KT Coates of Vertical Dance and the IPSF
KT Coates of Vertical Dance has been an inspiration to pole dancers around the world. Her dedication to pole, her forums, and her endless support have opened the world of pole to thousands. Now she’s working with the International Pole Sport Federation to bring pole to the Olympics.
How did you get started pole dancing?
I was a podium dancer in Ibiza for a long time and met a girl there who asked me if I could pole dance. I said no but that I would give anything a go and haven’t looked back since.
I had found my vocation in life and it was the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done (apart from having my baby). I found that I was actually good at some thing and that I could inspire people to get fit who would normally shy away from exercise. Not only that, I have made life long friends through pole dancing and I am eternally grateful of that, and pole dancing has taught me so many valuable lessons from a business and personal perspective.
You have been instrumental in getting pole dancing as fitness accepted in the UK. How has the perception of pole grown since you first started?
It has changed so much since I started, I just went to the post office and the woman behind the counter asked if I did private lessons. That would never have happened before. When I started out, it was seen as something girls only did in strip bars. When I went around the gyms in my area, they just laughed at me and said it wouldn’t be suitable for their customers. People were rude and even nasty to me; fast forward a few years and they are calling me back and asking for classes. I love how people’s perceptions have changed and I am so glad I persisted and never let people bother me.
You are Executive Vice-President of the International Pole Sports Federation, which is working to get pole dancing into the Olympics. Tell us about that.
When I first started teaching, I was scared that pole dancing would be a fad; six years on, I am now worried that it may be a trend and come and go with popularity and fashion and that is the last thing I want. I love pole dancing, fitness, gymnastics and so on and I want it to be around for everyone to enjoy, and I think the only way we can guarantee that is by putting pole into the biggest competition in the world. We can only do this if we create a completely new form of pole gymnastics to fall into line with what is acceptable for every one, no matter what age, sex or race. I know this has ruffled some feathers in the pole world, but I cannot see why. I never once said that all other styles of pole need to fall in line with us; we are here to create something that has never been done before, giving people another style option.
The International Pole Sport Federation was created specifically to work towards gaining entry to the Olympic Games. After a great deal of interest generated by the online petition and Facebook, PoleSport.org was created, using the Olympic Charter as a foundation for the federation. It is dedicated to uniting pole sport athletes of the world and their countries, creating a new, technically advanced form of athletic sport using a vertical apparatus, making it accessible to all ages, races, and genders.
The Federation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to developing education, judging criteria, and standards in Pole Sports. The IPSF is a collection of national federations working together to agree on how the federation should be run and is not any one person, giving everyone the opportunity to have their say on how things should progress.
The International Pole Sport Federation was created by Tim Trautman of Studio Soiree in March 2010. He did a huge amount of work with the constitution, committees, and website and contacted me with what he had done. I was incredibly impressed with what he had shown me in such a short space of time. He asked me to become the vice president and I was delighted to work with someone who was prepared to put in their time and effort for free.
The IPSF is in its early stages and we have just opened applications for chairs and committee member positions within the federation, so we are looking for people with experience to work together in creating something new and very exciting. But please remember that those who apply need to be prepared to work for free as the organisation is non-profit.
We are now looking for the following:
Eight Committee Chairs and three committee members for each committee – Technical, safety, accreditation, medical, ethics, marketing, athletics, finance and events
Six Regional Vice-President Chairs
Two elite athletes – Champions that represent the athletic experience
Those that can offer even the minimal amount of support but not commit to a position are also welcome. If you wish to have your say, you need to be part of the organisation. Help us create a new athletic sport and be part of pole sport history! Please go to PoleSports.org and apply for a position.
What is the relationship of IPSF to Pole Fitness Association and other pro-Olympic pole organizations?
We want to work closely with everyone, so we are in contact with all of the organisations that support and would like to get involved in what we do. The PFA is helping out like many others. We would like everyone to have their say in how the IPSF works, so, to everyone reading this, please go to the website and apply for a position on the committee.
How do you take care of yourself, given all the pole dancing classes you teach?
I exercise a lot! I am addicted to it; that is my relaxation I love it. I eat very healthily during the week and eat more or less what I like at the weekend. There really isn’t much time for me with Vertical Dance, Pole Unity, and the IPSF and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Favourite makeup tip:
Fake eyelashes rock, two pairs if possible. LOL
Barefoot, sneakers, or platform heels?
Favourite grip enhancer:
Red Bull – the drink; pour it on your hand, then dab dry.
Pole dance move that made you proudest to learn:
I think it would be the handspring. At the time, there was no YouTube or anyone to show you it, so it was such a great moment. I ran around the room doing it on all of the poles, I was so happy!
Pole dance pet peeves:
Flexibility, in that I don’t have any and, although I am right-handed, I pole mostly left and it can be a nightmare when learning new moves as I never know which hand to use.
Favorite treatment for bruises and sore muscles:
I have never used anything for the bruising as it never bothered me, and the only way to get rid of sore muscles is to stretch them.
Who would you most like to have in the audience when you pole dance?
Can I say no one?, as I dance the best when no one is looking. If I can’t, then I would like to fast forward 10 years and have my daughter Blossom there.
Who is your hero or role model?
In pole dancing, it is definitely Mary Ellyn Weissman. She is an inspiration on the pole, but a fantastic ambassador off of it. She has taught me too many things about myself to bore you with and I believe I am a better person because of her … I know you want to puke, but if you know me, you know I only give credit where credit is due! LOL
Off the pole, I would say … and don’t frigging laugh … Madonna. She is a strong, powerful woman, who does exactly what she wants when she wants. Not only a singer and dancer, but a fantastic businesswoman, she pushes the boundaries and moves with the times and every pole dancer out there must respect what she has achieved with her body at the age of 50!
What are your favorite words of encouragement?
I give you the paper and paint and it’s up to you to create something wonderful!
Favorite pizza toppings:
Tabasco, hot beef, spicy sausage, and sweet corn.
Cupcakes or ice cream?
What do you like to do when you’re not pole dancing?
Since having my baby, it’s very difficult to juggle everything. So, when I am not teaching, I am doing paperwork, and when I am not doing paper work, I am playing with Blossom. At the moment, my down time consists of baby swimming, baby gym, and baby music lessons. LOL … however, I do love to rock climb and, of course, exercise. I am entering another body building comp this year, so that should be fun.
Don’t forget to check out the International Pole Sport Federation and make your voice heard!