TEAM XPERT ON TOUR: The Pole WKND by Lottie Sanders

Welcome back to the XPERT blog, the one stop shop destination on this little corner of the XPERT website where we get to discuss all things teaching, training, behind the scenes and more! Today is a very special edition of the blog and I’m super excited to talk about this. Somehow, we are already halfway through the year, and pole and aerial event
season is well underway over here in the UK. With the warmer weather brings forward more and more glorious competitions, showcases, and more opportunities to bring our wonderful community together. I’m here today to talk about the most recent fixture on the pole event calendar which I was lucky enough to have a front row, all access pass for: The Pole WKND.

Masterminded by pole industry organisational legends Stacey Snedden and Jade Bensilum, The Pole WKND has made a very welcome comeback to the UK scene. The event was everything a pole dance enthusiast could dream of – workshops (both free and paid for), seminars, vendors, showcases, and an opportunity to spend time with your very best pole pals in a fantastic setting. As I walked around the impressive space that is The Cresset in Peterborough, a now well-known venue for all things pole in the UK, I was taken aback by how much thought had gone into the creation of this event. With large spaces devoted to floor-based workshops, curtained off areas housing X-Stage poles, dedicated areas for vendors and a comfortable, accessible viewing area for spectators of the showcase, it was abundantly clear this event was in the hands of professionals. Upon arrival, each attendee was greeted with a smile and a goodybag, and an impressive printed list of what they could get up to throughout the day.

The Workshops – There was a real buzz of excitement in the air for the wide array of workshops available on the day. From a kick-starter Flexibility Flow workshop at the start of the day, to floor choreographies, to on the pole workshops covering everything from dancing your heart out to doubles tricks, safe to say there was something for absolutely every pole dancer, no matter
your favourite style.

As I journeyed around the venue to explore and observe the many offerings, what struck me was just how much fun everyone was having. Not only was the style of the workshops on offer just the ticket, but also, the choice of teachers was impeccable too. The emphasis at this event not only was about providing variety, but also quality. It became pretty clear to anyone paying
attention that the hand-picked instructor choices made by the organisers had paid off. And how often is it that these star instructors are all under one roof, in one day? I can answer that one for you – it’s extremely rare.

The Seminars – another exciting element to The Pole WKND was the seminars available for free throughout the day. As we all know, pole and aerial can actually be quite tiring (who knew!), so providing a space where ticket- holders could still get bang-for-their-buck without having to physically haul themselves up a pole was a welcome complimentary add on throughout the
Having found some time to sit in on a seminar or two throughout the day, it became affirmed to me that a very special part of pole and aerial is not just what we do up the pole, but the human element. An amazing part of our community is the different people who make it up, and the different perspectives they are able to bring to the table. In my opinion, these seminars provided an opportunity to get to know your pole stars in a totally different light, and really delve into their specialist topics.

The Vendors – now, if there’s one thing I certainly can’t resist (and I’m sure the same goes for many other pole dancers), it’s a well-stocked, pole dedicated stall. I really loved the way that this was all laid out – instead of room after room to get lost in, the stalls were incorporated into the layout of the main auditorium. This meant whilst catching one of the many showcases going on throughout the day, you were also able to nab a bargain from one of the many brands on offer. Nestled in the corner with the wide array of shopping opportunities on display,
was an aerial playground sponsored by X-POLE which I couldn’t resist having a little go on – honestly, I could just hang out in an aerial sling all day long.
Safe to say, there really was something for everyone!

The Showcases – for me, this was one of the most special parts of The Pole WKND. With a variety of categories available, the showcases were open to anyone who wanted to apply prior to the show. The way the shows were organised was well thought out and considered – and the vibe backstage was excellent. Throughout the day, I struck up conversation with several participants of the weekend (after all, as the writer of this blog I felt it would be important to see what people had to say). The overall sentiment was overwhelmingly positive. One person I spoke to voiced how special it was to get up on a ‘big, proper stage’ without the pressure of competition, and how grateful they were to be able to share their talent with an audience. Another
showcase participant voiced how well looked after they were by the team, and how despite being on a large stage the whole atmosphere simply felt like performing to friends.
In my opinion, The Pole WKND provided a unique opportunity for performers to get up and show off their talent without the rules of a competitive environment, and I believe it brought out the very best in people. There were jaw-dropping, emotive pieces, impromptu freestyles, mesmerising group pieces, gloriously flowy routines and everything in between. Every time I was able to set foot into the auditorium, there was something totally different on display from one of the many unique participants, and it was a real joy to behold.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that The Pole WKND was a resounding success and I feel so honoured to have been a part of this event. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this exciting venture, and you should certainly be keeping an eye out, too!