Màrion Crampe Interview | Your Body Can Hear You | Episode #011

Today I’m joined by Màrion Crampe, an international Pole Star who has taught and performed all over the world, she has won championships, appeared on huge platforms such as the Ellen Degeneres show and continues to inspire hundreds of thousands across her social media.

Known for her passion and her energy I loved the opportunity to sit down with her and ask about her training and mindset practices.



Sarah:                      Welcome Marion Crampe, thank you so much for doing my podcast.

Márion:                  I’m very, very glad to contribute.

Sarah:                      Tell the people, where are you? I just asked you, we should have pressed record earlier.

Márion:                  Yeah, I’m in the Réunion island. It’s like an island near … It’s a French territory, and it’s near Madagascar, if you don’t really know where it is. It’s beautiful.

Sarah:                      I’ve seen some of your Instagram stories and things, and it looks amazing.

Márion:                  It’s absolutely beautiful.

Sarah:                      I was like, “She’s somewhere exotic, wherever she is.”

Márion:                  Yeah, and it’s very nice.

Sarah:                      Awesome. Well, I’m super happy to have you on. We did this quite last minute, so I haven’t even asked anyone if they have any questions for you, but I’ve got some questions for you, if you don’t mind.

                                    I would like to know if you have any daily practises, is there anything that you wake up, every day, and you’re like, “This is what I have to do every day to feel human?”

Márion:                  Yes, I have. Actually, I wake up very early, so … Many people, if you ask a couple of pole dancers in the area, they would tell you, “Oh, Marion … At 9:00, she already have done the whole world.” So, I wake up like around … Mostly, every day, around 6 am, sometimes earlier, when I’m travelling, because of the jet lag and so.

The first thing I do is, I wake up, and I do my meditation. So, I meditate since over more than a year now, every day, it’s like my discipline. I started to meditate a long time ago, just a little few times, like 10 minutes, and now I can go for 30, 40, it depends on how much time I have. At the end, I think we always have time, if we want it. I don’t make myself an excuse, and actually, I like to meditate in the morning more than at night time.

I don’t know, it energizes me and also I feel like … you know some days I wake up and I’m like, “Mm, this one’s going to be interesting, challenging, maybe not as sweet as the other ones.” But meditation helps me to settle something peaceful and to get ready for everything that going to come after.

So, I really recommend … and you know so many people tell me, “But, I don’t know how to meditate, I can’t do it.” I can’t neither, I was like, no way. I’m like full on power, I will never be able to meditate, and actually there is not really teaching or there is not really needed to know how to do it, you just got to sit, close your eyes and find a point of like, to connect, and it can be your breathing or a picture or whatever. I recommend a lot of meditation app, that they help you at the beginning, to find your way, with people guiding you, and then you can find your way by yourself.

Yeah, I think it’s … I can see from the people that I meet every day more, that meditate, a big, big difference.

Sarah:                      Yeah, like how important do you think mindset is with your training. Obviously it’s going to help with your everyday life as well, but do you think it crosses over into your training practises as well?

Márion:                  Absolutely, absolutely. I find myself more efficient, and completely like, when I go to the studio, I’m full on power. I have something, I don’t know if it’s very like personal, but so many people ask me always like how do I stay passionate about my training and even yesterday, even my workshops were like, “Do you go to the studio by yourself and just train?” And I just love it. I just love it after more than ten years, I just absolutely love training, and it’s my job, because as you, I have to train to produce new content for my workshops and everything, but to be honest, it’s never, it’s like everyday I have a job that is not tasting like a job.

Sarah:                      Yeah. It’s not a chore to go to the studio. Have you … do you ever find days where you are, you get frustrated with your training? I know still that you may like feel passionate and go like … do you set goals for yourself that you then go towards, or it more just a spontaneous, this is what my body feels like doing today, or as you say you’re just trying to create new things for workshops and things.

Márion:                  First of all I do not only do pole dancing. I’m passionate about sports in general, so some days when I feel like, mm, today is no. So, I also like to swim, I swim a lot with my husband, I love to run a lot. I like to also bend my body, if you follow me…

Sarah:                      You do? I don’t think I’ve seen those. You should post more about that, people would be interested….(joke)

Márion:                  So, this is like really like, something well we’ll talk about it later, but it’s not something natural to me, so I have worked to get there. But about pole dancing … depends days, some days I’m like I’m going to do just dance, and it also it depends about for me, the weather is a big thing because I’m very suffering when it’s too cold, and some studios are not warm enough, I really have to adapt my training, because my skin just do not stick on the pole if I’m cold. So I prefer super warm Brazilian style, no air conditioning.

Sarah:                      Yup.

Márion:                  This could be something that’s going to change, but also sometimes, I’m like okay, I have a piece to train so I’m going to train hard on this, and most of the time I’m going to tell you the truth, most of the time, I just love to research and we can talk about this, like another topic later, but I don’t follow a lot of pole dancing through my social media and stuff, because I try to keep my brain fresh. So, I watch all the amazing pole dancers but my feed, for example in my Instagram, it’s more like painting, animals, cook that do amazing things, like all the kind of things that can show me something different than what I do and see every day.

Sarah:                      Yeah, cause you also take a lot of inspiration from shapes, like whether that be in nature, or from dancers and sculptures and things like that. Like I see a lot of the shapes you do, like you inspire, to then, you can almost see like once you look back, a lot of the time you’ll put them side by side, and you can literally see where you could almost just draw a pole down the middle of the sculpture or the shape and that’s kind of where the inspirations come from. It’s a really interesting way of looking at things.

Márion:                  It’s very interesting and you know because, I’m going to tell you the truth, like, I have like so many people think, oh Marion, she was a ballet dancer, or whatever. And I’m going to tell you the truth, I did dance, because as a petite girl I was like I want to be a dancer. But if you talk to my mom and I always say that, and people are like, “What?”, she would tell you, now I can tell you, but she was so bad. I wanted to dance, and you know I was like this little girl, like no. Try another thing.

But, I kept on going, and doing and to try and I think like belief has made where I am, also, and work for sure, but belief and I think I didn’t have and I still don’t have the strength of some people, or the flexibility, even if people think I’m extremely flexible, I have a lack of a lot of things. There is a lot of move I can’t do. So I try to find … and also I don’t want to really, I’m 35 years old, and I want to dance and move a long time, so I try to find things also that are not going to injure my body, because I think sometimes I would love to try some stuff but first most of the time I train alone, so I don’t have a friend to spot me. And second of all, I feel like my body, it’s not really shaped for that, or I would need like a real trainer, and to show me the right way, otherwise I will get a massive injury.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Márion:                  So I try to find a way … that’s why, one of my workshops is called Illusionists, because I always say, I create illusion. I create shapes and stuff that when you look at it, it looks fucking cool or whatever you think, but then when you try, you’re like, “Ha, but this is nothing.” I’m like, “Yes, I know.”

Sarah:                      Don’t tell anyone. Pretend it’s hard, as soon as you leave this workshop, we’re like, “Oh that was so hard.”

Márion:                  It works and I think it has been a (theme) in my workshops because I always say to the people, what you see on my Instagram and on the Instagram of most of the pole dancers you follow, is the …

Sarah:                      Finished product?

Márion:                  No, no, no, and also it’s, how to say, it’s like a panel of what I’m doing as an athlete and as for my own training. It’s not absolutely the reflection of what I’m going to teach you, because I can teach so many things different than just Rainbow Marchenko. And, actually, my workshops are pretty much, I do those moves in private, but all my workshops, there is no bendy, you don’t have to be bendy, you don’t have to be strong, you just have to come and try and I show you the technique to do the move.

And I think, and also so lately, like, if you try to do moves, lately I come with shapes that are not that difficult. And yes, they go completely viral and in the beginning I was like, “Oh interesting.” And I understand why, because so many people can attempt it, and I believe it’s very like, feeling very like empowering to be able to do something that you think only those people that train forever, every day, and they only do this every day, and then you can manage to do it too. So, I’m very glad to have find another way to express myself and to help people to be able to reproduce and try and so it’s very cool.

Sarah:                      I completely agree. I mean, I think the whole point of pole is that it’s achievable for everyone. Like you, of course, if you have a background in dance and gymnastics, it’s fantastic, but it also lets people who don’t have those backgrounds become dancers and gymnasts and acrobats and athletes, through just such a simple piece of apparatus. So, doing some of the more simple moves in inverted commas, but doing them beautifully and with intention and lovely lines and things, like, that’s almost such a better way to appreciate pole, than trying to do these insane, crazy tricks, which are like maybe like the top 1% do, of the pole world, but most people are just not at that level, because they don’t have the time.

Márion:                  I think it depends, maybe for your purpose, because you know, I do admire so much like the amazing people and all the amazing people I see every day, you know. I know, because you start pole dancing like me, long time ago, and we were doing a Butterfly and were like, “Oh my God.” And now I see and we’ve thought like now, it’s okay we’re not going to go anywhere else and now, and every day, there is a new thing and absolutely, I’m amazed, after it just depends what kind of … I’m really passionate about teaching and I do believe and I do want to think that it’s important, for me, as a teacher and as a human and as a performer, I like to care also about the people that don’t have those abilities yet, but I admire so much, and I wish I can do like a triple like …

Sarah:                      Back flip thing …

Márion:                  Yes, and Fongi and all those, there is some bendy tricks that I can’t do neither, even if I’m very flexible, all those things and I’m amazed and I’m glad we also have those people. I think it’s cool that there is things, a little bit from everybody.

Sarah:                      Yeah, I can … I look at those people doing those insane things as like from afar. Like, I respect and appreciate their pole dancing, but then I don’t aspire to look like that, because I know that it’s outside of the realms of what my body can achieve.

                                    So, I think a lot of people feel a lot of pressure to do be able to do everything, but there’s so many things I can’t do on the pole, and it’s like becoming at peace with that, and like appreciating what you can do I think is a happier place to be.

Márion:                  Exactly, you know, in my workshops, I often say, so for instance, since a long, many years, so it’s okay if you don’t do all the tricks. It’s okay if like you just have to find your own way, but definitely if you don’t do a Bird of Paradise or if you don’t do a, I don’t know, like a Fongi, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a pole dancer or a performer.

Sarah:                      No exactly, I think that’s a good way to look at things. And it’s nice, when people who are going to look up to you so much can hear you say that, that I think it curries a lot more weight, than if they just have to try and tell it to themselves, so.

                                    You’ve mentioned a lot about your passion for teaching and I know that you’re a very well respected and very well loved instructor. What qualities do you think are important when teaching pole, cause I think that it’s such … you need so many things to be a good pole instructor, it’s not just about doing the actual pole trick.

Márion:                  Okay, so for me, I’m going to tell you the truth, since I’m teaching and I’ve been teaching since a long time now, before that, maybe it’s interesting for you to know, I have been, so I study Sport University, I have been a teacher for disabled people, a Sports Educator for disabled people.

Sarah:                      Oh wow.

Márion:                  And then I also have been a fitness trainer, so I was working in the big clubs in Paris, like doing at 6 AM screaming on my microphone in front of 100 people, so that was my background, on teaching. And I think, I evolved as a teacher and I’m still evolving every workshops, I think. But definitely something that I feel now and I understand better, is that for me the most important … yes, pole dancing is a way, but it’s more about creating an experience, as humans and as like passionate about a thing that is pole dancing, it could be anything else.

I think there are so many points to be an instructor, in my opinion, but I think one of the most interesting and important … I don’t talk about teaching to kids or stuff like that, but the fact that you have to be aware you’re teaching to people, to individuals that have a life, they have problems, or not. They have a job, their beliefs and everything culture and so on, and most of all when you are like an international teacher you switch from Chile to whatever other country in the same week, so you have to adapt also to the culture, to the way you express things, because some things you going to say in Chile are going to received differently in Korea.

So you have to adapt a lot and to be like flexible, and it’s not understatement. It’s very interesting, very challenging, very demanding and also very rewarding and enriching. I think if you tell me, do you prefer to perform or to teach, definitely as you, I think we teach more than we perform as pole dancers, but I just love it so much.

Like this weekend, I just did like a mountain of workshops, and you know today, I went back to the studio and trained again, and my friend was like, “How the hell do you find the power?” And I’m like actually, I got so much power from people, that even if I gave so much, and practically lost my voice, because of so much energy, more than the things I do with my body, it’s so, it’s like sharing, it’s like a wave going back, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. Teaching is very amazing. I feel every class is evolving and you have to play with the tool that you have and adapt to the people, so yeah, it’s a lot.

And I’m very glad that lately more and more I’m teaching and people ask me to teach beginner classes and dance classes, even if I’m not a dancer, I will say small like expression movements for movement,. And I’m very glad because I think for a long time, since the last year, it has been a little bit like, we lost a little bit of the control about it, and many people were afraid to go to workshops because workshops became something only for the elite, for advanced people.

And actually most of the studio and you know it very well, I’m sure, most of the studio most of the people that come, they are not advanced. The advanced people are maybe a little piece of the cake, but another bigger one is the people that just start. And they have the same energy and the same like need to meet us and to share with us and to be able to come to the class.

And I actually I started teaching beginners, and when I was in Milan, in Milan Pole Dancing Studio, I was teaching mostly beginner classes. And I always say, you know, beginner classes is probably the most interesting and also demanding classes. You have to … for me, sometimes when I see new teacher teaching beginner classes, for me it’s a bit something wrong, because I think you need a lot of experience to teach beginners, because you have to bring them the right basement, so I think you develop this from experience. This is again my opinion, but I think it’s important.

Sarah:                      Yeah, no I would agree, I think beginners you’re almost taking someone who has not got as much body awareness, who doesn’t have the same physical strength, they don’t have the engagement, they don’t know how to move their body in a certain way. It’s almost better to start off teaching intermediate kind of level, where people are already going to be coming into your class with a knowledge of how to … how to kind of at least get started. And then it’s just trick breakdown, whereas beginners you’re almost cultivating like little baby pole dancers into the pole world, that need to be looked after in a slightly different way, so I would agree with that.

                                    When you were a beginner, is there anything that you could … like if now you could speak back to your like beginner pole dancer self, is there anything that you would tell yourself?

Márion:                  I will do, actually, it’s interesting because I made a post about that and because somebody asked me, “If you had to talk to the Marion like a couple of years ago, what you would say to her?” You know what, I wouldn’t say anything, because I think, I think everything I went through, made who I am today, as pole dancer and as a human and as a woman, so I wouldn’t say anything. I would just like observe. And probably with a silly smile, like, “I know.”

Sarah:                      I know what’s coming, you’ll be okay.

Márion:                  I know, but there’s going to be sometimes you’re going to cry my friend. Sometimes you’re going to hate it, but you will, you have to go through this because even when people say, “And what about if you had started before?” Probably I would never be there, because I would have done mistakes that would have changed my whole thing.

You know, I’m a firm believer that everything happens, there is no coincidence and sometimes life is hard, I completely agree, but even in the hard things I think there is a reason, even it’s very hard to admit and to accept, there is always a reason.

Sarah:                      Yeah. Are there any specific obstacles … obviously if there’s ones that you wouldn’t want to share, that’s absolutely fine, but are there any obstacles that come to mind that you’ve had to go over that stand out in your mind, that you’re like, it was terrible at the time, but at the time, I feel like I’m a better like artist for going through that?

Márion:                  Yeah. When I start, I never really compete. I didn’t compete much, but when I start pole dancing it was probably my first experience. I did some gymnastic, but I was like, as I tell you, I was bad, so anyway, nothing was happening. That when I start, I think I was, I’m still a perfectionist and I still like perfect line, I do my video for a thousand million times. Even today, I see something like and I was saying to the girl, “This is the last one, eh?” She’s like Marion, “It’s been two hours, let’s stop.” So, I were not satisfied. But, it’s not that I’m not satisfied, but I know I can do better, which is different than before, I was like, “Ugh, this is shit.”

So I think I became more soft and more accepting with what I can do with my body and also with, for instance, in competition I was insane because I was like training so hard, so much, that I was putting so much pressure that at the end right before the competition it was not working the way I want because you know it’s kind of like you’re punching your own face, you know?

So, this is something … I think the day, I finally say, now I’m just going to do it for fun, and I’m going to tell you a little secret, that every time I perform, even when I perform I train and you can ask some friend of mine, even when I perform I’m ready months before. Even if it’s just for a studio showcase I’m very like this.

Sarah:                      Very prepared.

Márion:                  I like to be prepared. But, every time I go on stage, this is my little mantra, you know we all have little rituals, I have other ones, but this one I can share. Before the music starts, no matter what, I say loud to myself, “Just for fun.” Every time. So if you can hear me sometime, you’ll be like, “She’s so weird.” Well I am, but I say that to myself.

