In 2005 I noticed that there was a pole dancing, dance competition due to take place in Hammersmith, London. I bought tickets for myself and my sister to go to watch the show. We were intrigued to see what they could do, especially as a few months earlier I wondered how I could pole dance without having to work in a lap dancing club. I researched on the internet and there was nowhere to learn how to pole dance in Cardiff, or Wales!
The show was brilliant; it inspired us to want to do it! Of course 10 years ago they were performing fabulous tricks & skills but nothing on the level they are doing today. The hardest move I remember was a lady climbed to the top of the pole and slid down very fast head first. It shocked the ordinance & us. Now performers are doing circus-style moves which you need to be very strong & flexible to accomplish.
I arrived back home beaming, with my brain working overtime. How can I do this? How can I teach this? How can I set this up?
Over the next few weeks I searched high and low on the newly Google website search engine. I contacted pole dance companies in the UK that were already set up. There were not many and they were all located in London or other areas in England. Most did not reply to me apart from one so I asked the question ‘does your pole school teach people how to teach so that I can teach it in Cardiff’. One London Company finally replied and said I could teach for their company in Cardiff but they were asking me to gain experience first! I was back to square one so I looked into a different angle. I searched for pole dancing poles for sale. Back then there was no such thing as the famous company X-pole which sells our professional poles of today. I found a metal company called Metalfast which sold one piece poles and I ordered one. It arrived so I arranged for a friend to fix it in my bedroom, by doing this he drilled a hole through my ceiling & put it up best he could lol. I turned my room into a dance room. I mirrored the walls and laminated the floor. I was ready to go but I still did not know where to start on how to pole dance so I then researched on Google again, typed in .COM, which scanned a wider search and it led me to a DVD from America that teaches pole dancing, BINGO!
The DVD arrived, I was well away. I started learning the simple moves at first. I took pictures and showed my friends from Canton. Some were very supportive. Then my sister became interested so we both used to practice together and challenge each-other. Finally we got to an intermediate level of pole dancing so I got back in touch with the London firm and this time had my sister on tow. They booked a date for us to visit, train and stay with them. It was a great weekend.
Buzzing with ideas when we arrived back in Cardiff, we began to email and pop into local venues to see if we could get this started up on behalf of the London company. People did not take us seriously. They implied, ‘you want to teach lap dancing’, etc, It was a little off putting and made us feel small but I had a dream & a goal, and nothing or nobody was going to put me down or stop us! However the knock backs were hard, even off some close family and friends. I remember somebody saying, ‘it will never work’.
A few weeks passed, then Inncognitos in central Cardiff, on Park Place were happy for us to run the classes upstairs. Yay!! We got the ball rolling. The London company sent us the poles after we got the measurements and soon the courses and parties started flowing. We taught for 2 years in the small room at Inncognito’s which only managed to fit two poles. Somewhere in the back of my mind I kept reminding myself of my original goal and dream.
We decided it was time to do this on our own and for ourselves. We contacted the London Company and explained that we wanted to set up our own business but were happy to continue teaching for them. They were ok with this for the time being due to our honesty, plus they knew from the start this was always on the cards.
Thinking of the name for our company at my parents’ house didn’t take too long. We thought of things relating to spinning, twisting, etc. including Twisted Sisters. We originally called our company Welsh Mobile Pole but after a few months we decided to alter the name. POLE TWISTERS was invented in July 2007
6 weeks after, I gave birth to my son! Starting a new business was challenging, but with a newborn, even more. Looking back, I do not know how I did it. I suppose I wanted to still be me and prove that even if you become a mother your life doesn’t stop, it just changes.
Six months passed and the London Company made us an ultimatum. Of course we decided to keep our own business going. By this time Carla also decided to give in her notice to her full time office job(with my prompting lol) to concentrate and put her all into Pole Twisters. It was all systems go! We located a larger pole dance studio and started running classes in Passion on city road. This was going great., more poles, more space and more people. Another year passed and we needed more time slots however Passion could not offer us any more slots.
