Dance School Raises Money for Local Hospice

The thought of pole dancing probably doesn’t bring the most charitable images to mind for many people.  For the students of Swansea’s Pole Pride, located in the Circadian Fitness Dance Studio, however, giving back to their community is important.

Last year the group held two Pole Pride Showcases to raise funds for the Tŷ Olwen Trust, a hospice facility for Swansea’s Morriston Hospital. The 12th May showcase raised £700, while the 16th December event brought in £1000.

While there may be some unappealing undertones to the sport, pole fitness has become an activity recognized for its ability to increase flexibility, overall strength and endurance, as well as leading to greater confidence and body awareness for those involved.

Pole dancing is traditionally associated with strip clubs where the pole is used as more of a prop. The recent pole fitness trend, though, is quite acrobatic and athletic, involving spins, climbs and body inversions which are used to grip the pole. This means rigorous training is needed to attain proficiency. Schools and teachers with recognized qualifications are now common.

Pole Pride has offered instruction in the field since 2007. Teacher Dawn Roberts has been a fitness professional for over 11 years and a Pole Dance Community (PDC) approved instructor for over six years. Roberts says that the students and instructors gave their time freely to organise the event.

The Tŷ Olwen Trust was founded in 1981 and is named for Mrs. J.T. Olwen Morgan, who worked to raise the £500,000 necessary to build the facility. The hospice “offers a tranquil setting for the care of patients and their families” and has 20 in-patient beds, outpatient, teaching and counselling facilities and a day care centre.

They work with patients suffering from cancer and other life limiting diseases by providing “amenities, equipment, services and facilities” not usually given by the NHS. The trust also offers services to the families and dependents of its patients and support and promote research into the causes and treatment of the diseases they work with.

Roberts’ favorite moments of the evening were when one of their male instructors performed in disguise “so everyone was thrilled when they realised who it was,”  and burlesque legend Lilly Laudanum acting as mistress of ceremonies in her Dame Barbara Cartland character.

Pole Pride did most of the publicity through word of mouth; students sold tickets to friends and family so they could watch them perform. Roberts says they also handed out information at local fitness events.

For Roberts the planning process was “hectic, with so many things to sort,” but spreading the duties around took some of the pressure off any one individual.

“My advice? Delegate! Give different people tasks and make sure they have a time frame to do them in,” she offers.