And I remember the first time I said that, I won the French Championship for the first time. It was my first competition. First time I went on stage and I say, “Today, it’s going to be just for fun.” And boom!

Sarah:                      Yeah, that took the kind of the heaviness of the competition, the pressure off you and you were reminding yourself that it’s actually just like why we do it. That’s a good mantra. I think a lot of people will benefit from that because so many people put so much pressure on themselves with competing and performances and … it should be, you’ve put a lot of work into it, so of course you should have …

Márion:                  Oh for sure.

Sarah:                      Anxiety to do a good job and to showcase yourself, but that can be overwhelming to the fact that you almost like stifle your performance and ruin it for yourself.

Márion:                  Exactly, because there is some people, we both know some amazing performer they have this, they are capable to make this like stress and competing thing, or performing like a power. For me, it’s my little thing, I need, like I have many other, but I won’t tell some because they’re, some are really like weird and I keep it for myself, but this one, I need it. And yeah, it might work for me and not for others.

Sarah:                      But that’s the thing it’s a good concept, regardless. Like even if those words weren’t what you needed, I think having that little mantra, like having a little word with yourself before you go on stage, can be really beneficial. As I say it ties back in with the whole mindset of, why mindset is so important for training and competing and all that things. If your mind isn’t right, then your body’s not going to follow, so.

Márion:                  Exactly.

Sarah:                      Do you have any … that was kind of thinking back of like an obstacle, but do you have any favourite performance or like memory that’s really stood out in your pole career? I’m sure you have got like a million because you travel so much, but is there any that stand out?

Márion:                  Yes, I have some for different reasons. I have a performance where I felt like the love of people and it was not about the piece. Most of the time it’s about, not where, it’s about with who it’s shared. But I have one piece, and actually I was talking about that with my friend here today, one piece, that if I have to say what is your favourite performance, it’s the one that my friend, Manuela Carneiro, prepared for me for the Swiss Pole Show, it was in 2012, I think.

We were performing, we were with Nadia, Natasha Wang, Lolo, Anastasia Sokolova. Who was there? A bunch of people, I cannot even remember, we were so many people performing. Saulo, I remember Saulo, and so many people I couldn’t even remember, but it was amazing day. And that piece, I think Manuela had the capacity, she’s an amazing choreographer first of all, if you need a choreographer, I think she’s an amazing one, and she knows me so well, because we are kind of like twin sisters.

That she never tried to make me dance like her, she took what I had and she create something from that. And this piece is very … I danced on one of my favourite band’s which is Bonobo and I think, I trained that piece so much hard as you can believe. But I felt so alive. I feel alive every time I dance, but I think that day I felt like wow, something on the top of it.

Sarah:                      Something clicked with that performance.

Márion:                  Yeah, I watch it sometimes, just to feel it.

Sarah:                      You mentioned earlier as well that you do a lot of swimming now with your husband and your flexibility journey has obviously come on hugely, like you weren’t someone that was, that started off in the pole industry with a huge amount of flexibility and now, you’re regarded as one of the much more bendy people that you know obviously has a lot of information and education in that area.

                                    How have you found that training outside of pole, has helped pole? Is there anything specific that you’ve really had to tune into, or is it just more been a development of choice, like you wanted to move differently, so you chose swimming and the flexibility has obviously come with helping to reach different goals on the pole.

Márion:                  So, first of all, you know, it’s the same as, I would compare this as eating or whatever. I do what I feel. I eat what I like and I need it for, first of all, I think for keeping my passion really high. I think to do something else when I, some days I go swimming, and I don’t go pole dancing, the next day, I’m full on, I want to back to the studio and … so I’m thinking the little ban, that makes me want to go back again, you know?

And also I listen to my body, because some days my skin is painful or I don’t feel it, so I’m just going to do something else, some days I just don’t do anything because some days I’m just like, no today is not the day. So, I’m just going to listen, and I’m just not going to do anything, and it’s okay because it’s just today, and tomorrow there is another one. Hopefully.

And so, what I feel from, I think it’s mostly from this, I won’t say that I feel since I’m swimming and running I’m more performing on the pole. I think it’s just the whole package, but definitely more passionate and happy, not more but happy and it keeps my happiness high and even if it sounds crazy, but yes, I’m happy most of the time in my life, and it’s possible.

Sarah:                      That’s good, yeah.

Márion:                  Yeah and because I think sometimes people might question how this chick can be always happy. And well, it’s a process, it’s a work. Some days I also have my days and I just try to move on because happy is a better place than unhappy.

And yeah, about flexibility, I just love it so much. You know, I feel like I’m 35 years old in two weeks and I never felt so bendy in my whole life. I did not have my splits before I start pole dancing, definitely I think I was more destined to be more flexible than a strong one, but I think without work and dedication I wouldn’t have achieved like all the people that work hard strength or whatever, without work they would never be where they are today.

So I think it’s … I discover new things about my body and about the body itself and about my own one because it’s the one I’m in, so, it’s so amazing like I discover every day honestly, I feel new sensation. It’s amazing, I’m amazed every day. And one day I’m going to touch my butt with my head.

Sarah:                      One day, you’re so close. I don’t think that will ever happen for me, but I don’t train it so, that’s probably why it will never happen, but yeah. You, I have every … no doubt, sorry, that you will definitely do it.

Márion:                  You know, it’s something that is very … and I say to the, and maybe it’s going to be beneficial for everyone, something that I never have to tell to myself and I hear it so much because it’s very human to say, to do this, is to say, “Oh, I’m not enough this, I’m not enough that.” Because I say always to my students and my friends, “Your body can hear you.” And your mind, so when you say, “Oh I’m not flexible.” I’m sure the people that say that, they train less flexibility, because kind of the body say, “Oh, she say I’m not flexible.”

Sarah:                      Yeah, exactly.

Márion:                  Or saying, “Oh, I’m not that strong,” so you train less strength. It happens to me often also because, but not really, it’s just because of phase, just because it’s not my thing, but not because, trust me it took me six months to make like a chopper so, I was really bad.

Sarah:                      That’s a great point to end with, I think. The more positivity you put into your body and the more you look after it and love it, then you know, appreciate it for what it can do, then actually the more it gives back, rather than always being so hard on yourself and telling it what you can’t do.

                                    And also being realistic. Like if you’re not training something you’re not going to get better at it. It isn’t just hoping that you’re suddenly going to be flexible, you do have to put the work in and then be … that will come too.

Márion:                  And even if you’re very flexible, because you know sometimes I for sure, you’ve had experience, I have people coming in, they’re like naturally flexible. That’s always what I say, like, when I wake up in the morning I’m not that chick from Instagram. My feet are really far from my hands. To be here. But there are some people they are very flexible naturally, and those people they also have like do you know, I hear, “Oh she’s so lucky, she’s flexible.” Trust me, she’s not more lucky than you, because sometimes very flexible people, naturally, they have to put double work to control that flexibility.

Sarah:                      Exactly, It could be opening them up to more injuries and all sorts, so everyone … there’s always a … the grass is greener on the other side kind of thing

Márion:                  Exactly.

Sarah:                      Everyone has their things, everyone has their weaknesses. Exactly.

Márion:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah:                      Fantastic. Would you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share before I let you go, because I know it’s getting late there now. We’re in different time zones.

Márion:                  Oh that’s fine, but well, first of all I really like want to say that I’m happy that I have found pole dancing and for the people who have never tried, you’ve just got to experience it to understand. And I understand that some people, they just, when they try it, they don’t like it. And it’s okay. Like because there is so many other things to do and what I’m very glad, besides the tricks and all the things, is this absolutely amazing community we have. It’s absolutely amazing. I have so many friends and I have an amazing family in the pole community and so, yes, there is some little drama but welcome to the human race, right?

Sarah:                      Yup.

Márion:                  And it’s not like some people say, “Oh, this pole community … ” No, no, no, we’re talking about humans. We all have different beliefs, we all have different culture. Something I’m going to tell you, you’re going to understand the way I say it and somebody in another part of the world, is going to feel offended about it. And I think what is important is to put a little bit of water in your own thoughts and to understand that people understand words different.

See yellow, a different yellow than you, even if yellow is like a standard colour, I would see it different than you, and I think sometimes we forget about this. And not as pole dancer, as humans, and I see a lot of things going on lately, and I think we have a little lake of this open mind about we’re all different, so if everybody can, who hear me today, I highly recommend to watch this amazing documentary and to show it to your family and to your friends, to anyone you feel could be receptive to it. It’s called Human, it’s from a French producer, which is called Arthus-Bertrand. You can find it on YouTube, if you email me, I can publish the link of this.

Sarah:                      I can put it on the link in the blog of this: Human

Márion:                  Yeah, I think on YouTube you’ll find it for free, and it’s three extended version, and I recommend to watch three of them. He went through the whole world for five years, and he asked questions, the same questions, to different humans and it’s very interesting how we have all different ways to see happiness or to see sexuality and whatever handicap, whatever. Whatever random thing. It’s very very interesting.

Sarah:                      Awesome.

Márion:                  And he makes you think, he makes you cry a lot, but definitely makes you think and makes you think and come down a bit and feel more receptive to and respectful for everybody.

Sarah:                      Well that’s a great message, so we’ll be sure to link in everything down below, and I’ll also link into all of your social media and things like that, so that people can know where to find you, if they’re not already, which would be madness, but …

                                    Thank you so much for giving me some of your time today, I really appreciate it. And I hope you have an amazing rest of your trip

Márion:                  Thank you so much.

Sarah:                      No worries, thank you.

Márion:                  Bye bye.

Sarah:                      Bye lovely.


Instagram: @marioncrampe

Facebook: Marion Crampe Page

Roz The Diva Interview | Is Pole Dance the Gateway Drug to…Happiness? | Episode #010


We’re on to episode #10 of the Off The Pole Podcast and I’m so excited about my guest today who is none other than Roz The Diva. She calls Pole Dancing her Gateway drug to the fitness industry and teaches in her words – ‘obnoxiously loud classes’ at Body & Pole and IncrediPOLE, and trains clients at Brooklyn Fit Lab & Complete Body, all in New York City.

She is a talented performer, instructor and creator of Dangerous Curves – a celebration of Plus Size Dancers. We talk about adapting classes to truly suit all body types, body confidence and her epic journey so far.

Really hope you guys enjoy the 10th episode in the podcast series – you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!

You can hit play above to listen in, or watch it below in non-HD, full, living, colour! BOOM


Sarah:                      Welcome, Roz. Thank you for doing my Off The Pole podcast, giving up some of your … What time is it there? It’s afternoon here.

Roz:                           It’s about 11:30 here.

Sarah:                      11:30 in the AM, okay. So you haven’t quite started your day yet. Are you a late starter or a morning person?

Roz:                           I’m a late starter, actual. When I teach classes, they’re in the evenings. We actually have a snowstorm here today, so I was going to have one or two afternoon clients, but it’s going to be a little drama getting there.

Sarah:                      We’ve had that, too, in the UK, which never happens. We’ve had, like, the beast from the East or something. Snowstorms. We’ve been digging our cars out. We can’t cope at all when it snows. Everybody laughs at us, but it’s nice to have a day off, so might as well take advantage if you’re snowed in.

Roz:                           Exactly. I’m going to attempt to get some work done, finish my taxes, which is …

Sarah:                      Fun.

Roz:                           … fun.

Sarah:                      Everyone loves to do their taxes. I’m always really pumped to do mine…

Roz:                           Pretty much.

Sarah:                      I wanted to get you on to talk to you about a couple of things, one of them being Dangerous Curves, your pole dance competition that you do. Just tell us a little bit about it. My Off The Pole Community group, I posted in there that I was interviewing you, and they’re very excited, as well, so I’ve got a couple of questions from them. Just thought I could start off with that, and let us know a little bit about what Dangerous Curves is all about.

Roz:                           That sounds awesome. Dangerous Curves is a plus-sized pole dancing competition. To my knowledge, it was the first one that existed. Definitely the first one in the States. I started in August of 2012, and I started because although I had the most amazingly supportive pole fam possible, I was just tired of being the only one who looked like me on stage. I thought, well, let’s see if anybody else wants to come who might hang out with me, and yeah, they did. Fast-forward. So far, Dangerous Curves has done 10 events in total and, like, seven big competitions. Maybe even a few … Yeah, somewhere around there.

Sarah:                      Enough that it’s so many that you’re losing count, so quite a few.

Roz:                           Yeah. So what I actually did was I ended up giving it to someone else, to Tausha Ostrander, because she’s a previous champion. She actually really takes the realms of everything. I’m kind of like a fun aunt who can come in, smile, do all the fun shit, and then leave. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I just was exhausted. As I’m sure you know, event planning is. I didn’t have the time to devote to the brand to really build it up as big as it could have been because I was also trying to build up my own shit.

Sarah:                      You teach at, like, three, three or four different venues regularly, plus you teach workshops, plus you do performances, plus you’ve done stunts for programmes that I’ve seen. I was looking through your bio, and you’re like a stunt woman for all these things. So yeah, you’ve got a pretty hectic schedule!

Roz:                           Yeah. I mean, I’m definitely … Dangerous Curves is always going to have a place in my heart, but now that I’m a little bit farther along in my career than I was a few years ago and I understand smart business moves versus emotional business moves, Dangerous Curves just isn’t as smart business-wise as it used to be for me. Smart business-wise in terms of looking at the time, the energy, and the money that it takes to put into this and comparing that with the output. The truth is I can do other events and other things where I make more money and it takes way less time. So that’s also why I was like, you know what? Let me not hold onto this and screw it up. Not even screw it up, but let me not just have this and hold onto it but not do anything.

Sarah:                      For the sake of it, yeah. If it’s got further to go and you’ve got further to go in other things, then let someone who can obviously put their full energy that one. You can put your full energy into other things. I mean, I think it’s nice, if you see a gap in the market, if you can create something. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you always have to hold onto that. You saw a gap, you made it, and then it can be like, now you people run with it. Then, I can just, as you say, be the fun aunt to come in and take advantage of it is probably the best way, I think.

Roz:                           Yeah.

Sarah:                      What made you start in this industry? I know you work in fitness and pole, so there’s a bit of a crossover, but what drew you to this industry in the first place?

Roz:                           Actually, pole dancing was my gateway drug into doing fitness full-time. I’ve been poling for 10 years now. Oh my gosh, almost 10 1/2 years.

Sarah:                      I’m with you. We started about the same time!

Roz:                           Once you hit double digits in pole, first of all, the fact that either one of us still have shoulders is amazing, right? Then, that we have hips and our sanity, wow.

Sarah:                      Double whammy.

Roz:                           Definitely double whammy. I started pole, like I said, about 10 1/2 years ago. I’m in New York City. Simply because it was a class on the schedule at my gym, and it just looked like it was fun because it had dance in the title, and I really like to dance. I have a Beyonce complex.

Sarah:                      That’s not a bad one to have.

Roz:                           So I took it, and it was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I pretty much failed at everything I tried during that first class, but I had never had a better time failing in my life. I was one of those people, it only took one class and I’ve never looked back. Then, I started teaching about seven years ago, and teaching is one of the best things to happen to me, even outside the scope of just pole dancing. It started out just as a hobby and a side hustle. Then, long story short, the universe was like, “Listen. Go do fitness full-time. You really like it. Go do it.” I was like, “No, that doesn’t make any sense. It’s not logical.” My parents spent God knows how much money and time to send me to really good schools, and I worked really hard in school. Nobody works hard in school to be a pole dancing instructor. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. I had so much guilt over taking my education and doing this instead, but I’ve largely made peace with that now.

I’ve been doing fitness full-time, like this is my only means of income, for four years. It’s worked out that each year, I’ve made more than I made the previous year.

Sarah:                      Fantastic.

Roz:                           Yeah. I think a big reason with that is because I didn’t rely on just pole dancing or just performing to get me through. That I knew. There’s just no way, there’s no studio that could give me full-time teaching or what I need that I’d be able to do that. So I’m glad I had the foresight early to branch out into other areas, like group fitness. I work with TRX, and I love it. I do some flexibility work, largely inspired by pole. I’m turning into a giant meathead now, so I’m getting really-

Sarah:                      The weights and stuff like deadlifts?

Roz:                           Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love it so much. I just want to lift the heaviest things I can find.

Sarah:                      It’s addictive, as well.

Roz:                           So addictive. I really have to thank pole, because it was the catalyst for me, also, between just going to the gym but then really doing things that helped change my physically in positive ways. Also, pole got me to do … Pole makes you brave, and it got me to do things that I never in my lifetime thought I could do, like basically make up my own playschool career.

