.

While this didn’t seem fair, the USPDF decided to present pole dancing as a competitive sport in a theater setting where people could truly appreciate the art of pole dancing.

In the USPDF competitions, all competitors perform two rounds: one compulsory routine and one optional routine in which they score points based on a 10.0-scale determined by judges. Whoever scores the highest points combining the 2 rounds wins the competition.

All USPDF judges have extensive backgrounds in gymnastics, fitness, professional dance and choreography, and aerial work. USPDF judges are also thoroughly educated and trained by the board of USPDF.

USPDF considers pole dancing a sensual athletic dance form that demands coordination, flexibility, sensuality, creativity, individual style, and physical strength. All these elements are equally important in USPDF competitions.

Competitors come from various backgrounds all over the US. All competitors train at the level of professional athletes and dancers, which include a rigid schedule of pole practice, dance classes, stretch and flexibility classes, coaching and choreographers. They also work with additional professionals, such as nutritionists and massage therapists.

USPDF appreciate the presence and hard work of the USPDF competitors and applicants, and is working to create more opportunities for pole dancers to compete in the future.

International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA)
http://www.ipdfa.com/
Hosted International Pole Championship (IPC) (held in Hong Kong in March 2012).

IPDFA History

The International Pole Dance Fitness Association was initiated by Ania (Anna) Przeplasko (pronounced pshe plaz ko). In 2007, in response to the rapidly increasing popularity of Pole, Ania wanted to help push the emerging trend of pole as an international fitness program and take it to a level where it would be recognized seriously as a legitimate sport.

With the worldwide presence of pole dancing ever-increasing, Ania created the IPDFA as a way for better communication and accessibility on a global scale of all things pole! The IPDFA was born out of the need for a streamlined and one-stop-shop approach to pole related matters. It was formed to help arrange and classify Pole as a sport on an international platform, in both male and female divisions. Ania aspired to encourage discipline and professionalism from all members of IPDFA.

The International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) was created to:

  • Promote Pole Dancing a legitimate form of fitness program
  • Act as supervisory body for the sport
  • Organise the International Pole Chanpionships (IPC) annually
  • Train and accredit instructors to the highest standards
    and
  • Maintain an accessible record of qualified and established pole dancing studios and instructors globally
  • IPDFA Mission

IPDFA Mission 

IPDFA promises to make every endurance to serve to the pole dancing community, throughout the following missions statements:

  • The IPDFA will promote Pole Dancing as a genuine form of exercise
  • The IPDFA will create a centralized platform for pole dancing instructors and students around the world, to facilitate communication between pole dancing professionals and fans of this fitness regime
  • The IPDFA will form a global database of pole dancing studios and teachers that have been ranked and assessed. A list of pole dancing schools will be provided, together with contact information, photos and videos
  • The IPDFA will help to build a cooperative community for pole dancing professionals to share, analyse and discuss the latest pole dancing techniques
  • The IPDFA will be there to provide information and support for anyone interested in learning about pole dancing in his or her country
  • The IPDFA will facilitate an interactive forum; welcoming suggestions, comments and observations 
International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF)
http://www.polesports.org/
Hosting World Pole Sport Championship in London in July 2012.

Overview 

            The International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) was established in 2010 with a simple goal – unite the Pole Sports athletes of the world, their countries, and take them to the World Games and the Olympics.

            The IPSF brings Olympic-caliber competition to the world of Pole Sports. The bylaws and constitution of the IPSF are dedicated to meeting Olympic requirements for sports organization including a World Congress of member countries, dedicated technical committees, anti-doping controls, and a devoted executive committee. 

            The IPSF observes strict neutrality on political, social and religious grounds. No discrimination is permitted against any affiliated National Federation or any association, club, or sportsman on political, racial, or religious grounds.

            The IPSF is a non-profit organization for educational purposes designed to foster the development of the sport of Pole Sports throughout the World. The IPSF offers institutes and individuals who desire to join in membership for the advancement of Pole Sports, an opportunity to participate and contribute to that growth. These purposes are fulfilled through the following aims and objectives.
  • To perpetuate, improve, and extend the sport of Pole Sports throughout the World.

  • To stimulate the interest of people in healthy sport participation through Pole Sports.

  • To supervise and administer a continuing Pole Sports program for the purpose of stimulating interest and developing athletes through careful preparation and planning, utilizing existing facilities, resources, and coaching.

