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
Some of our lovely students completed their Stage 2 pole course and we couldn't be prouder! We also ran our ever popular mixed ability sessions where some of our more experienced twisters got to show off their super strength with some new and challenging moves.
Some lovely ladies popped around for a Dancehall session with our professional dance teacher. It's always so great to see our students feel confident, sexy and powerful while they're dancing and having fun!
Coming up in the next seven days, we have a six week beginners course due to start where some brand new students will be starting their pole journey!
Our Flexy & Stretch sessions are back and available to book for Mon, Tues & Wednesday at 8pm. No pole experience needed! Come get stretchy with us as we spend an hour going through some flexibility training and yoga moves – perfect for training those annoying splits!
Have a great week everyone, and hopefully we'll see you at the studio!
If you haven't already, why not try out our pole classes? Pole is a fantastic way to get strong and toned, whilst also gaining confidence and feeling sexy. You don't need to be strong or super fit to start classes either! We teach absolute beginners all the way up to stage 10 through our structured program.
If you fancy taking the plunge and trying out a new skill, you can book into our 1 hour taster class which runs Monday to Wednesdays at 6pm, 7pm or 8pm.
We also offer street dance classes designed for adults! Learn a new routine each week with styles ranging from hip-hop, shuffle, and commercial in these weekly 1 hour classes. A perfect way of getting some cardio in and burning fat whilst having fun, and also suitable for beginners as the moves will all be broken down and explained or modified for more experienced dancers. Wednesdays 7-8pm.
Twerk and Dancehall
If you'd like to try a different style of dance, why not try our twerk and dancehall class? These hip-rocking, booty-popping, crowd-stopping, up & coming new weekly fitness/dance classes will introduce you to using your body in ways you may not be used to, and muscles you may not have known you even had. You'll be surprised by how much of a work out this class is! (You can read about our experience taking the class in last week's blog post!)
You can come and shake yo thing with us on Wednesdays 6-7, right before our street dance classes. Wanna do both classes back to back? Double your fun for an extra £2.50
Lastly but not least, another alternative way of getting fit and gaining confidence is through our burlesque private lessons! Taught by Flossie Smalls or another great performer, this lesson will guide you through the basics of burlesque and the art of tease. Come channel your inner showgirl, gain body confidence and learn a routine with us! Props are provided, but why not dress up too?
For information on booking your workshop, contact us or refer to our website.
My journey into the world of pole dancing was through a very good and extremely persuasive friend who saw a Groupon offer and thought it would be fun and a brilliant way to get fit and learn something new.
It was with some trepidation that we arrived at our first lesson. Whilst the first lesson was really enjoyable I suffered for the next couple of days as my arms ached so much I could hardly lift them. However we preserved and came back for the second and subsequent weeks. As the weeks passed my aches and pains largely passed and we learnt so much the frog princess, the sun wheel, the chair to name but a few. Each week I could feel my muscles getting used to supporting my weight and my confidence grew. Then came the "upside down" week and this is an area I've really struggled with. All the instructors were really helpful and patient with me and eventually I cracked it and literally turned my world upside down.
While I'm still not as good as some of the girls on my course the other girls have been very supportive and really encouraging. We've had a lot of fun in class and have occasionally dissolved into laughter when one of us has ended up in a heap on the floor unable to move due to the amount we are laughing at our mishap. It's been just over a year since I started on this adventure and I have almost completed level 8, I can't believe I've got this far.
I'm so glad that I kept going as I've learned a lot about my abilities and I've surprised quite a few friends and colleagues who initially had no idea that at the age of 43 I'd taken up pole dancing. would recommend this as a method to get fit? Yes I would it's an excellent way to improve your all round fitness. I've discovered muscle groups I didn't know I had and that's quite impressive as I've been a member of the gym on and off for years. I have throughly enjoyed learning to pole dance and would certainly recommend pole dancing as its s really good experience regardless of how easy or hard you find the different moves.
I have attended 3x pole strengthening classes already and I love every moment of it! I love the fact I have become stronger, working my abs and core and I can now hold more pole variations for longer. Most important I see a lot more body definition! We also have a great laugh with the girls at the classes which makes it a lot of fun and at the same time achieve a great workout! I will definitely recommend to my friends!
By student - Afroditi - 31/03/16
Being a judge on Saturday 12th March 2016 for Welsh Dragon University Pole Competition was an amazing experience.
Welsh Dragon University Competition was made up of competitors from Cardiff University, Swansea University and Bangor University.
There were 3 levels - Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced, along side a Doubles category as well.
The competition was extremely high and all contestants had fantastic techniques for their levels and I could really see some of the girls from the advanced category going into becoming a professional competitor at Pole.
The organisers for the event were brilliant and always kept you up to date leading up to the event with weekly emails and the event was very well organised and everything went to plan and like clockwork during the competition.
It's definitely something that I would do again and judge more competitions.
It's exciting that Pole Sport is now being recognised as a sport and this is the first year that is will be in the Varsity University Sport.
It makes me proud to have been in this industry for so long and now have people's views change and appreciate it as a physical sport.