Sarah:                      With all the little challenges. Every time you’re going to a pole class, you’re overcoming a little challenge, and you’re focusing on your body doing something rather than looking a certain way. Then, you’re just constantly positively reinforcing yourself that you can overcome problems, and I think that leaks out into all the pole dancer’s lives. That’s why everyone ends up being really independent, really strong, really self-confident. It’s just such a positive impact, and it’s so funny that everyone thinks it’s going to be completely the opposite and demeaning to women. There’s going to be loads of girls in bikinis, and everyone’s going to be really self-consciously. It’s like, actually, completely the opposite, but it’s our dirty little secret that that’s what the industry does.

Roz:                           You brought up a very, very important point for me, is that people look at me and they hear the way I speak and they see my crazy, bubbly personality, and they assume that all of that means that I’m super, super confident in the way I look. Especially since I spend so much time talking about looking different and being significantly heavier than a lot of other teachers and a lot of other pole dancers that I’m fine with me, but the truth is that I’m not. One reason why pole became so personal to me is because it was one of the first things I did that helped me actually start to lose weight, number one, and to see that my body can do cool things. So going to the gym isn’t just about losing weight. That’s still one of my goals, but it doesn’t keep me awake at night the way that it used to.

Sarah:                      It’s like a secondary thing to using your body for something healthy and fun and challenging. Then, if you lose weight as you’re becoming more healthy, then that’s a big bonus. People putting too much emphasis on the weight loss, I think, then it just goes up and down, up and down, up and down, and it’s not long term.

Roz:                           Yeah. I mean, I’m still definitely up and down, and I have some demons I’m trying to fight with my weight, more mentally than anything else. Pole has actually helped me start to develop a healthier relationship and to heal some of those really terrible things that I used to say about myself. Even though I feel like I’m really just beginning to heal, the fact that I’m even considering healing and making changes is extraordinary. I will forever be thankful for pole because of that.

Sarah:                      Did you feel like you had a lot of obstacles? Everyone, when they first go to pole class, they look at those around them and they compare themselves to others. That’s a really big part of kind of the journey in pole, is kind of finding your own way. Were there any specific obstacles you found coming into class and starting your pole journey?

Roz:                           I think the biggest one was my weight. I know douche bag Americans, we have our own system for everything, so I don’t know how many stone or kilogrammes about 200, 250 pounds is.

Sarah:                      Google. We can Google everything. It’s all good.

Roz:                           Google it. I would say I was averaging between 80 to 100 pounds more than some of my more slender friends. In some cases, I was double the size as other people in class. When my friends are getting things, let’s say, after three or four months, it would take me two or three years. That timeline … I would get it, and when I got it, it was like I can’t even tell you—well, I can, because you pole—the level of satisfaction and excitement when you get something. It takes me a whole lot longer to get things, particularly pole. Pole is pretty much all strength training, with some dance and flex in there, of course. A lot of the more advanced tricks that we’re doing, it’s strength based. When you are carrying more weight, your muscles have to have a greater capacity for work, because they’ve got to be able to support you. Naturally, it’s going to take your muscles longer to become strong enough for me to do the same poses as somebody who’s smaller. That just sucks.

Sarah:                      Damn you, physics.

Roz:                           Yeah, exactly. It’s like straight physics. After a while, it’s really hard to keep showing up somewhere knowing that you’re going to fail for pretty much everything you try. The only way that I got through was because my pole fam was amazing. Even though I was the only one who looked like me for years, they didn’t let me use my weight as an excuse to not try. I would try. They would try with me. I would bitch and moan about doing my left side, like everybody bitches and moans about doing their left side. They’re like, “Are you done complaining? Good. It’s your turn. Get on the pole.”

Sarah:                      Exactly. That’s what you need.

Roz:                           Exactly. Then, afterwards, pole, also, it’s a very social sport. Unlike other group fitness classes, where you have your set of weights or your station and you can go the whole class without having to interact with other people, you can’t do that with pole.

Sarah:                      No.

Roz:                           We’re going to be talking. You’re going to be spotting. Just something with other people. I need that. I really, really like that aspect. After those classes where I get my ass whooped and I’m thinking, why am I doing this? I’m reconsidering my whole life journey. My friends are like, “Um, we’re going to go out drinking. Want to join?” I’m like, “That’s exactly what I need right now.” It was that really nice balance of going hard at the gym and then getting donuts.

Sarah:                      Yes, the healthy balance.

Roz:                           Yes, yes.

Sarah:                      You now teach a workshop for studios directed at plus-sized athletes so that they can … From your experiences, now you can kind of pass that information on. A lot of studios, you may not have had the access to this kind of information or how to adapt things. It’s a lot of mindset, but there’s also a lot of physics. What does that entail, when you go into a studio and you’re teaching for the plus-size athlete?

Roz:                           This is one of my favourite workshops to teach. I’m really excited that pretty much every studio I go to now, I almost always do this workshop. I’ve done it for groups as small as three teachers if it’s a small home studio, but I’ve also taught it to, like, 20 people at once. It’s largely based off of just my experiences. I spent a good amount of time … Basically, there’s stuff that you can do before you get to … before class starts and before clients even walk in the door to during and after class. I think a lot of studios mean well, and they say, “We’re welcoming. We want everyone to come,” and they truly do, but there is some small things that really turn off larger athletes.

For example, if you are at a space and you have showers and you offer towels to your clients, a standard gym towel does not fit around my body. In my mind, I’m thinking, okay, well, I can’t take a shower because the towels are too small and I’m embarrassed to walk around a locker room in this little ass towel, so I’m not going to come to the gym. If I have to go to work afterwards or something else, I can’t change. It’s one thing to go home sweaty, but it’s another thing to go out and about and live your best life. That’s something that I’ve honestly thought about. I’ve still gone to the gym, and I’ve just kind of dried off really fast and I’ve worked around it.

Sarah:                      Speed drying.

Roz:                           Yeah. I know there’s a lot of people who won’t do that. Also, representation matters. I can’t tell you how ridiculously important that is. The biggest reason why people come to my classes, and sometimes they come from two or three hours away just for a 90-minute class. I’m like, “Why on Earth would you do that?” They’re like, “YOu’re the only one who looks like me. You’re the only instructor who’s remotely my size, someone’s also black.” Someone who they can identify with my physically. When people come in, nobody wants to feel alone. When they come to my class, many people don’t feel alone. They don’t have to explain to another teacher why they’re too embarrassed to take off their shirt or why they can’t do this move because their boobs are in the way, why their boobs are so damn heavy. Things that you wouldn’t know unless you’ve experienced it. For me, it’s second nature. I’m constantly making modifications physically for students because that’s what I’ve had to do.

There’s some holds that I just won’t and can’t do, because I have too much boob in the way of my hands. Then, if my legs are over my head, boobs and thighs mean that I’m going to suffocate.

Sarah:                      Which is not a good time. No one wants that.

Roz:                           Everyone likes oxygen. It’s pretty fun. Basically, I talk about things like that and other things in my workshops, as well. I’m always really excited when people request that I do this workshop because it shows to me that they truly care about doing better. What makes me nervous are the people who don’t take the workshop, the instructors who don’t but don’t think that they need it, because you probably do.

Sarah:                      From an instructor’s point of view, there’s always something that you’re going to take from learning about a different body type or a different way of teaching. You can’t learn enough about the human body. It’s literally limitless, especially if you’re learning about other people’s experiences. That can only be beneficial, as well. I was going to ask you, is it a class that’s getting more popular? Do people request that one? I was looking through your workshop list, and that one definitely did stand out as this would be so helpful. When I’m teaching the instructor training that we do, a lot of people will say, “Is there a move or is there a time where you wouldn’t be able to spot someone?” I think no. I think you could always spot someone, but you do have to be … You can’t always spot everyone the same. It’s going to be flexible depending on the person. It’s their ability to adapt to any kind of student, which I think is a big teaching plus.

Roz:                           Absolutely. I love that you have the wherewithal to understand that it’s not that moves are impossible. They have to be changed. If you think about the traditional rules of movement and physics and everything, they were based on traditional-looking bodies and traditional dancers. So if you have people who are non-traditional athletes, it makes sense that the rules aren’t always going to work for them, because they weren’t the ones who these I guess investors, I don’t know what it’s called, but the keeper of the rules-

Sarah:                      The fitness keepers.

Roz:                           Yeah, the fitness people. They weren’t thinking about people who looked and were built like me to do certain things. So I agree with you.

Sarah:                      I think even when people were making up fitness, a plank is a choreographed position. Someone told us to do a plank in this specific way, but as pole dancers, we actually need to move our bodies in completely different positions than normal fitness classes, because we’re going upside down and we’re twisting and we’re turning. The normal rules don’t apply to us already, and then if you add in different body types and flexibility ranges and lifestyles on top of that, then it could be a huge amount of adaptations just on one position. Being a pole dance instructor is massively challenging. Yet, I don’t think you could ever stop learning or get enough information to make it stop, being like, oh, I’ve peaked. I’ve learned enough. I’m done. I don’t need to know anything else.

Roz:                           Absolutely. One of the things that helped me the most is when we started pole 10 years ago, you know, pole was not the sport that it is now.

Sarah:                      No.

Roz:                           It was like a highly organised hobby, but it is totally different. The classes that I took, they were at a big commercial gym. There were 35, 40 people in a class, and we had five poles. You can imagine. Literally, I recall we would average six or seven people per pole.

Sarah:                      Wow.

Roz:                           For us, that was totally normal, and we would just take turns. Because it was open level, we would have everybody from people who were already teaching to people who just stumbled in the room. It’s different than a studio where people go specifically for a pole class. When it’s at a big commercial gym, you have a much wider range of people what are going to come. Because my first introduction to pole was, well, everybody’s slightly different … Still fitting a similar profile, but adapting and helping each other out and kind of being a co-teacher unofficially. That’s just how I grew up on a pole. It was a treat when I started teaching levelled classes, because I was like-

Sarah:                      Oh, you all know the same thing. This is good.

Roz:                           Exactly. Even now, even in my levelled classes now, they’re still loosely structured on an open-level structure. If we’re doing, let’s say, leg hangs, there’s some students who just learned how to invert, so before we get to leg hangs, I’m helping them invert. I’m helping other people do leg switches in the same class.

Sarah:                      There’s a variety. You could be an intermediate level pole dancer and you could be hugely strong, but then the person next to you is hugely flexible. Between those two people, they could have completely different trick strengths and weaknesses. Every trick, you’re going to be adapting for them, as well.

Roz:                           Absolutely, yes.

Sarah:                      In your own personal pole journey, I suppose, do you have specific goals that you set yourself, or do you just do it to further your teaching and just for enjoyment, or do you have a lot of structure with your pole training?

Roz:                           I actually don’t. I definitely fell into that trap of teaching … As my teaching ramped up, my training all but stopped. If I’m going to be completely honest, of the 10 years I’ve been in this industry, I was a pole dancer for about six. The last four years, I might pop into a class here or there, but it hasn’t been the regular training like I used to do it twice a week. That’s because I’m okay with that, because even though me as a pole dancer, my growth has been stunted, as a teacher, it’s like teaching took the place of that. When I tell you I love teaching and I’m obsessed with teaching, I am absolutely, 100% obsessed, can’t teach enough. I feel like I have this finite amount of energy to devote to athletics. When I was just doing it after work, then I had all this time and this mental space to just focus on me, and that’s when I was making the most gains. That’s when I lost the most weight, and I was in good physical shape.

Then, when I started teaching, when I had just one class and I still had a full-time job, I was still keeping up with everything. It was cool. It was great. No problem. Also, performing. I loved being on stage. It’s ridiculous how much I love being on stage, and the only thing that trumps my love of performing is my love of teaching. I haven’t felt as compelled to keep up with the newest tricks in the last two years because I get just as excited, if not more excited, for my students to go ahead and to rock things and to do awesome. I’m also, honestly, I’m tired. Sarah, I’m tired.

Sarah:                      We’re old for pole dance. In pole dance years, we’re like 50.

Roz:                           Exactly.

Sarah:                      We’ve got to look after these old bodies.

Roz:                           That’s exactly. I call it in dog years. Dancers are dog years. There’s a while where I was chasing an Iron X, and I was like, aw, I want to do a Phoenix and learn all these things. Now, I’m happy to keep my ass on the floor. A butterfly into a leg hang, that will always be with me. I’m always going to have my moves that, no matter what, I don’t want to move and I’ll still be able to do.

Sarah:                      It’s a classic. It’s a crowd pleaser.

Roz:                           Exactly.

Sarah:                      I think the audience is getting numb to these big tricks. If you do a knee hang, the crowd goes just as crazy for that than is doing a Phoenix. They don’t even know the difference. Just stick with what you know. It’s fine.

Roz:                           Oh my gosh. This is what I tell students. I do another workshop about building your pole confidence, and this is so much of what I emphasise. Just because you started pole three weeks ago doesn’t mean that you’re not a pole dancer and that you don’t have value yet to the sport. I did my first show after six classes.

Sarah:                      Wow.

Roz:                           I didn’t say I did it particularly well, but I did it.

Sarah:                      But you did it, yeah.

Roz:                           In my mind, when people are like, “Oh, I’m not ready yet,” I’m like, “Bitch, why not?”

Sarah:                      You’ll never be ‘ready’, ready. You’ll always find an excuse to talk yourself out of it. I think when we compare ourselves to what we think we should be doing, you’ll always put yourself down, but you’re basically all ninjas hanging off the side of something horizontally. If you got someone out the street to walk into a pole class, they’d think we’re all mad. People are getting frustrated because they can’t hang by their foot yet. You’re like, “Do you hear what you’re saying you’re asking your body to do? You’re doing pretty good already.”

Roz:                           Exactly. People are like, “What can I do outside of pole to be better at pole?” I said, “Do something that’s the complete opposite in movements.”

Sarah:                      Balance yourself out.

Roz:                           You have to balance yourself out. I tell people all the time it’s not what you do. It’s how you execute it. I would much rather see two or three really strong elements in a performance than you try and pack in every trick you’ve ever learned in three minutes and it’s rushed and I don’t have time to enjoy it. I just want to enjoy what you did. That’s all.

Sarah:                      Exactly. I love that advice. I want to ask you just a couple more because I like to keep these short and sweet so people can listen in. I wanted to ask you, you have a really good social media following, and you’re really, really consistent on there. Is that something that you might try and cultivate, or is there a specific message you try and get across? Or is it more just a documentation of your own journey and then you just hashtag the shit out of it to encourage people to see what they need to see?

Roz:                           I think it’s a combination of everything you just said. I would say for every one hour of paid work, I’ve probably got about 8 to 10 hours of unpaid work that goes into getting it. If I’m not teaching, I’m glued to my laptop, because I’m … Coming up with fresh content is a huge job. Doing social media right takes a tonne of work, but it’s worth it. I post different things on Instagram than I do on Facebook. Understanding your audience in each of those places is critical. People are like, “Posting every day, that’s so much.” It is, but that’s also why my engagement is pretty strong. Two, three years ago, even more so than that, probably four or five at this point, when I had 200 followers and I was posting stuff each day and I’d have six or seven likes, most of which were my mom, that’s all exciting and stuff and that’s cool. I was like, I’m going to do this on the hopes that some day, this will turn to 600 or 700. That’s what happened. It wasn’t a quick payoff by any means, but it did pay off.

Sarah:                      Just being consistent.

Roz:                           Yeah. With Instagram, for example, if I see a post or someone posted something, I don’t automatically follow them just from that one post. I go back and look at their whole account and what they’re about. See things like is this just one random fitness picture, or are there a lot of it going on? What’s the focus of their account? I try and think about the things that I post, like someone from the outside looking in, what might they say or think about me? I’m trying pretty much every day, usually. It ends up being at least five days out of the week, posting just what I’m doing with my clients on Instagram or what I’m doing myself. I’ve found that that speaks way louder than if I were to say, “Come take my class. Come take my class.” Yes, you have to see that, but what are you going to do in class?

Sarah:                      Show the value of your class, and then people can see that, and then they know what they’re going to get, basically.

Roz:                           Nailed it. Exactly.

Sarah:                      Fantastic. Well, that’s awesome. I don’t want to take up any more of your time because I’m already taking up quite a lot already, but thank you so much for coming on and sharing some of your insight into it. I think it’s really, really interesting, and it’s fantastic what you’re doing. I love following you on Instagram. It’s a great message to be spreading, and I think it’s a really nice, positive side to the industry that should only get more and more popular.

Roz:                           Because of people like you and all the other people who like and comment and cheer me on, you are the reason why I have a career. I always tell my students this is a team effort. If I didn’t have anybody else caring about what I did, I’d just be that crazy lady screaming to herself in a basement with a pole, so thank you, Ms. Sarah Scott, for being the incredible leader that you are in the industry.