  • To unify and coordinate, the efforts of all agencies interested in promoting Pole Sports, and permit all interested parties to have a voice in the development of the sport in the entire World.

  • To create and maintain research projects that will benefit all parties interested in Pole Sports.

  • To provide a clearinghouse for the distribution of coaching aids, literature, films, research materials, and rules collected from sources throughout the World.

  • To establish an effective means of communication for the transmission of useful ideas whereby coaches and athletes will be informed of the latest developments and techniques in Pole Sports.

  • To give prompt attention and consideration to valid suggestions on how to improve the conduct of administration in Pole Sports throughout the World.

  • To maintain records and disseminate information pertaining to all phases of Pole Sports.

  • To train and certify competent Pole Sports officials.

  • To raise money and finance improvement in the sport of Pole Sports.

  • To operate exclusively for educational and charitable purposes.

  • To follow and actively support the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its principles and goals.
To achieve our goals, there is one Executive and nine formal committees: Technical, Safety, Medical, Ethics, Accreditation, Marketing, Athlete, Finance, and Event. 

World Congress

The World Congress is composed of one representative from each member country and is responsible for the overall governance in the world of Pole Sports.

Executive Committee

The general management of the IPSF, under the control of the World Congress, is in the hands of the Executive Committee and it consists of these volunteers:
  • President
  • Executive Vice President
  • Secretary General
  • Treasurer
  • Committee Chairs
  • Eight Regional Vice-Presidents
  • Two Active Elite Athletes
  • Immediate Past President—non voting
Technical Committee

            Assigns point values to moves; defines recognized moves; sets judging criteria and event scoring; specifies garments, performance aids, and accessories; defines competition events; approves musical accompaniment; designates required moves; keeps event scoring and records; and proposes competition rules.

Safety Committee

            Oversees the safety of equipment; specifies authorized competition equipment; oversees the safety of participants interacting with equipment; inspects the safety and/or sets up equipment; and performs equipment, accessory, and garment research and advancement.

Medical Committee

            Oversees meeting the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Control; defines medical qualifications/disqualifications for participation; medically clears participants to compete; defines event medical services; and protects participant medical information.

Ethics Committee

            Enforces participant and judge rules, regulations, and ethical code; establishes of an ethical code of conduct; investigates violations and misconduct; and recommends disciplinary action to the Executive Committee.

Accreditation Committee

            Ensures participant members meet eligibility requirements; specifies non-medical eligibility requirements; oversees athlete transfers; education and development of coaches and judges; and qualifies and credentials judges. 

Marketing Committee

            Seeks to promote and advance Pole Sports throughout the world; promote a positive and progressive image of Pole Sports; interacts with press and media; creates advertising; and ensures consistent and tasteful use of branding.

Athlete Committee

            Disseminates IPSF and Pole Sports information to the athletes; gathers athlete feedback and facilitates communication between athletes and the Executive Committee; provides athletes with Pole Sport education and development; encourage involvement; promote IPSF values, social responsibility, and excellence; promote athlete welfare; and foster sportsmanship.

Finance Committee

            The Finance Committee is chaired by the Treasurer and is charged with raising funds; identifying new sources of income; maintaining non-profit status and requirements; and securing funding from bank and government sources.

Event Committee

            Establishes and coordinates official events; procures awards/medals/trophies; arrange lighting and music; oversees participant, coach, and judge event access credentials; and defines event activities and timeline.

International Pole Fitness Federation (IPFF)

As pole fitness gains momentum in the international community, it is necessary for advocates and practitioners of this sport worldwide to unify so that we may more effectively nurture pole fitness into maturation on an ongoing basis. The primary function of the International Pole Fitness Federation (IPFF) is to encourage pole fitness to continue expanding into mainstream athletics and to cooperate with other collective pole fitness bodies to help set agreeable standards and goals for pole fitness to reach toward.

IPFF seeks to use competition, showcase, and other pole fitness events only as a means of amplifying and supplementing the sport, rather than seeing these events as an end in themselves. Our logo is merely a symbolic indication of solidarity between persons, studios, associations and federations who share a common goal of helping evolve pole fitness and integrate it into the arena of mainstream sports, arts, and culture. Our logo is not for sale, as membership for private individuals to IPFF is free.