Getting a venue
We had been hiring Inncognitos and Passion on City Road for some time and we needed more hours. They could not accommodate. We started to look at estate agents for commercial properties, viewing some online & went to visit some. Most places the ceilings were not suitable. Also we needed parking. I noticed an industrial unit for rent in Splott near the Magic Roundabout which is well known & close to the city centre. We viewed Unit 5 first. Wow! I was in love! I wanted it!!! But it was too big and too expensive. Then the estate agent quickly showed us next door, Unit 4. We both agreed it would be perfect. It had lots of different separate rooms and one large one. Our heads started working overtime. Over the next few weeks we decided we wanted it, applied and got a loan, the recession was in full swing but we decided to take a chance and obtain a £25,000 loan from the bank, WTF lol!! We needed a new ceiling put in and x19 brand new poles (the upstairs studio, smaller room and large room) as well as equipment, painting and more. We had to fork solicitor fees, landlord fees, the first 3 months rent, which was an expensive chunk and paid a few other things before getting in & having our very own set of keys. We had one month’s rent free so we could set up the place. Carla & I painted every room. Even at times Carla’s young son & my baby were there. We were juggling motherhood into all of this! We moved furniture in, purchased the poles, had a ceiling made in our large dance studio. Looking back now it was a whirlwind.
Up to date the place looks better than ever! We have had so much custom and it continues to grow. At least one of your friends has heard of Pole Twisters now if you live in Cardiff.
I think we were the only business to start and open a dance studio in an industrial estate at that time. When I look now, I notice many other pole dance schools, gyms and dance companies have followed suit… proud moment.
After a year of running, we had to come up with new plans fast though as pole dancing lessons, parties and courses started to open everywhere, plus we noticed it wasn’t as popular as it first started. Also customers had more choice on different places to go. We couldn’t up our prices too high as it was the recession, even though we boast the best school with the most poles, detailed course structures and certificates. We had other companies hiring our dance studios but it wasn’t enough. We had to find £1000 each month to pay our rent alone. Carla came up with the idea of other dance themed Hen parties at our studios which got us though and helped keep Pole Twisters’ bills at bay…. just.
We have employed a lot of staff, from part time to adhoc or self-employed. We have over 300 plus those are still working for us or have worked for us. We have a lovely team of people helping to keep this business run tip top, so we thank you with all our hearts for this!
Years passed & we had to borrow money from our mother. We were behind on rent and wondered why we were working so many hours without not getting paid ☹
There were so many knock backs it was unbelievable. So many bills to pay, insurances, licences… it was drowning. We pressed on and on. The thing that kept us going was the praise we had from our customers, friends and family. Then the last two years we started to see some progress… We were slowly noticing that we were achieving the goals we had written down on our check list.
When we set up we sat up most nights till early hours of the morning writing up our very own unique course structures. So unique that all over, pole schools did not offer all x8 stages of different levels. They have been changed over the years twice and hopefully they are now spot on and will remain like this as we now have them perfect. Fingers crossed anyway lol
Events & Competitions
In between all this we hosted a brilliant event at Lava Lounge in central Cardiff. The night was a huge success with many people coming to watch the show. We had pole dancers, burlesque performers, an exotic dance show, naked butlers, ice luges and more. We later held another three shows. One being in the Millennium Music Hall, another in the Casino down the bay and the last one in the Ladybird Lounge. The performances and our event planning improved and were spot on with the whole event being a lot more professional. It was a lot of hard work however. The more shows we did, the less money we made, so have held the odd event at our studio afterwards to keep hire costs down which made things easier by not having to lug the heavy equipment around. We have run two pole dancing competitions at our studio for our staff and instructors. We have the footage on YouTube and pictures on our Facebook page or group.