Sarah:                      Well, bless you. Flattery will get you everywhere! Thank you for coming on. I’m sure my listeners will absolutely love this one. I really can’t wait to share it with them. This will be out on Friday, so only a couple of days to wait.

Roz:                           Awesome. Can’t wait.

Sarah:                      I’ll link in the … Because I put a blog out of the transcript on the website, as well, so I’ll link all your social media, all the links to stuff. They can see your workshop descriptions and stuff there.

Roz:                           Awesome.

Sarah:                      So we’ll link you up so everyone can check you out if they haven’t already. Thank you very much and enjoy the rest of your afternoon, lovely.

Roz:                           You, too. See you later!


Where to find Roz:

Website: www.rozthediva.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rozthediva

Instagram: @rozthediva



Lorna Walker | How to be creative with your choreography | Episode #009

This week I’m interviewing the talented and beautiful creature that is Lorna Walker. She was Miss Pole Dance UK 2013 and recently won Pole Theatre Drama Pro in Germany.

She is a Master Trainer for XPERT Pole and Aerial Fitness, teaches workshops around the world as well as running her successful studio Pole Athletes.

I wanted to get her on to discuss her upcoming project Lorna Walker Choreography as well as some tips and tricks for helping you be more creative with your choreography – hope you enjoy!

Really hope you guys enjoy the 9th episode in the podcast series – you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!

Hit play above or watch or read the transcript below.

Sarah:                      Welcome Lorna Walker to my podcast. Thank you for doing it such short notice. I pounced on you yesterday with like, “Lorna, do my podcast!”

Sarah:                      How are you doing, lovely?

Lorna:                      Well now, I’m great. It’s a pleasure to do it, Sarah. So yeah, thank you for asking me. I’m doing really good. It’s just in between classes and juggling things so yeah, you called at a good time.

Sarah:                      Your background is so much more interesting than mine. If you’re listening to this and not watching it, you have to go to YouTube and watch the video. You’ve got fantastic wallpaper. Just going to put that out there.

Lorna:                      Oh, thank you. It’s my office. This is my creative space.

Sarah:                      I can see. Very inspiring. So the reason why I wanted to get you on the podcast was to talk a little bit about your new project. And so I’ll let you kind of explain what it is and maybe what inspired you to do it.

Lorna:                      Yeah, well my latest project is I’m starting some online choreography courses. So it’s all in the process. The website’s kind of being built at the moment, but hopefully we should have it released within the next four weeks. And it’s basically, you can learn full routines online with me.

And I kind of had the idea … I teach choreography a lot at my studio and I create good routines for my students and then they’re kind of just done and that’s it, and then they never get used again.

And it just seems like a lot of work to be kind of wasted to only teach it to a handful of people, and then those routines never get used again. So I kind of thought, well, maybe I could put them online. So yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Sarah:                      I think it’s a fantastic idea. When you first told me about this it was like, “This will be amazing!” When I used to run my studio, it’s amazing to offer your students choreography classes all the time, and I think I saw a post that Jazzy put up the other day, she was like, “I hope my students realise how much time and effort it takes to make up routines and put it all together and like have new content all the time.”

And to have the potential of having it already done for you as like a space you can go to and pick different routines to learn is … I don’t think there’s much out there, especially for pole dancers, so I think it’s a great idea.

Lorna:                      Yeah, I think there’s a lot of online resources for pole dancing, but it’s usually-

Sarah:                      Usually tricks?

Lorna:                      Maximums of one minute. Or even if it’s flow or choreo-based, it’s kind of a maximum of about one minute or just a handful of moves linked together. Whereas what I do at my studio is I teach a full song over the space of four weeks. And the idea is that it will be exactly the same. You’ll buy a routine, and it will be taught over four lessons so you can hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll be able to run a full routine.

So it’s good cardio workout, but also good for you to learn to dance to a whole song. Because it takes a lot of stamina and-

Sarah:                      Yeah, it does. There’s a lot of endurance. Yeah, I do a beginner’s routine and I’m knackered!

Lorna:                      Yeah, me too. Thinking like, “Why did I choreograph this?”

Sarah:                      I know. Those backwards bends get tiring after a while, goddamn. And are you going to be doing … Like, what different styles are you going to be having on there? Because I know you were going to, you said you were going to use different ideas

Lorna:                      So, yeah, it’s going to be all different styles. Again, I teach all different styles at my studio so it’s going to be a mixture of … At the moment I’m keeping it, it’s just beginner levels so there won’t be any big tricks or anything like that.

Potentially that could be something that I bring in at a later point if it’s working well. But it will be sexy choreo, contemporary choreo, I’ve got spinning pole choreo as well on there, which is quite a good one for people that are not used to spinning pole. Learning to actually do a full routine on a spinning pole as well.

So yeah, hopefully, it will be a good mixture of different styles and it should cater to lots of different tastes.

Sarah:                      I’m excited.

Lorna:                      So we’ve got some rocky music, we’ve got some rock songs in there, we’ve got some contemporary emotional songs-

Sarah:                      I hope there’s some power grabs in that. Whenever I feel contemporary I’m always thinking about power grabs!

Lorna:                      I’m going to put a power grab in for you. I’ll put a few in.

Sarah:                      Sam King taught me a double rainbow power grab, which is like around and then both in at the same time-

Lorna:                      I thought you meant like double dream hands.

Sarah:                      This is why I can’t do choreography, you know, videos myself because I’m just not advanced with the power grab enough, but I’m hoping to learn so I will be so …

Lorna:                      I’ll make sure there’s plenty of power grabs in there just for you.

Sarah:                      And you’re kind of known for your choreography style. Like, all your routines, they’re all really different but they all have like a very heavy choreography element to it. Even though you’re, you could obviously do all the tricks and things, you doing those, do like starfish and horrible things like that. But you do, like, you’ve got a very advanced level of tricks but you’re known for your choreography. But what would you say … What elements make up a good routine in your opinion? I know everyone’s going to potentially have different …

Lorna:                      I think the biggest tick box for me is the feeling. Like I think that it’s feeling the music. I kind of see the dancer as the person that conveys the message between music and audience. So for me it’s making sure that whatever you’re doing, whether it be tricks, floor work, flow, that you’re actually, I suppose, conveying that message of whatever that song means to you and trying to help your audience understand that.

I think that’s kind of one of the biggest things. Musicality is obviously really important as well. And yeah, tricks and floor work and flow are important but I think they’re probably the least important on the list. So I don’t know if that’s controversial or not.

Sarah:                      Oh, well. We like a bit controversy. Do you think that getting the feeling of a song is like a learned skill, or something that people are just born with? Or some people find it obviously easier than others. But I know a lot of people struggle with choreography to really kind of connect with the song, because they’re thinking about what they have to do tricks-wise or movement-wise. So is there tips that you can get people to … How they would get that feeling with the song?

Lorna:                      I think that kind of depends on what your tastes in music are, definitely. I mean I’ve always been a massive music lover and always, even before I started pole, I kind of loved all different genres, and I’d go and watch a lot of live music. And so music’s always been a massive thing for me but it’s just nice that I now have dance to kind of back it up and to be able to do something with it. I can’t play any instruments or anything, so I’m not musically talented, but at least now I can do something with my love for music.

But yeah, I think it is. We do … Everyone gets kind of hung up on what should be in a routine. And the beauty of it is that there’s no right or wrong. It’s subjective, isn’t it? It’s personal opinion. So I think trying to stay true to yourself and do what feels right for yourself is far more valuable than trying to please somebody else. So yeah, don’t really worry about what should be in it, just move however you think you should move. And it will be right, you know? It doesn’t … There’s no kind of … That’s the beauty of pole. It’s not like ballet where there’s set kinds of movements that you have to do and they have to be executed in a certain way. Pole dancing is completely open to whatever you want it to be. So yeah.

Sarah:                      We’re lucky devils like that.

Lorna:                      Throw away the rule book. Yeah.

Sarah:                      And I get a lot of … Or I see a lot of people question in pole dance forums and things like that about freestyle. You post a lot of videos and you’re like, “Just freestyling before class,” or I’m sure you’ve even told me you’ve done performances freestyle and you’re just like, “Oh, I’ll just go on and see what happens.”

Lorna:                      Most of them are..!

Sarah:                      Exactly. And when people hear that and they’re like, “How do you do it?” Because that’s terrifying for a lot of people. So is that something you’ve always found comes naturally or is that like again, a skill that you’ve had to … Like a muscle that you’ve had to train to get good at?

Lorna:                      Yeah it’s definitely a skill that I’ve had to train. I didn’t used to be so confident with freestyle. I think it’s the same as anything. If you train tricks a lot, then you’ll be really good at your tricks. If you train your floor work or your flow a lot, you’ll be really good at that.

And it’s the same with freestyle. If you train yourself to freestyle, then you’ll become more confident in it. And I think that’s the biggest thing as well. When I go on stage with just a song and kind of a start position and no other clue what I’m gonna do for the rest of the three minutes thirty, I kind of have the confidence that I know the song well and that I’ll move naturally to it. And usually my best work is freestyle. The hard part’s trying to sort of redo what you created. It’s quite a spur of the moment thing. So yeah, I think freestyle is definitely my best work, I’d say.

Sarah:                      And is it something like … I know, because people will be almost wanting a bit more layers to it. Because again, for you, you do it so naturally. And I know it’s something that you’ve had to work on. But is that … If you were explaining to a student, how would you start freestyling? Because I think a lot of people, they just … Their mind goes blank. They just stood there like … All the pole tricks that you know just fly out of your head. So what are some basics that you know how to get started?

Lorna:                      Basics are let’s say, make sure you start with music that you know really well, and that you enjoy listening to. I think if you know what’s coming up in the music, it will give you more of an idea as to what your body is going to do.

And also, repetition. I think repetition is key. People always say to me, “Oh, when I freestyle I just do the same thing over and over again.” And it’s like, well so do I. That’s kind of what freestyle is. You keep on repeating the same movements until something changes and something else comes in, and you add to it. So yeah, definitely start with a song you love and don’t be afraid to just do the same, I don’t know, dip pirouette fireman spin for an entire three-minute song. It doesn’t matter. Eventually, your body will start going, “Oh I could maybe add a body wave in.” Or it will start kind of coming to you. It’s when you put that pressure on yourself of, “I need to do something different.” And you don’t. You can repeat the movements for as long as you like, until you feel comfortable to move to another movement.

Sarah:                      Do you film yourself when you do freestyles and watch them back? Or is it-

Lorna:                      Always. Yeah.

Sarah:                      Something that you just like … Because I always find if I do that, if I don’t film myself, I always do something that I’m like, “What did I just do?” And then you can never remember what it is. If you have that on film, you can always watch it back and then take that and then develop it into something different.

Lorna:                      Yeah. It’s usually the way I choreograph most of my routines is from freestyle. So I tend to pretty much always freestyle. I always film my freestyles. I always start, I mean that’s how I warm up if I’m training, even if I’m training tricks. I’ll put a song on that I like and just flow around and move around. It’s kind of after I’ve done my proper warmup, it’s kind of my warmup on the pole.

Yeah, I make sure I film it because, like you say, you do some stuff and you’re like, “Oh, what did I just do? I don’t know.”

Sarah:                      What just happened? Yeah.

Lorna:                      But even when you film it, you look at it and you’re like, “How did I do that? I don’t even know how I did that.” And you’re looking at your camera trying to sort it out on the pole, and you can never replicate it.

Sarah:                      No. But you can at least say-

Lorna:                      But you can at least have an idea-

Sarah:                      Exactly, yeah. I think that’s when you say if you’re confident with freestyle, and then your … Some of the best work can be freestyle because it’s so relaxed and so kind of …

Lorna:                      Natural.

Sarah:                      Natural, yeah. It’s really authentic for the song, because it’s how you felt in that moment. But it is a scary thing just to do initially, I think. But if you just … You don’t have to show anyone the video. I’ve done some terrible, terrible freestyles. But it doesn’t matter-

Lorna:                      Yeah that’s the big thing. People-

Sarah:                      They’re not a bad … Nothing is a bad freestyle. But you don’t necessarily even have to show anybody. You just film it to get ideas.

Lorna:                      No. And you have to do … I think probably out of, I don’t know if I film 10 freestyles maybe one or two of them will be Instagram worthy. Most of them are awful, but you’ve kind of got to be at peace with yourself being awful, I suppose.

Sarah:                      Yeah. That’s definitely part of the journey.

Lorna:                      Yeah, to kind of get better. If you kind of don’t want to do it because you’re scared that you’re going to look bad, it’s like well, you kind of have to go through that process in order to come out the other side I suppose.

Sarah:                      Yeah. No one starts off looking polished in anything.

Lorna:                      No.

Sarah:                      So yeah, I think that’s a really very important message. Do you ever feel like you get a creative block? Is there … You know when you go into … And you’re just like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Is that when you have pressure to make something up maybe? Or is it just in your general training as well?

Lorna:                      Yeah, usually with my own routines I get creative blocks. It’s weird, with other people’s I can see it in my head and I can kind of instantly be like, “Right, this is what’s going to happen.” But when it’s my own, I just overanalyze it. And I think that’s where a lot of creative blocks come from, it’s you overanalyzing.

So yeah, I get them all the time and I usually just try and kind of come away from whatever it is I’ve been working on, work on something completely different and come at it with a fresh set of eyes. Or maybe try freestyling to a different song or something like that, and come up with some new movements.

Sarah:                      Yeah, that’s what I do. I always do like the same-

Lorna:                      You just have to break the-

Sarah:                      The same routine, then I’ll do it to a different song. And then you can kind of come back to the proper song and then you’re like …

Lorna:                      Yeah. That works for that. So yeah, you kind of … I think creative blocks are kind of part of the process. And again, you’ve kind of got to embrace them a little bit because they do serve a purpose, definitely. They’re frustrating as hell, but yeah. I suppose it’s learning not to get too angry about it and just take a step away.

It’s exactly the same as if you’re training tricks. You’re blocked on a trick for ages, and you’re not able to get it. And sometimes you just need a bit of time off just to step away. Maybe you need somebody else’s input or something. And then-

Sarah:                      Yeah. Well, you’ve helped me with mine before. She choreographed one of my routines, which was glorious. You got it like … You were like, “Oh I think we’re just going to do this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.”

Lorna:                      We did it in about two days as well, I believe. You executed to absolute perfection, and I was like, “I can’t believe it!”

Sarah:                      But you took what I did, but changed it … Like you kind of looked at my videos and the tricks that I was doing around that time, and then you adjusted it so it wasn’t just me. Because I wanted some different movements. I was stuck in a bit of a rut of just always kind of doing the same thing. And so it was like based on what I already did, but you put your layer on top of it, and so it just made it completely different. Like movements, I wouldn’t have chosen myself at all, but it just matched exactly how my body moved. It was really, really interesting. But you’re very easy to work with. Yeah, we did it in like, yeah, two days. It was amazing. It was like, “This is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.” Yeah.

Lorna:                      I have to stalk people a lot. If I’m choreographing for someone else, I have to like-

Sarah:                      I do that anyway, and I’m not even choreographing-

Lorna:                      Well I do that anyway, yeah. But I have to really watch people an awful lot, and it helps. I mean I know you quite well and I know what sort of mover you are and stuff. But if I don’t know the person maybe personally, then yeah. I have to really basically spend weeks on end stalking them and finding lots of stuff and saving lots of videos, and seeing how their body moves.

But it’s also people finding their own way I think, as well. I might suggest a movement that works for my body, but it doesn’t work for your body. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do a similar style. It just kind of has to evolve into your own. I think that’s a really important thing. I don’t want people to be going out doing routines I’ve choreographed, and just looking like little mini versions of me. I want them to get their own style and kind of stay true to their own style as well.

Sarah:                      Yeah, like use that as a foundation and then build on it as something that they … Say like it definitely knocked me into using a different style of movement, but then I could then put my own little ‘shazam’ on it. It was a really interesting exercise because I hadn’t been choreographed for a routine before. But I would definitely do it again. It was … It made my life a lot easier.

Sarah:                      Now I did post in the group that I was going to get you on to interview you. I only gave people like a day, so I don’t give them a lot of time. But I have a couple of questions. One from Bridget. She asked, “WTF is her shampoo?”

Lorna:                      Oh that one.

Sarah:                      I like to ask the questions. This is from the people, the people want to know. Your hair is glorious. It’s your own fault.

Lorna:                      It’s messy today. I don’t have a particular hair routine. I get my hair cut probably about once a year.

Sarah:                      Yeah, but you could like bring out your own … I would buy your products. Even if it was a lie, and you were like, “I use this all the time,” and you never did. I would still buy it because you told me to.