The intention of the IPFF is to collaborate with worldwide pole fitness entities to provide promotion, assistance with networking, inspiration, and structure to all pole fitness athletes, instructors, businesses, associations, federations, event coordinators, and other pole fitness professionals and collectives who would find such services desirable or useful. We believe that to host competitive events, dictate new names for traditional pole maneuvers and poses, and act as salespersons of our own logo is, by itself, inadequate. The IPFF does not wish to usurp any authority over pole fitness and parties concerning themselves with it. On the contrary, this federation was built to become a servant to the global pole community. Please accept the gift of our service for free, or better yet, join us in our service to the strong and ever-growing pole fitness community worldwide.

Pole Dance Community (PDC)
http://www.poledancecommunity.com/

The PDC was set up in May 2009 to provide regulation and promote best practice within the pole dancing industry.
We have since grown to represent over 200 pole dance instructors who are united by our strict code of conduct. 
We represent a new way of doing things, made possible by the internet.  We have no leaders, presidents or committees, PDC policy being decided by consesus on our private forum. Everyone has an equal say.  
You are invited and very welcome to join us.

Brazilian Pole Dance Federation
http://www.federacaobrasilpoledance.com.br/  
Hosting II Pole World Cup in November 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

About FBPOLE

Founded in December 2009, the Brazilian Pole Dance Federation – or also known as FBPOLE – is the legal body that legitimizes the practice of the activity in Brazil. Provided with a strong administrative base and composed by qualified professionals, who work with the principles of deliver a work of high standards, they have a complete infrastructure at their availability to work in favor of new guidelines and policies for the growth and recognition of Pole as a physical modality.

Since 2009, FBPOLE has been training, certificating and qualifying new athletes and people interested in disseminate the modality in our country.

We organized all the technical and logistic part of Pole World Cup, being this the first championship in the world with recognition of the local Government and for the first time in the world a championship showed a technical arbitrage and sporting infrastructure.

FBPOLE is recognized worldwide for the struggle to solidify the activity as a sport and also for the results of their athletes in international competitions. FBPOLE is also a pioneer in the creation of a book of rules, code of arbitrage and in the creation of training course for referees, starting the path to set new guidelines for Pole in Brazil.

FBPOLE is aware of the challenges in the sports scenario, and the motto of their directors is to always have in mind that the pole activity has to be used as a form of socialization, and that it will create new perspectives to people.

FBPOLE is a non-profit and non-partisan private entity, working towards in the increase of development and recognition of the sport in Brazil. In September 2011, FBPOLE merged with the Brazilian Pole Confederation, the highest body of legitimacy that a sport can have. From January 2012, both entities started working together and now they work in the same sphere of work and dealing on the same principles and laws. It is the Brazilian Confederation and Brazilian Federation together for the same ideal!


Directors
Our board of directors is ahead of the time, creating ethical and quality solutions. The goal of professionals working in FBPOLE is to be recognized for its excellence and for the work of sustainable development of the Pole activity.

**********

Are you a member of any of these associations or federations?  Tell me which are your favorite and why!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pole Fitness versus Pole Dancing

There has been some talk lately about differentiating between sexy pole dance and Olympic-minded pole fitness.  I spoke by e-mail with my friend, Rita from Russia, about the varying degrees of sexy on the pole.  She said in Russia they have several styles:  Pole Fitness, Pole Sport, Pole Artistic and Pole Exotic (a cross between Pole Artistic and Erotic Pole Dance -- undressing is not allowed, heels are okay, vulgar moves are forbidden).  Insofar as the conversation between Rita and I went, I would put stripping in the "exotic" category.  I think, for this post, my break down is a little more simple, even though I can understand what she means with each of those categories.  For this post, I am talking about pole dance and pole fitness (which would be the same as pole sport to me).  I am sure the line is different for every single person, so I write here about MY opinion about the difference between pole fitness and pole dancing.  I am sure yours may be different and you are welcome to leave any comments below on where you draw the line.

I have talked about stripping and pole before, although in this post, I am not talking about stripping.  I do, however, understand that even though stripping is in pole dancing's roots, some people really do "need" to differentiate stripping from pole dancing for their own personal reasons. 

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/02/stripping-vs-pole-fitness.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2012/01/stripper-versus-pole-dancer-debate.html

I feel like pole fitness competitions or showcases usually leave the six inch stilettos out.  They seem to be more tricks/contortion-based.  And I feel like pole dancing competitions should encompass the beauty of the dance, sexy or not, and may or may not include shoes (perhaps this is where the difference between pole art and pole exotic might come in).