Time was passing by and we needed to make some more money to stay afloat. We now had car loans to pay off as well as our loan and other bills/debts. We decided to think about offering entertainment for the males. We came up with many cool unique ideas including mud wrestling, eat me or drink me (food or drink platter on a girl), sexy waitresses, amongst other ideas. At first it was slow to start but now we are covering all over the UK and have over 200 plus beautiful, professional and well-spoken girls on our books. Since we started this side of the business about 5 years ago, other companies have copied and followed suit, not only doing the same, but charging less and even stoop as low as having similar designed websites and wordings. Nevertheless, we are still doing very well and get a lot of amazing feedback and referrals. This has no doubt kept the pole dancing studio going!
Hens across the UK
Then we decided to offer hens parties all over the UK, not just at our studio in Cardiff, providing our entertainment too. So now even if you are in Scotland, London or over in Dublin, Twisted Hen & Stag Parties will get the party started and make it one to remember.
At times it has been so hard. We get constant phone calls, emails and Facebook messages, even on our personal accounts at unsociable times. Even on our days off, there are no such thing!
Also when we are ill, at a wedding or have lost a family member and needed to work on these businesses in the day as rarely no-one could cover us, so it has pushed us and our stress levels to our limits! Over time we have improved our managerial roles, have learnt how to deal with things better, to try to not take last minute bookings and be as best prepared as we can to avoid complication.
We now have a fantastic day PA who has helped us out tremendously. Wish we could have afforded someone sooner!
We also have a great team of lovelies. Pole Twisters Team rule!!!! ;-)
I really hope you enjoyed the read and now have knowledge of our companies. We have lots of exciting plans to move us bigger and better but for now we are happy and its ticking on by.... 8 years on!!!
Written by Lisa Marie Broughton
This last two weeks at Pole Twisters have been jam packed with plenty of pole jams and mixed ability sessions running throughout the week from Monday to Thursdays. It's been absolutely fab to see so such a fantastic turnout over this month, despite the winter cold setting in making us all want nothing more than to stay in bed and keep cosy (thankfully our studios are nice and warm, and exercise is a perfect way to get endorphin's going to keep the winter blues away – just saying!)
Some new developments this week - we're now offering pole jams on Saturday mornings! We know that not everyone is able to fit evening classes around work and family life and it can be hard to find the time to squeeze in that extra training, so you can now book onto a Saturday morning session through the Pole Twisters website! How exciting! They won't run every week but keep an eye out for dates on the drop-down menu on our website.
We had a new beginner's course start on Tuesdays and a few private lesson bookings last Saturday. There is still availability for some more 1-2-1 slots should anyone like to book on for some individual tutoring to help work on whatever you feel you need to improve in your pole practice. We have spaces lots of time slots available, just visit our private lessons page on our website and use the drop-down to select your day and time.
This Thursday at 7:45pm we have a beginners pole fitness taster session for those who are interested in taking up pole fitness priced at £10, which will act as an introduction to pole with some simple beginner moves. Spaces available, book online.
For those who may be interested, Upside Down Circus in Cardiff are running a 3 week introduction course in Chinese Pole at their new training space at the Tremorfa Industrial Estate. We wrote a blog post dedicated to the art of Chinese Pole a few months ago, and a lot of modern pole moves are borrowed or adapted from this discipline. It's also quite rare to find classes in this particular circus skill and so it may definitely be worth checking out to experience the differences between the two similar but very different styles of pole.
It's looking like it's going to be another busy week for us! Don't forget that all sessions are subject to the amount of pre-bookings we get so in order for your favourite classes to run on the days and times you want be sure to make you booking asap through the Pole Twisters website!
See you all in the studio!
Hi all! As the temperature begins to drop and we head into winter, it can be easy for us to feel less motivated to leave the cosiness of home to go out and train, but we at Pole Twisters have plenty going on in the coming months to keep you inspired and lots of opportunities to come train with us!