Lorna:                      My one … I think my one thing is that it has to be cruelty-free, so I use … I do a lot from like, if I’m running on time, I’ll buy from the local co-op because their stuff isn’t tested on animals. And if I’ve got a bit of time, I might get it from somewhere like Holland & Barrett or something. But yeah, I don’t use-

Sarah:                      Cruelty-free.

Lorna:                      Any particular hair products. Cruelty-free. If you don’t hurt the animals, your hair-

Sarah:                      Your hair will grow glorious.

Lorna:                      Will be luscious and be gorgeous.

Sarah:                      I think that’s a good message to spread. We’ll go with that, that’s fine.

Sarah:                      And then Sam Lowe asked, “When trying to choreograph a routine, is it better to try moves where you think they’d go, note them down, and then work on floor to string the tricks together?” So I guess she’s trying to say, is it better to try and think about where the tricks will go and kind of place them? Or as you’ve said more freestyle and try and dance that way? Or are you basically saying it depends on what you like?

Lorna:                      I think it does vary routine to routine. But I tend to usually listen to the music and kind of map out what I can see in my head. And that will be really basic, like this section’s floor work, this section’s a pole combo, this section’s spinning pole. So I’ll kind of map out where I think I should be, with regards to either on the pole or on the floor. And then it usually is freestyle to kind of work out what works and what doesn’t work.

Lorna:                      And so I suppose if she’s got a set of combos that she really likes, then definitely you can put them in. But also listen to the music and see where they’d actually work. And yeah, you could definitely fill the floor work in around it, that would work.

Sarah:                      And she also had a second part to her question, because you know, I didn’t say they had a limit. She put, “Do you have any tips to get rid of serious jitters or just pole confidence in general?” I’m guessing she’s talking about kind of performing, and things like that.

Lorna:                      I think practice definitely is a good thing. So if you … The more you perform, the more relaxed you’ll feel about it. But even … I mean, I’ve been performing for about eight, nine years now, and I still get really nervous. And I think that’s a good thing. I think the nerves are a good thing to have, it’s just learning to change them into sort of positive energy.

Lorna:                      I do a lot of breathing and meditation before … Especially if I’m competing. Everyone’s kind of frantically warming up, and I’m the one sat in the corner with my headphones on and my eyes closed, just trying to sort my head out. So yeah, I get as well if I’m kind of comp coaching people and I’m chaperoning with them, before they go on I’m kind of doing some breathing techniques and stuff. I think your breath is really important. If you can calm your breathing down, in turn it will calm … It will slow your heart rate, slow the central nervous system, and actually physically help those jitters. So yeah. Practice lots, and start meditating.

Sarah:                      Very good advice. Nice.

Sarah:                      Well is there anything else that you’d like to add in regards to choreography or anywhere that oh, where people can find you? Like when potentially … I know you’ve got a new Facebook group you’ve also launched to kind of coincide with the choreography stuff. So maybe tell people a little bit about that?

Lorna:                      Yes. I’ve got a Facebook group called Lorna Walker Choreography. And it’s kind of just a bit of a forum for people to share ideas. But I’m also doing free live choreo classes as well on there, so people can kind of, I suppose, try it before they buy. They can follow me along for a class and see if they like it. And so they can do that.

Lorna:                      And you can also go to LornaWalkerPole.com, that’s my website. With regards to the choreography website being live, hopefully, fingers crossed, it will be about four weeks time. And it’s an awful lot of filming, editing, coding, and all sorts of stuff that I don’t really understand very well. So we’re almost there with it, but just yeah, about four more weeks and it should be live. And then I’ll be posting all the information onto my Facebook and my Instagram account and stuff.

Lorna:                      If they’re part of the group, they’ll get the offers and the freebies and stuff, so yeah. Join the group.

Sarah:                      Wow. Well, I’ll link down in the blog transcript of this interview. I’ll put it on my website, all the links to everything that people can go to. And obviously, I’ll definitely give you a shout-out in our Off The Pole community group when you go live, so people know when to go find you.

Sarah:                      So it’s exciting. I can’t wait to see it.

Lorna:                      I know, I’m really excited. I remember we were talking about this like last year, and I was like, “I’ve got this really good idea, and I don’t know how to do it.” And now it’s actually happening.

Sarah:                      I was like “Doooo it. It’ll be amazing.” I love watching your routines. And as you say you’ve got so many and they’ve just sat there, so why not kind of put them out there for the world to use as well? So I think it’s going to be fantastic. So I’m excited to see it.

Lorna:                      Yeah. Exciting, yeah.

Sarah:                      Nice. Well, thanks for coming on and sharing some of your choreography creativity knowledge bombs, much appreciated. And it was short and sweet but I like to keep it that way. And we’ll definitely get you on for maybe a part two when you’re live and rolling. And let us know how it’s all going.

Lorna:                      Yeah, very good. Well thanks for having me, and yeah. I’ll keep you in touch with what’s happening and yeah, hopefully next time we talk I’ll have it all available, ready for people to get online and have a go.

Sarah:                      Nice, fantastic. Well, I’ll speak to you soon then, lovely.

Lorna:                      All right then, take care.

Sarah:                      Bye.

Where to find Lorna:

Instagram: @poleathlete

Facebook: Lorna Walker – Pole Dancer

Website: www.lornawalkerpole.com

That is it for this week! Hit me up with comments and questions you might have and don’t forget to join us next week for episode 10!


8 Inspiring Pole Dancers


Hey there lovelies,

As part of this year’s Golden Pole Awards, voting is underway for the ‘Most Inspiring’ category in our community group. This prompted me to write a blog on what makes these polers special, so we can all follow suit; no better way of doing that than by reaching out to some of the people who nominated them – and so I did.

Without further ado here are the testimonials for this wonderful lot (in alphabetical order):

2018 ‘Most Inspiring’ Golden Pole Award Nominees


Annie Norris

off the pole otp golden pole awards annie norris

“Annie has helped me in so many ways. She helped me win my first competition.
She gave me my first ever drag performance in one of her studio’s showcases which I am eternally grateful for as it’s something I aspire to do!

After I performed my winning routine at a smaller showcase of hers, my dad said he was proud of me and reared up… and that’s the first time I can ever remember him saying that.

She’s also so inspiring to me in the way she does so well in the pole community and manages to stay so friendly and humble and sets an awesome example of how to be professional. She’s one of the most talented and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met! And I hope to be as great as her one day” – Daniel Lee

“I went to her first ever pole class and I’m still going now over 10 years later. I love her energy and enthusiasm for pole it truly does flow through her.

She pushes herself to reach higher goals and passes this on to her students, never judgemental always encouraging. She fills all the girls – young and old with a zest for life, a hunger to learn more and step outside the box.

On top of that she gently pulls you into a more confident you, a happier you, a taller you. She really is an all round beautiful and very talented person.” – Dawn Farnworth


Jack Scott-Lee

off the pole otp golden pole awards jack scott lee

“Jack is most inspiring to me because he has come such a long way. This time a couple of years ago Jack was involved in an accident in which he broke his neck.

It was thought he would never walk again after surgery to have a metal plate fixed into his neck, but he was back to pole in about 6 weeks or so. He has never let his injury get in the way of his teaching or performing.

To be lying in a hospital bed to be back to it in such a short time is fab… don’t u think? Jack is 1 in a million and an amazing friend…”  – Beccy Rostron

“Where to start with Jack…

Enthusiastic – always pushes you (in a good way) to reach moves you thought you couldn’t do.

Motivational – alway on the go, and loves the student to take part in his charity shows. Which helps builds coverage and strength in so many ways.

Understanding – if you can’t get a certain move, even after lots of tries, alway has time to she why. And help you get the wight position or even if you just need to stretch it out in between lessons.

Pushy – in a really good way. When you think you can’t do a move or show, and Jack says “yes you can” or “I know you”. Goes through the move, and yes you get it! So that’s very rewarding afterwards, when you get a difficult move, which you thought you couldn’t.

Mutual-tasking – some lessons there’s mixed ability. But he also has time for the beginners and advanced in one class without you feeling down, even if it’s your very first class.” – Sue Till


Jade Marissa Flash

golden pole otp off the pole jade marissa flash

“I voted for Jade as she’s super talented, and an amazing performer. She’s creative as a teacher, her classes are fun, she’s very patient and also humble. All of this inspires me to continue training hard” – Pui Pang

“I met Jade at a pole studio in 2014, and after lots of classes with her, we inevitably became friends.

She has a unique and very uncompromised way of teaching. She has this incredible ability to explain things so clearly that you always get your most optimum results in a class with her.

She always teaches fun, extremely varied classes and knows how to push you to your limits. What inspires me about Jade is watching her perform and seeing all the achievements she has made over the last few years. How strong and fit she looks encourages me and many others to lead an active lifestyle, she lives for her passion and it shows in everything she does, she is strong, flexible and has a beautiful energy.

Her experience with contortion, yoga, dance and performing astounds me it always seems as though there’s nothing she can’t do. Jade is such a lovely person inside and out and that why I’ve nominated her as most inspirational…” – Samantha Hinton 


Kat Loveday & Sarah Fenney

off the pole otp golden pole awards sarah fenney kat loveday

“To me, inspiring someone means not only showing people how you achieved your goals, but also caring enough to help people achieve theirs along the way. I can’t think of two more motivational and caring people than Kat and Sarah.
Not only have they inspired me and so many people to learn the art of pole through Polefire, but they’ve only gone and opened a gym (!!) with the same welcoming feel and heart that they’ve had since day one. Not a single gym or pole class goes by that I’m not only amazed by how knowledgeable they both are, but also just looking around at how they’ve managed to put so many incredible things under one roof. It took so much heart and effort and you can tell as soon as you walk through the door” – Ash Middleton 

“What can I say about Sarah & Kat? They just blow me away with their enthusiasm, commitment and sheer hard work.

When they were setting up Siren Asylum, they worked so hard; absolutely crazy hours. They still managed to deliver awesome classes whilst getting the new venue ready to move into.

Everyone who comes to Polefire/Siren Asylum is made to feel so welcome. Kat & Sarah really foster an inclusive environment for all the women who attend.

Sarah is an absolute ball of energy who really gets the most out of us in classes and gets a crazy glint in her eyes when thinking of badass combos she can teach us.

Kat just has a knack of tailoring her explanations and breakdown of moves to individual students, so that everyone in the class understands.

Between the two of them, they have assembled an amazing team of instructors, all with different styles, skills and things to bring to pole, aerial, strength and flexibility training.” – Claire Riley


Laura Johnston

off the pole otp golden pole award winner most inspiring

“I nominated Laura Johnston for most inspiring for this year’s Golden Pole Awards.

Laura is the reason I started Pole dancing, She introduced me to Annie Norris at Pure-Studios in Hereford, where she dances. Every time Laura touches a pole she gives it 100%, she pushes herself above and beyond, Laura has a life debilitating condition called Cystic Fibrosis.

This means not only is she pushing herself on the pole but also pushing her body way beyond what someone with CF would normally be capable of.

Laura stuck two fingers up at CF a long time ago and never lets it stop her. She drives over an hour to Pure-Studios twice a week and from the second she walks through the doors she is working her ass off.

Annie never treats Laura any different and has helped her push herself safely to become the incredible pole dancer she is. Laura never lets me give up on a move she encourages and supports me and everyone she works with every step of the way.

My nomination for Laura is because she inspires not only me but everyone at Pure-Studios to never let anything hold you back, not just at pole but in life. My vote is for the amazing dancer, supporter and friend that Laura is, not because of her condition.

Regardless if Laura wins this vote or not, she is a winner in my eyes and her Pure-Studios families eyes.

I am honoured to be her friend and she deserves this award.” – Michelle Snooke

“Ahhh Laura really is the most inspiring person I have ever come across in my whole life. I met her through pole classes. Laura has cystic fibrosis. I never expect anyone to get special treatment for having a disability and it’s clear that Laura doesn’t either.

She gives everything a go and despite being seriously seriously poorly at times she is so strong on the pole. She does as much as she can and throws her energy at it. She trains harder than a lot of the other students do!!!

She’s got this horrible illness, which really gets the better of her sometimes, but yet she is an amazing pole dancer, beautiful to watch dance, a wonderful mummy and wife, and is always putting herself forward to perform at showcases etc.

Honestly hun, I don’t know how anyone could ever compare to her. She’s just incredible. I wish everyone could see a little of what she goes through and how she still fights and smiles.

You’d never know she was so ill. She really makes you appreciate life and what the human body can achieve when you are positive and make the most of every moment.” – Terri Pugh


Leah Rose

off the pole otp golden pole award nominee

“I’d love to tell you about how Leah inspires and motivates me!

I have private lessons with Leah during the day times as I’m unable to get childcare for the evenings and she’s always great at working out lesson dates. I had no body confidence when I first started.. I wouldn’t even take my hoodie off in my first lesson with her.

This has changed massively as three weeks ago I posted my first Sunday bumday pic.. and I let Leah take the photo lol. I struggle with dizziness and being upside down but Leah always tries to find ways for me to be able to accomplish a move if I find it tricky the standard way.

I’m also allergic to the nickel in the pole and she always checks how my skin is before, during and after my lesson and she never puts pressure on me to do anything that will hurt me. But she does encourage me to work hard and to believe in myself. I never did a handstand in all of my life until Leah found a way for me to be able to do it.

Leah’s dancing is flawless; her teaching skills are the best; she has a heart of gold and my lessons are nothing but fun despite all the things going against me enjoying it. She has brought together an army of amazing women and I’m proud to be a very small part of it.” – Rebecca Fouracre 


“With not much confidence, being dyslexic and dyspraxic having been with my previous pole teacher for the last 2 years the way leah teaches me she totally gets me.

Leah has helped me build my confidence, explains techniques in a language I understand and can follow. Leah constantly praises me and if i don’t understand leah will break it down. I never contemplated buying pole shoes, however leah’s teaching has made me realise that I can actually do this.

From the moment I walked into her class I could be me and not feel stupid. Leah is making me believe in myself with her praise her kindness, teaching ability and her believing that I can achieve.” – Lisa Rendell


Lesley Jackson

off th pole otp golden pole awards nominee lesley

“Well I’m part of the pole society committee at Northumbria and we changed over to Lesley’s studio in October time. Best decision we have made. She has made us all feel so welcome, giving us her time to show us how to spot, taking the time to come to our fairs to help us publicitise.

Was so invested in our university that she went above and beyond helping our competition (think she was more excited than us ). Her personality is a wild one ahaha she is very genuine and always good craic! She will push you to train to the best you can, through making us practice on both sides, constant nagging about my none pointed toes! All the way to technique.

All in all she is a great individual personlity wise and has willingly given me as an individual and our socciety as a whole a lot of her time and resources when she wan’t obligated to. She lent our society one of her pole so we could have enough to practice our group routine! She means so much to our society and has been very welcoming” – Aaron Marlow

“Where to start! I started at Ley’s studio around a year and a half ago and I can honestly say it’s my home away from home.

Not just because Ley is an amazing teacher, but she’s also become someone who I couldn’t imagine having in my life.

She’s created a studio family, and she’s the glue that binds us together, she’s always inspiring us, whether it’s coaching us into a new move, putting on special classes with some of the best in the pole industry, or arranging pole instructor meets.

We’ve done various charity events which she’s organised, and she also teaches youth pole which I think is absolutely amazing and should be a reason in itself for her to be nominated, she puts everything into that studio and all her pupils adore her for it.

She’s there for us when we’re having bad times and we love her dearly. She’s created true pole sisters and brothers.” – Clare Gale

It fills my heart with joy to hear/read about these amazing people! Jump on the bandwagon and cast your vote before the March 19th deadline.






Charlotte Robertson Interview | Journey Back To Pole | Episode #008

Welcome to Episode 8 of the Off The Pole podcast, where I talk to people from the Pole industry to help you Train Smart so you can Dance More.

This week we have Charlotte Robertson, owner of Live, Love, Bend, which provides online flexibility training and apparel.

She’s a champion pole dancer, having competed and won titles in the U.K. and abroad and runs her successful pole studio, Charlotte Robertson’s Pole and Aerial Fitness as well as teaching workshops across the globe.

We discuss her pre- and post-pregnancy pole life, what she’s found harder to overcome and tips for mum’s to be. Hope you enjoy our chat and the cameo from her lovely son Arlo!

Really hope you guys enjoy the 8th episode in the podcast series – you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!

Hit play above or watch or read the transcript below.

Sarah:                      Welcome Charlotte Robertson to my podcast!

Charlotte:             Hello.

Sarah:                      Hello. Your internet is so good and clear and shiny. It’s actually nice to see someone for once. How are you doing my love? Thank you for taking some time. I know baby’s asleep so he might wake up but we’ll see.