Long ago, I weighed in on the Olympics debate by saying, I didn't care.  And I still don't care.  You can read that post HERE.  I support those who want to get pole into the Olympics, but it's not my personal cause.  However, the pole fitness cause is near and dear to the hearts of those wanting to get pole into the Olympics. 

Recently, I posted a blog from Pole Dance Italy about getting pole into the Olympics.  You can read that post HERE.  I excitedly posted it on Facebook and tagged KT Coates, a pole fitness pioneer from the UK, who is leading the charge to get pole into the Olympics.  I thought KT would be happy to have another ally on the Olympics front.  I'm confused about what exactly happened, but KT was not happy with our post.  She kept telling us how disappointed she was with our negativity.  We still don't know why she was so upset.  Most likely it was simply because Pole Dance Italy didn't cite her as the pioneer of attempting to get pole into the Olympics in their article.  However, you can't assume that someone in Italy knows that someone in the UK is passionate about a subject, even in this day and age of over-sharing on the Internet.  I was really saddened and disappointed by the exchange on Facebook.

Anyway, putting that aside, I wanted to post about the World Pole Sport Championship, scheduled to take place in London this summer.  You can check out their website HERE.

The organization description reads:

JUST days before the start of the 2012 London Olympics, the world’s finest pole sports athletes will come together to compete for the title of the first 2012 IPSF World Pole Sport Gold Medal Champion. 

Since its arrival on the mainstream fitness scene, pole fitness, as a sport, has seen a dramatic increase in the number of its athletes and has doubled in popularity annually across the world.

Far from being just about pole dancing, pole sports or ‘vertical gymnastics’, requires strength, athleticism, creativity, and grace.  And pole sports athletes across the world are ready to get their sport recognized by the greatest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games.

Hosted by the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), it’s hoped that this year’s World Pole Sport Championship, to be held at the York Hall Leisure Centre in London on July 19th and 20th, will serve as the foundation of the future of pole sports as an Olympic competition.

There are three separate categories in which competitors can qualify for: Women’s Singles, Men’s Singles, and Doubles.  The top athletes of each category will be awarded the International Pole Sports Federation’s gold, silver, and bronze medals.   

The IPSF is an organization for promoting athletic competition in pole sports and uniting pole sports athletes around the world. Its aim is to make pole sports more prominent in the sports community and to get pole sports competitions in major global sporting events such as the World Games and the Olympics.   

In addition to the competition, they will be holding a summit:

The IPSF is holding a first ever International Pole Sports Summit at the competition where everybody is invited to share ideas on the pole sport Olympic movement and ways to improve, support, and promote it. This is a golden opportunity for athletes, international and national organizers, and pole enthusiasts to exchange information on their experiences. This will help the IPSF to govern the pole sports movement in order to achieve our shared goal of Olympic recognition for pole sports.

So I would now love to hear everyone's opinion on the difference between the various types of pole.  Which type do you prefer?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Buck Stops Here

This has been a rough week for me.  I have recently recognized that I carry around a ridiculous amount of anger.  Since most people only see the public-me, they would have no idea that I'm really just one pissed off little chicken more often than not.  I realize that my anger paralyzes me.  It creeps into my relationships, both with Rob and with friends.  It causes me to overeat.  It makes me sleep crappy at night.  And the more I stuff it down, the worse my other issues get.  At my regular therapy session this week, I finally said that I need to start dealing with my anger issues.  I'm not a punch-the-wall kind of angry person, so I don't even think I knew I was angry. 

I have been going to therapy for about three years.  I really do like my therapist but she can really only help  me as much as I will allow her.  And if I'm not pissed off about something at the exact moment I go to therapy, I don't always open up about a lot of my issues.  Not even because I'm trying to hold back but because I am not pissed off about anything right then.  Sure, she knows I'm mad about how my mom has treated me in the past.  And she knows I struggle with my role as the breadwinner at home.  And she's well aware of my shopping and food addictions.  And we talk about that stuff.  But I'm never mad enough to TALK about that stuff when I go in.

