Kate and Varie talk about the South West Amateur Pole Championship

Posted: May 23 2012

It's the first edition of the South West Amateur Pole Championship this weekend and we talk to event organisers Kate Johnstone and Varie Anderson to find out more...

1.Tell us more about the South West Amateur Pole Championships? How and why did you start the event?
Kate - SWAPC was started in 2012. We felt that the loss of UKAPP this year left a huge gap and we had a number of students who still wanted to compete. We wanted to make sure that there was a solid, professional competition they could enter that allowed them the chance to do this!

2.What’s it all about? Where will it all take place, who’s taking part and what can we expect to see?
Kate - The Grand Final is being held on Saturday the 26th of May in Bristol at the Redgrave Theatre. There are 6 competitors in the beginners category and 8 in the intermediate and advanced. You can expect to see some incredible pole performances from our amateurs and a few special guest performances from Sarah Scott and Bendy Kate. 

3.How and did you first get interested in pole dancing and what made you become an instructor/performer?
Kate - I started pole dancing about 4 years ago when a close friend of mine who was taught at Bobbi's in Oz encouraged me to try - I fell in love with it!  

Varie - I started taking pole classes around 5.5 years ago and it totally changed my life - it made me more confident in every part of my life.  I decided to move into instructing, and later performing, as I wanted to share that with other people and hopefully inspire them and help them improve their confidence.

4.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
Kate - I love the challenge of constantly learning new skills and the fact that the sport is still growing and developing all the time.  

Varie - I love the sense of confidence it gives me about my body.  I used to be so self-conscious but now I am proud of my body for what I have achieved with it, rather than worrying so much about what I look like!

5.What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
Kate - Shoulder Mount, Sailors and any form of Knee Hold  

Varie - shoulder mount because its one of my main strengths, chinese grip somersaults and cartwheels because they scare me but are fun, and electric leg switch because they're fun!

6.What are the main fitness benefits of pole dancing and how has pole dancing improved your fitness, strength or body shape?
Kate - after kickboxing for a number of years I wanted a sport that would keep my body strong and conditioned - I found that pole gave me that! 

Varie - pole is AMAZING for building strength - before starting I barely had a muscle in my body!  My stomach is flatter and more toned, and my waist is tighter.

7.What’s your favourite move for strength training on the pole?
Kate - I dont think you can beat a shoulder mount - its an arms, abs and all over exercise and requires strength, power and control.  

Varie - definitely shoulder mount!  I make all of my classes do shoulder mount drills.

8.What pole performers do you admire or inspire you?
Kate - I love Tracey Simmonds, Oona Kivela, Jenyne Butterfly, Sarah Scott and Bendy Kate - anybody that really has developed their own style is new and innovative. 

Varie - Jenyne Butterfly is my all time favourite - she manages to execute ridiculously hard tricks with style and elegance as if they were as easy as breathing!

9.If someone has never tried pole dancing before how would you advise them they to get started? 
Kate - I would say find out whats going on in your area, lessons, jams, practice sessions - try and get a pole at home to practice on and there are also a number of great DVDs on the market - the more teachers you have and the more you train the better you will get!  

Varie - I think its really valuable to go to a class to get started, mainly because there you have someone telling you what to expect and keep you motivated when its tough!  Its also a fantastic way of making new friends.  That said, not everyone can get to a class, in which case there are loads of fab DVDs out there to get you started.  Its worth having a chat with people on the pole forums to get some advice as well.

10.What’s next for you in the coming year?
Kate - I have just started writing instructor training courses for Pole and Aerial Hoop - as I really want to focus on teacher training and development. I am also going to be teaching at the International Pole and Aerial Arts Convention and working with Pole Sports UK. 

Varie - I am trying to get more into the performing side of things in pole and aerial silks so I'm going to be training like mad for the next year.

11. What are your hopes for the pole dancing scene/industry in the UK for 2012?
Kate - that we can begin to work together more as a community. Although there are different styles and approaches to pole fitness, working together can only help move the industry forwards.  

Varie - same as Kate!  I think the community being so fragmented is holding pole back!  Not to say that everyone has to agree on everything, but learn to work together and accept different points of views.

Find out more about the South West Amateur Pole Championship here











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