Charlotte:             Fingers crossed he won’t. That’s what I’m always hoping for, more sleep.

The Journey Back to Pole

Sarah:                     I just wanted to get you to describe a little bit about your journey so far through your pregnancy and kind of getting back to pole and things like that just so people understand the timeline of when things happened/when things went down.

Charlotte:             Okay.

Sarah:                      Not like literally everything. You can cut it off at like when …

Charlotte:             There was this night … No, I’m kidding. So, it was kind of … I can’t actually remember exactly when I found out that I was pregnant last year. Some kind of time, end of February, March so similar to now. I found out that I was pregnant last year and I basically, one of my main goals while I was pregnant was to keep poling through my pregnancy. It was something I really, really wanted to try and achieve because I hadn’t seen loads of people polling but obviously like you it’s the main thing that we do so it was really important for me to try to keep up in whatever that I possibly could.

Charlotte:             I wouldn’t go too deep into the ins and outs but unfortunately we had some complications so that meant that when I went for my 12 week scan, which is when they basically give you the A-okay, like you’re definitely pregnant and everything’s okay and you can kind of continue on until you’re 20 week scan. Unfortunately, yeah, we had some complications, which meant I could have continued training but emotionally and just generally I wasn’t in a place where I really wanted to in case it caused more problems. Not that it would have done but just in your head, you want to protect your baby.

Sarah:                      You wanna be safe and just mitigate any issues that could happen.

Charlotte:             Exactly so I was quite … Obviously, I was upset because of the complications but also I then was really like, “Oh, I don’t wanna train, I don’t want to do anything,” ’cause I was really scared of hurting the baby. So I actually stopped training until I had a more in depth procedure. At 14 weeks I had that done but once I got the results from that and I got that really quickly back and everything was fine.

Charlotte:             I then from about 16 weeks, then started getting that into my training so I actually had a bit of break, which was not intentional at all and all the way leading up to the 12 week scan, I trained like as normal and I was able to train as normal, like I didn’t feel pregnant, apart from my belly growing, everything was still achievable, which is quite nice to know because I think you think as soon as your pregnant that you’re not going to be able to do anything but it actually is a really gradual process and its obviously over a long period of time. So, I basically from 16 weeks began training again and then had the 20 week scan and then at the 20 weeks scan I got the definite everything was fine, the baby and from then I decided that I was performing and I did it at 26 weeks and then really from 26 weeks after I performed I decided to just kind of …

Sarah:                      Taper off?

Charlotte:             Taper off a little bit. Just did the things that I kinda really wanted to do and things I really enjoyed. I didn’t have a structured training session every week. I just kind of went in as I went and yeah, kind of chilled out quite a lot from that point but continued eating and everything else. That was my pregnancy, basically.

Sarah:                      In a nutshell.

Charlotte:             Yeah, so that was that. I carried on running until I was like 20 weeks but I got SPD, which is issues with the pelvis and pelvic pain and stuff and it definitely seemed that doing running and typically lunging. I fricking love a lunge.

Sarah:                      Love the lunge. #lovealungewednesday Of all the things! Cruel! What a cruel turn of events.

Charlotte:             So, that kind of stuff was aggravating it so, again, with stretching and stuff I just had to kind of hold back a little bit and like I say, I was doing stuff and that’s where my social media kept saying, “I am doing this but I’m not really training as I was.” ‘Cause I didn’t want to give the impression that I was still going for it hardcore ’cause I really, really wasn’t. And yeah so that was the pregnancy and then he arrived at the end of October. So, yeah.

Sarah:                      Focused on the little man.

Charlotte:             Yeah. So, he arrived earlier than we had expected, earlier than planned. ‘Cause he was a big boy so they suggested …

Sarah:                      Oh, Luke…(Charlotte’s husband)

Charlotte:             So, yeah they suggested that it would be better for me to be induced. Again, I won’t go into the ins and outs but basically they induced labour so that he came a little bit earlier, otherwise, he probably would have been ginormous. Yeah, had an amazing birth experience. I found it very empowering and I thought it was just amazing, just amazing the way that your body works and the way that it all happens. That was really cool but the recovery was way harder than I imagined it would be. I actually saw you, didn’t I? Like a few weeks after he was born?

Sarah:                      Yeah. We came to your pole camp at your studio, me and Leah (Rose)

Charlotte:             Yeah, you guys stepped in amazingly ’cause I was in no fit state to do anything like that and yeah, so that side of it was really … I found that much harder. I imagined that I would be tired and I imagined that I would be a bit sore but I really was so sofa bound for at least two weeks. I found just anything … Like walking was really tough, just generally. I’m really tall in the body, so that was a bit of a shock to my system to be honest because I think with what we do, we’re used to pushing our bodies. We also bounce back quite quickly. I think if we are ever injured or we’ve got a nickel, it really doesn’t take that long to kind of get over it.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Charlotte:             I think most of us I’d say.

Sarah:                      We just generally expect a lot from our bodies, if it’s pain, we’re like, “Get over it.” A lot of mentality with pole dancers I think, is pushing through, would you say. And when you do have something like an injury you see when people post about it online, if they’re injured or like yourself. Not saying pregnancy’s like being injured but you do have … You have to take a step back and you see people’s post like they’re in shock, “What do I do now? Like I don’t know. My body hasn’t done this to me before.”

Charlotte:             Yeah. Exactly. And it was just the fact that I thought that I would be perhaps a few weeks later being up to do a bit of Pilates maybe going for a few power walks and all of that kind of … But I literally, it was just a shock to my body and I think it’s a combination of everything like you’ve given birth, which is the hardest workout of your life, like 10 marathons and then you’ve also got the after …

Sarah:                      It doesn’t just stop there. You have to kind of look after a human.

Charlotte:             Yeah. Exactly. The recovery and then you’re trying to also look after a baby and then just all of it is just … Yeah, it’s overwhelming, probably is a good word. But yeah. That was a big shock and I kind of prepared myself I thought. I was like, “I’m not going to train for a while. I’m gonna have three months of work. I’m gonna go back to training in January and just gradually build up so I can go back to work in February. And that was all in my plan and then before I knew it, it was December and I was like, so, so far I’ve just eaten hob knobs and better baby and that’s what I’m doing right now. And so it was quite a big shock to me definitely. And especially with the fact that my husband is massively supportive of everything I do and even with all that support, it was still really, really tough so yeah that was quite a shock. Yeah.

Sarah:                      Do feel like there’s a lot of pressure with social media and stuff, not necessarily from pole dancers and I mean, kind of in general with the whole fitness industry as well with people like bouncing back from pregnancy and to these ridiculously good figures, that it’s putting a lot of pressure on people to feel like they have to do it in a couple of weeks and people are posting back in bikinis and things. Do you think that was in your mind? Even though we say like it’s not going to affect us and we will push past and listen to ourselves, do you still think that played a role in you wanting to get back quicker? You thought people would expect you to get quicker? Or is it more for yourself, you wanted to get back training for your own kind of mindset and health.

Charlotte:             Yeah, I think I wanted to get back training because I didn’t want to let myself go. I know that sounds really funny but I didn’t want to get into a situation where I was six months down the line and then hating my body because I hadn’t done anything about it in the early stages, probably the most where it stemmed from I suppose. I didn’t want to just sit on the sofa and eat hob knobs.

Sarah:                      There’s a part of all of us that wants to do that so don’t worry, you’re not alone there.

Charlotte:             So I didn’t want to be lazy, I guess is the point. I didn’t want to be lazy with it but I don’t think I was lazy. I think I definitely listened to my body and I gave myself the time that I needed and it wasn’t even until January that I was like, “Okay, I’m ready to get back to doing something.” I really need to add though that I did … One thing I really do and I stuck by the day after that he was born, was I started doing all my core engagement stuff. So, I was trying to engage my core, do all my pelvic floor exercises, that they tell you to do but do all of that every single day.

Sarah:                      I think I saw some videos of you doing that, like on all fours, and you’re kind of just breathing in and out through the stomach and things. I saw you post that really, really early.

Charlotte:             Yeah so I was making sure I was doing stuff like that basically right from day one. So, yes I was doing my core engagement exercises every day and then I was trying to incorporate 5, 10 minutes in the evening when we were able to stop putting him down because that’s the other thing. They literally rule your life. Especially when they’re tiny and I know that’s obvious because it’s gonna change your life but you can’t do anything. You can’t even brush your hair. You can’t even find two minutes to use those five minutes to do something that’s quite selfish for yourself. Core engagement stuff is actually really hard to do because there are a million other things you haven’t done that day that you could do with … Like doing in that time. So, it’s really … We had a conversation quickly before about prioritising things and also making sure you count yourself as a priority.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Charlotte:             Not just the washing and the hoovering and all the other stuff. I think that’s really important. So, yes I think it’s really important I was back to training as soon as I expected to be. I definitely was really trying to do that kind of stuff so that … And it was more about getting the feeling back because it was big shock to my system that when he was born I literally felt like a slinky so I felt like my ribcage was sitting on my hips and I had nothing the centre so it was just like wobbling around all the time.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Charlotte:             It’s the weirdest feeling because even when you’re pregnant and you don’t have the core engagement the same as when you’re not pregnant, it’s like tight. It’s still tight, and you’re able to use it and I could do burpees at pretty much the day before he was born, I could still do all of those kind of things. Planks, all of that kind of stuff but I was literally like a slinky.

Sarah:                      You didn’t look like a slinky when I came to see you. You looked radiant when we came around, we were like, “You look really good.” Like, what? That’s not fair. You’re giving us hope though. 

Charlotte:             I definitely think those first few weeks though it’s just like you’re on adrenalin. So, like when I saw you guys, I was definitely like in the moment, you’ve had your baby. You’re bursting with love. The sleepless nights, you can still manage them at that point. Everything is still really exciting and you’re definitely running on adrenalin and then I think it’s like now that it hits you, when you’re still getting up in the night, you’re like, “Shit.”

Sarah:                      This baby just won’t grow up quick enough!

(Charlotte went to get Arlo as he woke up) 

Sarah:                      Oh, hi!.

Charlotte:             Who’s that? Say, “Hi, Sarah.”

Sarah:                      We can do it. I believe in you Arlo, come on. First podcast

Charlotte:             Let’s do it.


Sarah:                      Honestly, how do you get anything done because I would just sit and look at him all day.

Charlotte:             Okay, so where were we? January.

Sarah:                      January. January, doing exercises, getting back to it.

Charlotte:             Yeah. So, yeah. So, then I started going to some classes.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Charlotte:             I’m trying to think of where I am.

Sarah:                      Which classes did you start off with?

Charlotte:             So, I started with Pilates, which was really frickin’ hard. So, I’ve been teaching Pilates now for nearly 10 years and Pilates has been the hardest thing to get back to because it is just so focused on the area that is obviously the weakest after having a baby ’cause it’s all about engaging your deep core muscles. So boring isn’t it? So yeah, at first and that was really hard and again that was a big shock to the system because I was thinking Pilates would be a nice way to get back into everything but actually, that was harder than some of the pole stuff, not all of the pole stuff but some of the pole stuff. Yeah, so I certainly ran some classes and it was really just to ease me in and so that’s how I got back in to work basically. So, I started going to Pilates and then to a pole class on a Thursday morning and etc and then I’ve eventually taken over these classes ’cause they were originally mine.

Sarah:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlotte:             So, I’ve now gone back to teaching those classes so yeah that was like the way that I kind of eased back into it. I did my first pole training session at about six weeks and that was … I posted a big post about that but that was really hard and really interesting. The stuff that … Muscle memory that I’ve been able to do during my pregnancy, so things like crazy, like iron x and lifting to a handstand and those kinds of things they came back. I was still doing those but knee lifts, because you don’t do it while you’re pregnant because your belly is in the way, to actually then perform that post-natally when there is no longer a belly but there’s also no engagement there.

Charlotte:             It was really, really, hard. Like I said, I did post because it was just a reality of it was that things that I could do.

Sarah:                      I guess the order of stuff is a little odd, like you think, “Oh, you should get her to do the easiest stuff first and build it up to the hard stuff.” But if your shoulders are still really strong but your core is weak then you’re going to be able to do quite a lot of arm only handspring type stuff. But then the actual knee lifts and the more beginner stuff is actually gonna be pretty difficult.

Charlotte:             Definitely. And climbing without … It’s funny but without making too much of a joke of it, climbing like lifting your knees up is like core but then also squeezing your legs together …



Sarah:                      All right, so when you were posting pictures on your Instagram, ‘Cause you did Iron-X pretty much throughout your pregnancy.

Charlotte:             Yeah.

Sarah:                      Did you get any backlash from people? ‘Cause some people get funny about people poling when they’re pregnant and things like that. Did you get any comments or was it all fairly positive, where people are like, yes fair play, you’re still going.

Charlotte:             Maybe behind my back but no, nothing on the social media. Nobody was negative. I think everybody … I really tried to make it clear the whole way through that I was only doing things I felt comfortable to do and also doing … Like I said a minute ago, but it is muscle memory rather than … It’s a technique obviously but now it’s more muscle memory, of being able to do that trick, I think. ‘Cause like I said, I could do that as soon as I walked back in the studio like I could lift a handstand as soon as I walked back in the studio. Those aren’t things that someone else post-natally, obviously is gonna be able to do. The only negative thing I had actually, was when the paper, I got a call from the paper. I don’t remember, there was a story that they posted. It was all online, it wasn’t in the paper but one guy, random man, I can’t remember what his name was, he commented some link but I can’t remember.

Sarah:                      Did he mansplain you about how you should be looking after yourself more?

Charlotte:             Probably. I think it was more his kind of … I mean, whatever he wrote was more like not everyone would be able to do that pregnant. It was almost like he was saying, “So, if you’re pregnant you can do that,” which wasn’t the case, obviously.

Sarah:                      Everyone’s obviously different and everyone … I think what a lot of people … ‘Cause a lot of people have posted along your journey and they’ve been very inspired, you’ve given a lot of us hope to be like … We use our bodies so much so it can be a scary thing to go through pregnancy and that was the big break away but also I think it’s been really positive for people to see that you can’t just jump back into things, you can obviously do some things that are incredibly difficult to some people post-natally but I think you’ve listened to your body so well and actually given a very realistic timeframe for people to follow, or not to follow themselves but it’s a realistic timeframe to see someone else go through it and actually see you don’t have to rush, you can listen to your body, do the exercises properly. It’s good to kind of taper yourself back into training and your body will remember stuff. You just got to give it time to catch up with your brain about what it wants to do.

Charlotte:             Yeah definitely, and I think also without playing a mini violin, you are also … When you’re feeding … So, I was feeding him up until really recently, when you’re feeding, your body still isn’t recovering fully because you’ve got all those hormones going through your body to be able to that for your baby. Also, just the sleep deprivation, it plays a massive part. If you ask anybody to go in and train after having four hours sleep, they’re going to be pretty crap as well.

Sarah:                      It’s not the easiest thing to do on a day to day basis ’cause it’s multiple days in a row, isn’t it? It’s not just like, oh, I had the odd day where I didn’t sleep that well, it’s like a week, a month, six months of sleep deprivation that people have to deal with.

Charlotte:             Exactly and I think also when you’re pregnant, I didn’t sleep for the last few months of my pregnancy because you’re just so massive. Moving around in bed is such an issue. I was hungry all the time and I will say a combination of all those things. It’s been like you say, it’s been months and months of not sleeping, not just a couple of nights. And I think what I find really funny is I’ve obviously followed holistic lifestyle coaching for a long, long time now and that’s all to do with getting your eight hours, going to bed at 10, waking at 6, 7, only eating your carbs before the evening and all that kind of stuff and it literally just goes out the window.

Sarah:                      Yeah. Like throws it on its head.

Charlotte:             Whatever gets you through. And I think that’s fine for a while. I think it’s good to do that actually and to just, like you say, listen to what your body wants and I think it’s one time and I think I felt it with being pregnant, it’s the one time where I could just do whatever I wanted, like train for what I wanted to train for, not because I felt like I had to train to keep my workshop content or I felt like I’m going to train to enjoy training. And if I don’t wanna train then I won’t train today.

Sarah:                      Yeah.

Charlotte:             Well, I’m sure you feel the same, as much as we love what we do there are points where you just think, “Oh, I could do without that today or I could do with having a little bit of a rest or whatever.” So, I think it’s been a good opportunity to kind of step back and see the bigger picture.

Sarah:                      Evaluate why you wanna do it and what you enjoy doing.