This week at Pole Twisters we've had yet another new beginner's pole course commencing on Mondays, as well as Tuesdays and another on Wednesdays! The response to our student offer was amazing and so we've had lots of new faces joining us over the last month to begin their Stage 1!
Last week we had a stage 2 pole course commence on Thursdays. There are still some spaces available on Stage 2 and so if anyone would like to join on from week 2 that is doable!
Our newest instructors are continuing to do an amazing job in their training. Both of them have been teaching classes under our supervision and are shaping up to be amazing, helpful and talented teachers! We couldn't be prouder!
The directors attended a few exciting workshops running over last month at Dance Fitness hosted by KT Wilds Vertical Dance, including a sexy floorwork session which was really well attended and everyone had a fab time!
We even got a bit festive for Halloween and had a dress up day where our students came in costume for training! We love to make things fun and interesting so having a fancy dress day is a great way to have a laugh while we train.
We've also had plenty of pole jams which run Monday to Thursday subject to availability and some Saturday mornings, where anyone can book in to practise and play for just £4! A perfect opportunity to learn some new tricks and combinations from other students and get in some extra quality pole time between normal classes.
Mixed ability Wednesday classes are currently running at 8:30pm each week, but other days are subject to bookings so in order to ensure the session runs at your desired time and day please be sure to pre-book on our website!
We'd like to thank everyone who took advantage of our half price student offer this month and signed on to our 6 week beginners courses! We love seeing new faces and it's been lovely to see so many freshers taking up pole as a new hobby. There are still spaces available on some of our beginner's courses which run evenings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and are bookable online!
If you missed out on our amazing offer this time around, be sure follow Pole Twisters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with any future deals we may have on offer!
This week saw one of our main instructors, Holly taking a well deserved break from teaching in order to go travelling! We'd all like to wish her safe travels and can't wait to hear about her adventures when she gets back. In the meantime, the Thursday beginners course was taken over by our new trainee instructor Hannah, who we introduced you to in last week's blog. With myself over looking the class, Hannah absolutely aced it and has proven herself to be a helpful, efficient and talented instructor.
We also had a lot of fun at our stage 9 class this week, teaching some new advanced moves to some of our more experienced students as well as our mixed ability class for all levels! We love watching our students grow and learn as they progress through each of our stages and it makes us so proud to witness our students from different levels all in one class learning from and helping one another and developing together.
We have another class full of beginners starting next week as well as more training for our new instructors and we can't wait to update you on how those turn out!
Have an amazing week and we'll see you all at the studio! xx
This week we ran the first session of a new beginners 6 week course along with a taster session for yet another group of newbies. It was taught by our wonderful instructor Holly, and it was also the first shadow training session for our new instructor Hannah, how exciting! We're thrilled to have her as a part of the Pole Twisters family and can't wait to see how she progresses with her teacher training, we're certain that she's going to make an amazing instructor.
We also ran our mixed ability class which was taught by us for change! It's quite rare that we get to actually teach any more due to the pair of us being so busy on the admin side of running Pole Twisters but we always love having the opportunity to go back to where it all started, with us simply teaching pole classes.
Speaking of opportunities, following on from last week's blog, we are now running a HALF PRICE offer on our six-week beginner's pole dancing courses to all students with a valid NUS card, or proof of their enrollment! Our courses are available Mon-Friday evenings and you'll pay £30 for six one-hour classes (that's just £5 a lesson!) at our studio on Broadway in Cardiff. Grab yourself an amazing offer and a fun freshers activity asap! To redeem this offer visit http://www.poletwisters.co.uk/special-offers . Why not spread the word and persuade some friends to come with you? We can't think of a better way to bond with your new course mates than learning a new skill and sweating it out together!
For those who aren't students, we're still looking for some fresh new faces on our beginners courses and welcome you to come take part too! Pole is a fantastic way to get fit, learn a new skill, and make some new friends so what better time to take the plunge and go for it than now?