Here, on this blog, I have talked a little more openly about issues.  I have admitted I deal with depression and talked extensively about food addition and eating disorders.  What lacks in most of my dealings with my issues is my responsibility in it.  I decided in therapy just this week that I needed to stop playing the role of the victim and take responsibility for myself.  I CHOOSE to be where I am at this very moment.  I am not forced to live with Rob or work out of my boss' house.  I am there completely voluntarily.  I CHOOSE to pick up a bag of jellybeans when I am stressed out and consume 1,400 calories over the course of 48 hours.  No one forced me to go into the store.  I CHOOSE to skip workouts when I am tired or grumpy.  I can say the words that I know I am responsible but I haven't actually taken responsibility for them.

So then yesterday happened.  I just had a bad day.  I skipped lunch and decided it was the right time to have a very long and intense conversation with Rob about our relationship.  I then went to have my blood drawn and they took A LOT of blood.  The dang thing didn't seem to want to stop bleeding and I almost bled through the gauze she hooked me up with.  When I got home, I finally ate something (at like 3:30 p.m.) but I was exhausted.  I had a horrible headache.  So I took a nap around 3:45.  I slept until 4:15.  I woke up and went back to work for a little bit.  Then I laid down again and slept from 5 until 6.  Then again from 6:30 to 7:15.  I had planned to go to yoga, but I was so exhausted.  I was in that weird state where your head feels heavy, you're dizzy and slightly confused about where you are.  I finally pulled it together and got in the car at 7:45 to head to an 8 PM yoga class.  When I pulled up, there were no other cars in the lot.  I actually thought to myself, maybe I will get a private class -- this might be fun!

Let me back up.  I recently started going to Umang's Wellness Haven thanks to a Groupon.  As a small business advocate, I hate Groupon.  As a consumer, I love it (duh!).  Today, I am thanking Groupon for introducing me to Umang.  I have been to about six yoga classes at her studio.  I love her energy and how enthusiastic she is during her classes.  She ends each class by sending you on your way with laughter.  After the first time or two of feeling silly as you belly laugh with the class, you learn to appreciate leaving with a smile on your face. 

So last night, I arrived to an empty studio.  I ask Umang if she will still hold class.  She says, of course.  We sit and wait for late arrivals, and start to talk.  Maybe I looked sad and puffy from crying and sleeping on and off all afternoon.  Maybe I was just extra sensitive and needing an understanding ear.  But we were somehow immediately thrown into my history -- the gastric bypass, my issues with food and Rob, and, of course, my relationship with my mom.  And then I did what I hate -- I cried.  I hate crying, especially in public.  But I was feeling all girly last night and apparently I needed to let it out.  Umang said you should absolutely let it out.  So many people stuff their feelings and don't deal with emotions as they come up.  So many of us walk around probably full to the brim with untouched emotions, just waiting for some slight trigger to set us off.  As I looked around at the empty room, and cried my sad little tears of frustration and anger, I told Umang that I had had a hard time getting myself up to come to yoga but now I realized it must have been meant to be.  

Umang skipped the yoga and we instead had an intense but interesting healing session.  I don't want to get too much into her technique but I opened up more in that hour with Umang than I have in my three years with my regular therapist.  I'm sure some of that has to do with my realization this week that I needed to deal with these issues, and probably right-place-right-time by showing up to yoga already angry.  But a lot of it also has to do with Umang's technique and ability to draw information out without you feeling like you've been emotionally stripped. 

At the end of the night, I was so grateful for the time Umang spent with me.  I realize that I have a lot of work to do to make myself believe that I truly can control my issues (we worked on one issue in particular, which I believe will actually clear up many other issues if I can truly let it go).  We came up with an action plan that I am actually going to implement this weekend.  I left feeling empowered and less weighted down. 

I think many of us walk around with issues, telling ourselves that we've been that way our entire lives and nothing will change.  Many of us go to therapy week after week, with nothing actually changing.  If you are looking for a way to really delve into your issues, I would challenge you to set up just one appointment with Umang (or someone like her if you don't live in the Bay Area).  You will be surprised at how fast you get to the root of the problem and come up with ways to solve it. 

Here is the opening post for Umang's blog:  http://umanggoel.blogspot.com/2010/05/god-opens-doors-no-man-can-close.html

You can buy Umang's book, A Journey of Self Revelation HERE

I have to believe a higher power had something to do with me actually dragging myself into yoga last night and no one else showing up.  I want to thank Umang again for the time she spent with me last night.  I really feel like I have a new direction and am ready to face my issues head on.  Finally!