Charlotte:             Yeah, and even now, going back to it, feeling like when I go in I just do the things I wanna do. I haven’t got any expectation of myself and that’s really cool. I go in and I [inaudible 00:22:24] and limber and I’m like, “Whoo-hoo! winning.” Whereas before, you want to get that new trick or you wanna …

Sarah:                      Yeah, the pressure of always trying to post new stuff and keep up with everybody.

Charlotte:             Yeah.

Sarah:                      I think everyone needs to take a step back sometimes regardless if you’re gonna get preggers or not. I think we all need to remember that sometimes.

Charlotte:             And I think it does really help you see the bigger picture, remind yourself why you’re doing it and remember how much you love it. Yeah, so, I think that’s really, really nice and I’m loving training and just … ‘Cause everything feels like a win. It’s like when you first pole and you do a five-minute spin and it does a massive win and you feel amazing when you leave and now I feel like that too and that feels really nice not to have any expectation of myself.

Sarah:                      That’s cool.

Charlotte:             But I also really wanted to add, sorry I know I’m rambling but …

Sarah:                      No, no, you carry on.

Charlotte:             But I think it’s really important to say and obviously all the mums out there are going to totally know this but it changes daily. So, if we did this podcast tomorrow I’d probably say completely different things because things change so quickly. By tomorrow he might have slept through the night and I’d be feeling like a new woman or … It just changes so quickly, they change so quickly. You okay? They change so quickly but just the way you feel about things and the way that you feel about your body. ‘Scuse you. You all right?

Sarah:                      He’s smiling now.

Charlotte:             Are you burpin’? One day you could feel amazing about it because it’s amazing that you’ve grown a baby and you’ve managed to get this far and then the next day you could feel rubbish about it because it’s not how it used to be or whatever. So, yeah. It’s ever-changing.

Sarah:                      Ever changing. We’re just on the last couple of things then I’ll let you go ’cause I know you’ve got babies to look after and stuff. I did post in the group and asked if anyone had any questions for you … Really trying not to be distracted. Emma Temple said your one of her biggest inspirations, she’s 22 weeks pregnant and says it’s thanks to you that she’s actually carried on training through this pregnancy and she’d like to know if you any tips of maintaining core strength or is that something that, as you said, you’re just gonna have to wait and see what happens and then just get back to the exercises quickly when you finally get back.

Charlotte:             Yeah, so I think that abdominal core engagement stuff I did quite soon after I did also throughout my pregnancy as well so I posted a video. I think I posted a video before and it was me really heavily pregnant and I was able to draw my tummy in. Although I might not have posted it. I should post it one day and it’s almost like there’s no bump there. So, you’re actually being able to draw in your core muscles so I did it all the way through my pregnancy and it’s also really safe because it’s just diaphragmatic breathing. It’s not crazy core or anything. So it’s just focusing on breathing and engaging. Zipping up through your pelvic floor and then wrapping around with your ribcage and thinking about lifting your ribcage together.

Charlotte:             So I would highly recommend doing that, and although it seems very simple and really like you’re not doing anything, I think that went a long way for them being able to do that afterwards and quite soon afterwards because you speak to a lot of people and you aren’t necessarily as fit as some of us who pole but they can’t feel their pelvic after at all, whereas I didn’t have that issue. Nothing worked quite as well as it probably should, it still was there and I could still feel and I could still apply that exercise. So I do think that went a really long way. Pilates as well, I’m a big, big fan of Pilates and I think, in fact, you’re core endurance programme … Lot’s of good stuff in there. It’s very similar to the Pilates training and stuff like that.

Sarah:                      Yeah, it’s very Pilates based.

Charlotte:             Yeah. And it just goes … You know, such a long way to just prevent [inaudible 00:26:46] as well as rehabilitative exercises so I think Pilates I would say alongside poling for someone who feels comfortable to do so. So, yeah, that’s what I’d say.

Sarah:                      Nice. And we’ll let you go because I know he probably wants your attention now and you’ve already given me plenty of your time. That was really, really informative. I think a lot of people just wanted to know kinda of … They wanna know if it’s gonna be okay if they come back from having a baby and it’s just so nice to hear your side of the story and to see how you’ve gone through it and how you’ve produced this little creature whose just gorgeous.

Charlotte:             His crazy hair.

Sarah:                      I know. I love it. It’s so cute but yeah, I’ll let you get on!

Charlotte:             Thank you. Yeah, one thing I just wanted to add ’cause I did admit there are certain things that I really wanted to get across as well but with flexibility, the regression of flexibility I think is something that you expect because you’re not training as much ’cause you need to protect your body but that definitely now, even now, is so hard and I’m so far away from where I was even when I was pregnant. That’s something that’s definitely not come back easily whereas the strengthening I think every week you get stronger with or without exercise. You start to really … Your body starts to build itself back up again. But the flexibility, it’s just a reminder of how hard you’ve worked to stay flexible. It’s not something that sticks around unfortunately and I think I probably will do a post on it soon because it’s quite a dramatic change. So, that’s something that I really, really loved training. But, yeah, so.

Sarah:                      Well, got to have you back on for a part two, ’cause I know you’re just getting really back into teaching and training properly now so can’t wait to kind of check in again in a … Well, whenever you feel ready. And then we’ll see how you get on then so we can document your journey. I’m gonna link everything with this. This will be on youtube but also the podcasts will be on my website and I’ll link to the blog transcript some of the videos you’ve mentioned, a link to your website. They can check you out. Live, Love, Bend, has got a spanking new website and also your Facebook group, which is all online flexibility, which is really, really informative. I’m one of the members on there and the weekly classes are awesome. And yeah, and so, you’ve done some blogs yourself from your journey back to pole as well so I’ll put those in the transcript as well for people to go and read. So, thank you very much gorgeous. Bye baby Arlo.

Charlotte:             Say, “Bye!”


That’s it! I think it’s such an important message to listen to your body as much as she has and I love how honest and realistic she’s been about getting back to pole dancing.

Hope you guys are enjoying these podcasts. You can hit subscribe in Itunes to keep up to date with the latest episodes and please feel free to always drop me a message and let me know what you think.



Dan Rosen | How to avoid being a Susan PLUS Golden Pole Award nominations!! | Episode #007

Welcome to the episode #7 of the OTP Podcast interview series! This episode is a special one as not only do we have the lovely Dan Rosen on, I’m also announcing the nominations for the first-ever Golden Pole Awards at the end of the interview!

You may know Dan for smashing competitions around the world, his workshops or from his ‘Dear Dan’ IG stories. We delve into how to avoid being a ‘Susan’, his body transformation and other nuggets of goodness.

Really hope you guys enjoy the 7th episode in the podcast series – you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!

Hit play above or watch or read below.

Sarah:                                        Welcome ‘Mother of Susan’s’, Daniel Rosen. Welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Dan                                             Thanks Sarah Scott, I’m good, how are you?

Sarah:                                        It’s weird when people call me by my full name.

Dan                                             Scotty.

Sarah:                                        Thanks for doing this. This was a very popular request to have you on the podcast. A lot of people have been seeing you around recently talking about Susan’s. So I don’t know if you just want to describe what a Susan is, how Susan came about. A little bit of a background about Susan.

Dan:                                            So basically I’ve always have loved doing my funny, stupid little videos. As you started a long while ago when I basically made stupid like stretch tutorial called The Donut stretch’ which Bendy Kate encouraged me to do. And it got such a funny response, and I love being funny. And that’s what I do at comps and stuff. I just enjoy making jokes and stuff and making people laugh. And then I decided to make these like funny little videos and some about stretching and stuff, and I thought, “Do you know I should do a video about a teacher who’s dealing with some of the most unruly students and like just do a comparison of what we actually say compared to what we want to say.” So I did that and I basically used this fake student called Susan.

I just said, “Susan this or Susan that.” And Susan became a thing. And I was like okay. So now I’ve created Susan and now I’m just doing funny videos about her. I just think it highlights the taboo subject of how students can be in class because every person has an inner Susan. Just some people’s inner Susan comes out worse than others, you know?

Sarah:                                        Give us an example of a Susan type student.

Dan:                                            Susan is the type of person that would walk into a class 10 minutes late on her phone, not apologise and say that she’s warm already because she had the heating on high in the car. That’s Susan. Susan gives zero fucks about anybody. She’ll hog the pole for 10 minutes and won’t care about her friend who’s waiting to have her go. She makes the whole class about her and just an actual nightmare. But the difference between a Susan and like someone who’s just a complete like moron, is that a Susan is a bearable person, like someone who you wouldn’t change them but they’re-

Sarah:                                        A lovable Susan rather than…

Dan:                                            A lovable Susan, yeah! Don’t get me wrong, they do get points for like they’re slightly unbearable, but yeah. That is a Susan. Just someone who … we all do it. We’ve all got some things that we do that are a bit Susan-ish. And now it’s just become … there’s an official word for it. Susan.

Sarah:                                        It’s popping up in a lot of my workshops now. People are like, “Oh, I’m sorry if I’m being a bit of a Susan today.” I was like, it’s actually caught on that people are using it. It’s like a term they can use for themselves. I love it. I think it’s a great term. I think it highlights a lot of the problems instructors have as well. Like, we’re smiling inside sometimes but…

Dan:                                            Yeah, exactly. Like, we want to stab them but we can’t because they pay our bills. It just a really tough position to be in.

Sarah:                                        We love our students; we love our students. And we’ve all, as I’ve said, we’ve all got an inner Susan. I think we can relate to that. Can you remember a time when you’ve been a specific Susan?

Dan:                                            Oh my God! I was the worst Susan. I actually feel really sorry for one of my teachers who use to teach me in the beginning. Well both, actually. Stacy Snedden and Pippa Loveridge because I used to go between the two so I’d be right smack dab in the middle of them both. But I used to be such a show boater, like I still am to a certain extent. Not so much anymore because I’m so much more lazier now. But in class it would be very much like I’d always want to be the first person to try it, I’d always want to be the first person to get it. It was always about me. Just an absolute, complete nightmare. But again, it was one of those things like it was never meant in any way nasty, of course, which is why I had not … I mean, I’ve got about 20, 30 Susan’s at my studio. But I love them all. And you don’t want to change them but it’s just funny little traits that they do, just little things that they do like when we’ve got to do our bad side and they’re doing their good side. I’m like, “Wait, that’s not your bad side!” They’re like, “Damn it! You caught me!” I’m like, “I know which fucking side is your bad side Susan!”

But yeah, it’s just never meant in any harm, I guess.

Sarah:                                        It’s in a light-hearted way. I think people get that. I don’t think anyone has been offended by Susan, have they?

Dan:                                            No, I mean-

Sarah:                                        I mean, real life Susans. If your name was Susan it’s probably going to quite hard for you in pole class now!

Dan:                                            Don’t be offended by it. I actually got a really funny message off of someone in Australia saying, “Oh my God, do you like have beef with Michelle, Shimmy, and Maddie?” I was like, “No! Of course not!” It’s just I needed to create this character and I needed to … I just wanted to show everyone what an amazing Australian accent I can do and-

Sarah:                                        Great accent. You transform!

Dan:                                            Where else could she be from apart from PDA. It’s got to be from PDA isn’t it, cause I always train there. And so, I was like yeah, she’s got to be from PDA. Now I know that Shimmy and Maddie have a great sense of humour so I thought there’d be no offence taken there. So I checked with them first. And then yeah, Susan was born in Australia, went to PDA, now she’s at my school. And she’s a fucking nightmare.

Sarah:                                        If people want to know where to go to find Susan, or the videos of Susan, I’ll link them below. But it’s mostly on your, is it mainly on your Instagram or it’s on Facebook too?

Dan:                                            Everyone keeps saying to me to create like another page for Susan, but you know what? I find it hard now to find the time to make the Susan videos, let alone manage a whole separate Instagram account because that would be managing my Instagram account, my school Instagram account that I’ve got, and then Susan’s. It’s like oh God.

Sarah:                                        I think it’s nice to dabble hers in yours as well. It makes people go to your page and they get to see what other stuff you do as well. I think it’s nice to keep it all in one place.

Dan:                                            I just recently, actually, posted … I’m doing like some camps at my studio and four of them sold out, but like, that never would have happened if that wasn’t for Susan. And genuinely I believe that because at the time, the whole Susan videos were going crazy. So I just had more traffic going to my Instagram and so many people saw this camp was up and, “Oh great! We’re going to like Camp Dan! It sounds amazing!”

Sarah:                                        Learn how not to be a Susan.

Dan:                                            Such a great name for a gay pole dancing camp. Non-gays allowed too.

Sarah:                                        Very inclusive.

Dan:                                            So yeah.

Sarah:                                        What would be your top five things to avoid being a Susan? I know there’s probably hundreds that you could think of, or maybe not because I put you on the spot. Because we haven’t talked about this, like what we’re even going to say.

Dan:                                            So many things like, unnecessary moaning. Like I know it hurts, but life hurts, you know? And then like wiping your hands unnecessarily. Like constantly going … I’ve actually got a new video coming soon on this. Wiping your hands on the pole. That’s just what-

Sarah:                                        Where it makes that squeaky noise that just goes right through you?

Dan:                                            Don’t sweat on the fucking pole. They’re like, “My hands are sweaty.” And then they go and wipe them on the pole. I’m like, “What is that gonna do? That’s just wiping your fucking sweat on the pole Susan!” So there’s that, there’s turning up late to classes all the time, missing warm ups, or chatting through the warm up the whole way through the warm up and you just want to strangle a bitch. Yeah, I mean. I could go on. I could make a list as long as my arm, literally.

Sarah:                                        Well there’s quite a lot of videos that people can see already on ‘Ways to avoid being a Susan on your Instagram, I’ll send the people there. Alongside your Susan videos, you’ve also got Dear Dan, which comes up on your Instagram story, which has been really, really popular. Why did that start? Why did you start doing that?

Dan:                                            I just randomly one day, I put on Instagram I put, “Oh, ask me any questions you want. #DearDan kind of thing. I’m going to start this little thing called Dear Dan.” Thought nothing of it. Thought I’d get a couple and they’d just be fairly funny. And I just took like … I just happened to get a really good few first messages that I was able to make really funny. And so this is like … I can’t remember what the questions were at the time, but it was just like student who … one student was moaning because their teacher was always moaning at them for turning up late or something like this. She couldn’t help it. I was like, “Well, have you ever considered how it actually affects her and the fact that you’re walking halfway in through a class, or whatever?”

“Oh she was talking to her friend!” Or something like this. Like, “Actually, you’re in the wrong.”

Sarah:                                        You’re the problem!

Dan:                                            Yeah!

Sarah:                                        For expecting you to support her and be like yeah! Damn you!

Dan:                                            So that is not what Dear Dan is for! But I do worry that people will read it and not realise that it is a jokey column and actually take my advice. Because if they did, people have been advised to like drown bitches in ponds-

Sarah:                                        There’s a lot of tit punches, as well.

Dan:                                            Yeah. Tit punching is the extreme. So if they’re really at Susan, they do deserve a quick huy yah! Straight to the boob. But on both sides. We train both sides.

Sarah:                                        There’s been some slightly more serious ones in there. You kind of, you do mix and match a little bit. Like some people have come to you with some quite serious stuff, which you have managed to answer, I think, very on the level. You don’t always make it into a joke. But yeah, most of them you are gonna answer with a little bit of like tongue in cheek.

Dan:                                            Like some girls actually do message with real genuine questions and some are like … I had a girl recently message me saying something to do with like … I think she was suffering from depression, or something like that. It could have been both, an eating disorder. It was something really serious, and I was like, “God like, this is bad. She’s messaging me when actually she really needs to be a doctor and like getting help.”

Sarah:                                        That was the first step, though. At least you’re a platform that people can like make that initial first step. Rather get advice from someone that they respect and then go and speak to someone like, it’s like the first rung of the ladder. Like admitting that you need help with something. So doing like an anonymous message on Instagram is going to be far easier than walking into a doctor’s office or making the necessary appointment.

Dan:                                            The only difference in that is that I’m not a qualified doctor.

Sarah:                                        Well no, but at least you could invite them to go seek a professional’s. It’s not like, “Hi Dan! Please diagnose me with my … with this or the other.”

Dan:                                            If someone is like, “Well Dan Rosen told me that I was fine to take these pills.” And like, yeah, no. Some people do actually generally ask me serious questions. Sometimes they’ll ask a serious question and I’ll answer a funny joke, and I’ll post that part. But then my conscious will make me reply to them after I’ve posted that just to say, “By the way, here is the serious-” But some people will be like, “Oh, I just can’t get this new blah, blah.” And I’ll be like, “Well why don’t you just not do that move? Why do you have to be like every other basic Susan who wants to do that stupid move, anyway?” I’ll answer like that and then I’ll message back and be like, “Listen, if you really want it that badly, here are some tips for it.”

