The exercise+dance Weekend has been a big favourite in the Potters break calendar for almost a decade, with a host of enjoyable sessions covering aerobic and aqua fitness, as well as general conditioning and combat classes as part of a highly energised fun-filled weekend.
Among a host of brilliant classes and larger than life expert instructors on the break, some of the most sought-after classes are the Pole Fitness Taster Sessions, run by one of the UK’s leading pole sports advocates, Kathy Buller. Her sessions are specially-designed to introduce the sport and show people how to work safely on the pole, while having lots of fun.
Kathy has a highly diverse range of dance experience and qualifications, but she is most renowned for her company Pole Fusion which began in Norwich in 2003 and has helped develop Pole Dancing into an accessible and acceptable form of exercise for everyone. She has been president of Pole Sports UK and is also a fully-qualified International Pole Sports Judge.
She was certainly full of her usual combination of fun, energy and passion for exercise and dance when we caught up with her for a chat.
How much do you enjoy the exercise+dance Weekend at Potters?
I absolutely adore it and it is one of the highlights of my year with great people, fantastic presenters, wonderful classes. It’s a beautiful Resort with amazing food.
What is Pole Fusion?
Pole Fusion is a fitness, pole and aerial Studio. We teach a variety of fitness classes such as deep stretch, Armageddon and dance crazy, together with pole and aerial hoop courses. We actively encourage everyone to try our fun and effective classes, regardless of shape, size or gender.
What are the benefits of pole fusion?
We focus our classes on being effective and fun. Pole Classes specifically make you use your body weight to help you attach and spin, as a beginner, around a vertical pole. You are working against the forces of the spin, centripetal force and also the downward pull of gravity. Your body therefore has an amazing functional workout using virtually every muscle. The physical results speak for themselves with students achieving a more toned physique, however alongside the muscular strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular training, you also see gains in confidence and self-belief. There are not many people who turn themselves upside down every day!
At what age did you first start taking exercise and dance seriously?
When I was five. It was a dream to dance on a stage and, through my dance teacher Jo Raven, I achieved this in the local theatre on Britannia Pier (Great Yarmouth). I continued to dance in to my teens, however school managed to get in the way and dance became less of a priority. By the time I was 16 and not dancing, I became overweight and therefore decided to go to my local exercise studio. I fell in love with the dance style fitness that was going on in the 80s and at the age of 17 I became one of the youngest people in the UK to take the first Exercise to Music qualifications. I have never looked back.
Why is fitness and dance so important for people to do?
Life is not a dress rehearsal, it is to be lived to the fullest. By embarking on any form of dance or fitness you will be improving your cardiovascular health, and also shape and tone your body. This means your muscles, joints, bones and internal organs are all active and functioning as they should be. By ensuring you do some form of exercise and dance means your body remains healthy. When a person reaches 40, exercise becomes even more important. If you exercise, you are investing in your future. You will live longer and keep your independence for many more years to come.
What is your favourite style of dance?
I’m going to have to say all of them! I genuinely love all forms of dance, but if you twist my arm then contemporary dance on a pole is my favourite.
Which dancers inspire you?
Greta Pontarelli is an amazing lady in her 60s from the USA, and a world pole champion. Also Eleanor Gibson is an elegant ballerina who now performs on a pole.
What are your top fitness/dance/pole tips?
Point your toes! Also treat your body well, so eat healthy, laugh often, drink plenty of water and move more.
Can pole sports ever become an Olympic event?
Definitely. The International Pole Sport Federation are well on the way to making this happen, however it is a very long process which can take 8–10 years. This is why I strongly support pole sport at my studio and also around the world as a judge. As the sport grows, there is more knowledge, education and practice of the sport… the Nationals become bigger, the World Pole Sport Championships becomes more recognised and we get taken more seriously.