Firstly we'd like to give a big warm welcome to our two new pole teachers Hannah and Lottie! We're so excited to be welcoming them into the Pole Twisters family after new teaching positions opening up with us recently, and can't wait for you guys to meet them! With all the recent changes we've been going through, we'd also love to thank all of our students for being to patient with us during this transitional time.
This week the two of us got to take part in a pole and floor-work workshop, followed by a pole tricks workshop taught by a talented instructor Miss Abby Claydon! We had an absolute blast as well as an amazing workout in which our strength, stamina and flexibility were put to the test in the most fun way possible! KT Wild runs regular workshops so keep an eye on our Facebook group and page for regular workshop class updates.
Also both Carla & Lisa occasionally like to pop into Pole Twisters classes to see how you students are getting along and always enjoy having a try of the moves and getting to experience what our students get up to! It makes us so proud to see the standard and quality of our teacher's work being so high and up to par with our expectations.
We're also on the look out for some fresh new faces to take part in our Stage 1 beginner courses and we're appealing to you guys to help by recommending us to your friends! With September bringing about the start of a new academic year and an influx of students moving to Cardiff, we think it would be amazing if you guys could suggest us to your student friends as a perfect way to meet new people and as a fun freshers activity! Plus, did you know you receive 10% discount if you recommend a friend? Even more reason to tell your friends about us and get them to book onto one of our fabulous courses. What better way to settle in to a new city than by making some like-minded friends while you work out and picking up a new skill and hobby whilst you're at it?
Our stage 1 beginners courses run throughout the week depending on demand and availability but there is the option to pick a time and day that suits you best on our website drop-down. Classes need a minimum of 4x students in order to go ahead, which means the more of your friends that you can rope in to come, the more likely it is for the sessions to run on your desired day! You can book your sessions quick and easy on the Pole Twisters website, and you even get a certificate and optional photo shoot on completion of the course!
We hope to see you guys there!
Specifically, exploring the difference between Chinese pole and modern day pole dancing. There are huge similarities between these two art forms, and the former of the two actually dates back around two thousand years! As modern day pole dancing has evolved and developed, it's borrowed a lot of technique and moves from it's older ancestor due to the fact that the apparatus is very similar. Although at face value they may appear to be almost the same thing, they are actually very different!
Nowadays you are likely to see the Chinese pole being performed at shows like Cirque Du Soleil, where groups of performers will climb, drop and even somersault around on an apparatus made up of several vertical poles, but there is also a long and interesting history behind it.
As you may have noticed, the two practices have a lot in common, but also a lot of notable differences, such as the fact that Chinese pole has been primarily practiced by men historically. In fact, many male athletes such as wrestlers and martial artists used pole as a way of training! We all know that pole is a great way of developing strength, flexibility and stamina and so it makes perfect sense. It's fascinating to discover that whilst pole today is often associated primarily with women and exotic dance, it's ancient roots are based with men and things like wrestling!
There are also finer differences in what is possible on each kind of pole. For example, the Chinese pole is often multiple times higher than a standard pole – often between 10 and 30 feet high! This is to allow for a wider range of moves such as drops and acrobatics which just aren't possible on shorter poles with less space. These kinds of poles are also coated in rubber to provide grip, and in order to prevent friction burns it is important to cover the skin and wear more clothes, the complete opposite of what you would wear pole dancing! Chinese pole routines are also often performed in groups, as the practice has also been adopted as a circus art in the modern day and is regularly included in circus performances.
So here was a quick history lesson about an ancient practice that has massively influenced what we do on the pole today! Both beautiful and fascinating in their own right, we are excited to see what other circus arts may go in to influence pole in the future. We are already seeing developments happening which merge together aspects of aerial dance, such as poles with silks attached to the top, or the “lollipop lyra” which is a pole with an aerial hoop attached to the top creating an interesting blend of the two. We can't wait to see what these developments will make possible!