So sometimes people actually see my response, and be like, “Guys, he’s so mean!” But actually, I always message back with something nice afterwards. Especially if I’ve been overly mean. I’ll message back and be like, “Jokes, just kidding! Love you!”

Sarah:                                        But screenshot and post the horrible one, yeah! Don’t let people really see that you’re kind, only rig them to think the worst.

Dan:                                            Yeah I don’t want people to think I have a heart, or anything, you know?

Sarah:                                        In fact, we should just stop this podcast right now. Before anyone starts noticing.

Dan:                                            Let’s just like, not let people know.

Sarah:                                        Do you feel like there are any specific questions that are reoccurring? So people always seem to ask the same stuff, because you do post a whole range of different things. But do you get a lot of the same questions or is it always a big mix?

Dan:                                            So recently I get a lot of questions about like struggling with hands, grip. I get that a lot. Like people will say they have really sweaty hands and-

Sarah:                                        Are you going to push that grip again?

Dan:                                            Yeah, well, it’s not that I’m going to push it, because I know I got sponsored by them.

Sarah:                                        Yeah, yeah! I bet you’re on commission

Dan:                                            To be fair with you, I don’t even use it anymore because it made my hands so dry that I don’t even need it anymore. My hands are so dry all the time. But Driclor is amazing! I actually bought it in Boots because someone randomly told me years ago to buy it, and it actually for people’s armpits. But I was like okay. I put it on my hands and feet at night and literally my hands have been so dry. It’s just amazing, it really helps dry them out.

Sarah:                                        You can get that from Boots?

Dan:                                            Like, yeah, I did buy it in Boots. It’s called Driclor. D-R-I-C-L-O-R. And it is great, and it works for me, but it doesn’t apparently work for anybody. I had someone try it and she messaged me and said, “Just to let you know I’ve tried it, but it’s still not working great for me. Just wanted you to know.” And I said, “Ah, it doesn’t work for everybody.” But I think, as well, you have to make sure you’re only putting on at night. Some people try and put it on before pole class, and I’m like, “No, no, no! You’re supposed to leave it on overnight. It’s supposed to stay on for a good 10 hours, you know? So I try and leave it on for like all the time while you’re asleep, at least, and then wash it off. And then in the morning, you’ll notice your hands start to feel a lot drier after a good few nights. It feels great!

So yeah, I get the questions about that a lot, so I feel like I have to repeat myself a lot on that one.

Sarah:                                        We’ll link that one down below so people know where to buy it, and that you recommend it.

Dan:                                            And then people just messaging about things like struggling to invert, been poling for a long time. Still struggling to invert. Struggling to get the air inverts, and that strength thing. And I tend to answer these one’s fairly seriously. Maybe with a bit of a joke, and again, they’ll be the ones that I message back saying, “Listen, this is what you need to do.” But I think with things like that, as well, it all comes down to A. How many times you’re poling a week, and what your fitness level is. And everyone is such different fitness levels, you know?

Sarah:                                        It’s not like a magic pill, or a magic piece of advice that they haven’t been told already that is suddenly going to make them do it. Sometimes it’s a technique thing that-

Dan:                                            You know, it’s funny. I got a girl who, just recently, started coming to pole. She’s great, she gets all the spins and stuff, but inverting, she just isn’t getting there. But she is like a fit girl. She’s in great shape and stuff. But it’s funny, because everyone sort of automatically assume that she’d find easy, but oddly enough, it doesn’t really matter.

Sarah:                                        Yeah, it’s not like a specific amount of time you should be poling to be able to invert. People, I think, put a lot of pressure on themselves to be like, “Oh, I’ve been poling a year, I should be going upside down by now.” As you say, it depends how many times a week, what they’ve done before. Unless you focus on yourself, but you’re always going to get this strained about stuff everyone else is doing because you’d be crying yourself to sleep every night, if that was the case.

Dan:                                            I think a lot of bigger girls, as well, tend to feel that because they’re bigger, they’re not going to be able to get themselves upside down, which is just totally not the case. Do you know what I mean? I don’t … I’d agree in the sense that it’s going to be harder, of course. I mean, when I’m heavier, it’s so much harder to get myself up, and I really notice the difference. But it’s not impossible. Do you know what I mean? I’ve got big girls who can get up on their own absolutely fine, you know? But I believe a lot of it comes down to technique with inverting.

And it’s trying to explain things like that, but the difficulty is trying to explain that via a small message that you’re allowed to send. Because I don’t want to send them a whole page because I’ll get quite a lot of messages and I want to reply to them as I can. It’s hard, and I always try to say to them, “Listen, this is a couple tips. But really, unless I meet you, it’s so hard to tell. Because it could just be something stupid. You could have your hands the wrong way around. You just don’t know.” Do you know what I mean?

That’s the only difficulty with this is. And I always try and put a disclaimer like, “This may not work for you because I haven’t met you and I don’t actually know what you’re doing wrong. But these are the most common things that people do wrong.” And find that kind of helps.

Sarah:                                        And teaching is your livelihood so if you give away, or spending your time giving free teaching advice online all the time, then you’re not actually earning a living. Like people think, “Oh, it’s just one message. It’s just me asking for a few tips.” But if you multiply that by how many people have access you on the internet, it takes up a huge amount of your day. And it’s not like … we don’t want to help everybody but you physically can’t text everybody back how to invert because it can’t work like that.

Dan:                                            Yeah, I don’t answer all of them. Like, I mean, if I feel like it’s … yeah, they’re almost asking too much that I can’t really answer via message, I message them and say, “Hey, probably best thing for you would to go to a class because there’s just nothing I can do by message to help you with that.” I don’t know really how people feel that when I message that, but it’s just me being honest because I don’t … I get messages all the time. You probably get all the time, things like, “Oh, I’m trying to get my phoenix.” But like phoenix is one of those moves, it can be so many different things! I can list probably about 20 different things that people do wrong with that move, which is why they struggle with it. To try and do it via message, not even a video. Not even watching them. It’s impossible. Absolutely impossible.

So generally, I like the questions to be more light hearted. I like the sex ones the most. They’re the funny ones.

Sarah:                                        Well we’ll request to the listeners of this podcast to send in sex questions.

Dan:                                            Yeah, I want them!

Sarah:                                        You’ve also been posting quite a lot of … I feel like I’m stalking you much on your page, but you’ve been posting a lot of selfies recently. You know, showing off the recent body gains, or body losses, as it were because you’re looking lean! And you’ve been working with a trainer for that and I know you get lots of questions about your diet and exercise, things like that. So what can you tell the people about that?

Dan:                                            I think, so basically over the last year, me and my now fiancé Mitch-

Sarah:                                        Woo!

Dan:                                            So we basically just got to the point we were like, “Right, okay. Enough is enough.” We were the type of couple that would eat. If you ever seen that meme where it’s like, “Monday-Friday, salad.” Then there’s like all these healthy foods, and there’s like Saturday and Sunday there’s two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, pizza, five pieces. Like, we would literally go crazy on the weekends, and we’d be like, “Why are we not losing weight?” So we eat so good during the week, but it just wasn’t enough. And we were like enough is enough.

So we took like some pictures of ourselves and basically started a plan with a friend of mine called Kate Lindsal, who’s a pole dancer and she’s also a PT. But she was just great for me because she was just constantly on me and most plans that you would normally do, they’re normally be on to you, but not quite as much as Kate was, which was great for me because that’s exactly what I need. I need someone like, “Okay, what’s your weight today?” And I’m like, “Oh, shit she’s on to me!” Do you know what I mean?

So I felt like I was like constantly on it.

Sarah:                                        Policed a bit more than you would by yourself.

Dan:                                            Yeah, but I wasn’t a vegetarian last year, at the end of last year. And I actually believe that has had a real big impact as well because I actually cut out a lot of the crappy foods that I used to like to eat. So now if I’m eating pizza, which is so dull, like pizza for me is just ugh. I used to love it with like meatballs on it, chicken on it, stuff like this. And now I don’t eat meat anymore, it’s just a pizza. It’s like oh, okay. That’s like … yeah. That’s just like no good for me.

So I have like one cheat meal a week now. I follow the plan that Kate gave me. I go to the gym now. I like at least five times a week with Mitch. My whole lifestyle has just like changed and I think that’s when you … you have to get to a point where you just say, “Right, enough is enough and I need to just sort stuff out really.” And be like, “I need to make a change.” I’m so glad I made it because I feel so much better in myself, as well. I used to feel so lethargic all the time. My body feels better, I feel better myself, my energy levels are better. It was the best thing I ever did. And I’m going to now keep continuing that.

I will always fluctuate in weight though. I’ve always been a yo-yo dieter, but I now, when I have it fluctuate between a few pounds other than a few stones. Do you know what I mean?

Sarah:                                        Would you say, because I know it’s quite difficult to be like, and you probably get these questions like, “So, what are you eating? What’s your diet plan?” So from what I kind of get from what you’ve said is, make sure it’s personal to you. Try and be consistent, and try and get someone to keep you accountable. Those are the things that have made the difference this time.

Dan:                                            I mean, I’m not saying you have to have … I mean, Kate is great. But I’m not saying that you have to do it through someone. I needed it at the time because I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m great when it comes to fitness and stuff, and telling people what they should do in their class and stuff to help them get fit. When it comes to diet, I’m totally uneducated in that sense. And actually, that’s what I’d love to do in the future.

Just to learn a bit more about diet because I get a lot of my girls who say, “I’m loving pole, what should I be eating?” And I’m like, “Chocolate bars? I don’t know!” Do you know what I mean? I literally have no clue because, for me, my diet, I mean, to give you a rough idea, like I mean, I’ll have like a bagel and a half in the morning with like corn on it with eggs, and then I’ll have, I’ll get back from the gym and have a jacked potato, some corn with it, and protein shake. Then I’ll have my lunch, then I’ll have a meal before I teach, then I’ll have a meal when I get home. But for most girls, if they ate all of that, oh my god! Because obviously their calorie intake is so much different than it is for blokes.

So when they ask me, I’m like, “I could tell you, and I could give you my whole plan really, but it would be of no use to you.” You know?

Sarah:                                        Yeah. I think it’s been massively inspiring to see like the change in you, and you seem so much happier with yourself so it’s not just about you should lose weight because it will aesthetically look this way or that way. Just to have the benefit of feeling better about yourself and having more energy is a massive plus. And that’s what people should focus on. Not just standing there in their pants.

Dan:                                            Yeah!

Sarah:                                        Which is also a bonus, that’s fine.

Dan:                                            Yeah, well the pants are just the bonus I guess. But I think there’s just an expectation about in myself, not from anybody, because I’ve never really felt that pressure from anyone within the pole industry. But an expectation that elite level pole dancers or people touring doing workshops, should look a certain way. Because I felt that pressure I guess because my friends, you know, I’ve got like you, Bendy, Charlotte, and you guys are all in great shape. And for me, I was always the one that wasn’t really in the best of shape, and really, I should be.

But I think the reason that was was because I used to always rely on pole to keep me in shape. But when you become professional, and you do it every day, it doesn’t do the same as what it does for, say, for some of my girls that come twice a week. And I worked really hard, because when I’m training myself, I’ll be like watch a new Instagram video and whatever, and then I’ll go and do it. Then I’ll watch that back and in that time, I’m resting. So like it’s so up and down. I’ll do a butterfly nowadays and when I break a sweat is when I first started doing pole that for me was like an effort. Do you know what I mean? Doing a butterfly and making a combo out of that would make me sweat, so it was a great workout back then.

But when you become a professional and you do it every day, your body starts to get used to it so now, for me to lose weight or to get in shape, this is when I go to the gym. Because for me the gym is more of a shock to the body than pole is. Whereas for most people, the gym would be a bit like, “Oh, okay.” Whereas pole would be like, “Whoa, I’m using muscles I’ve never used before.” Whereas me, a bicep curl my bodies like, “Whoa! Why are you pulling the weight out here and not here?” Do you know what I mean? It’s just totally different with my body. So yeah, I think that’s probably had a big impact and stuff.

Sarah:                                        So would you say are there any … I know you go to the gym, obviously for your weight loss plan, or your kind of getting fit plan, but do you do any external exercises to help with your on the pole training? Do you find that the extra weights and things like that have helped your pole training? Or has it just been like pole specific for pole training, and then the weights and the cardio and things like that are more for your physical-

Dan:                                            I guess the weights and the cardio were just really aesthetics, I guess. I just … so basically I said that the only way I’m going to get into the best shape I could was by the time I’m 30. I turned 30 in May. So I’m like, right, that’s my goal. I just want to be in the best shape that I could possibly be in. Throughout my whole life, I’ve never been in the shape I’m in now and I just thought like that would be really good goal to be in the best shape you can by May. And be like, “Yeah, I’ve got in great shape by the time I was 30.” Kind of thing, and then I’ll just get fat. Just joking!

Sarah:                                        You have a wedding so you can’t!

Dan:                                            Got that coming up! But so that was like kind of the goal. So the gym was just to get into that shape, I guess. But I mean, there’s lots of different things that I do do in the gym that benefit me in terms of pole. Probably in ways that you don’t even realise. Things like the pull ups and that I have to do in the gym, it obviously strengthens the back which then helps you on the pole. But obviously the cardio and stuff is making me lighter, which is making me easier to lift. And it’s just also when I go to the gym, I’m encouraged a lot more to stretch, rather than be quite lazy at my studio to stretch properly.

The only thing that I would say for anyone who does go to the gym as well as pole, is to make sure that you are stretching. Because one thing I noticed, I haven’t back bent in ages because I injured my back, but I’m at the point now where I can really start again. I tried to stretch my back the other day and my shoulders are so much tighter and my back is so much tighter that, again, what do I expect? I’ve been going to the gym like every day for God knows how many months now.

Not been stretching properly. So that’s one thing I’m going to focus on this year, I think, is that making sure that I look after my body in that sense. But yeah, gym wise, not really. I wouldn’t say that there’s anything that helps me for pole. But there are things you can do at the gym to specifically help you for pole, as I’m sure you know. But yeah, you may know a little bit about it. Yeah. I don’t really do them because to fit all of that in as well I’d be at the gym all day.

Sarah:                                        I think stretching is a great tip to do. Like whenever you do anything to get in your gym session. If you’re doing a gym session or a work out at home, or anything. I always tend to use that then my time to stretch afterwards just to kind of make me… because your bodies nice and warm

Dan:                                            Exactly.

Sarah:                                        Yes, I find that’s the best time to do it too.

Dan:                                            Yeah.

Sarah:                                        So I would concur.

Dan:                                            I think like even though it’s not, with my shoulder workouts for example, even though they’re not specifically designed as a pole shoulder strengthening workout, I think they’re definitely helped in the sense of they’re just sort of like made sure that the strength is being built up in the whole shoulder. Because I work all parts of the shoulder. And I noticed my shoulder isn’t as injured as much like. Sometimes when I was training pole, I found my shoulder would be a bit achy. My right shoulder, I injured years and years ago, and I got it to a really good point. Every now and then it will niggle and I’m like, “Oh! Okay!” And I just back straight off of it because I’m so paranoid of like re-injuring it.

Sarah:                                        You don’t want to muck it up.

Dan:                                            Exactly. So I do find that things like that are super important. Yeah, no. It’s mainly just … it’s how it made my shoulders is probably in the gym if anything. And just telling your body that, I guess.

Sarah:                                        I’m going to do it too so I can stand in my pants and look like Daniel Rosen.

Dan:                                            Yeah.

Sarah:                                        Do you have any parting wisdom to give to the Susans that may be listening before I let you go?

Dan:                                            Not really, I think we’ve covered most of it. But like, I don’t know. If you have-

Sarah:                                        Make sure you follow Dan!

Dan:                                            Yeah, make sure you follow me bitches! Yeah, if you have any questions for me, please message me on Dear Dan. You [have to start your message with Dear Dan, I just will not reply to you. No I do, really. But yeah, just drop me a message on Instagram and ask me any questions that you have. But yeah, no, keep training and like most of the things that you are doing, most of the questions can just be answered with more training and more dedication really. Just keep yourself dedicated to the pole and everything will keep going the way you want it to go.

Sarah:                                        Everything will work out for the best!

Dan:                                            Yes! But message me on Instagram, my Instagram is @DanRosenPole or I’m on Facebook, Daniel Rosen Pole Artist. Yeah, just like find me and find my stupid videos that I post all the time because I have nothing better to do.

Sarah:                                        Well we love them. Thank you for coming on and sharing your knowledge with us. It’s been great talking to the Mother of Susans!

Dan:                                            It’s been great speaking to you!

Sarah:                                        Cheers, doll! Speak to you soon!

Dan:                                            Bye love!

Sarah:                                        Bye!