New Direction

*Blow dust off blog. Gets dust in the eye. Regrets our life choices.*

We hope you haven’t forgotten who are. We do, often. We haven’t blogged since August! It’s been an absurdly busy time, hence our absence from here, however, if you follow us on social media, you’ll see us all over there like the Black Plague. Let us take you back to August, when the weather was warmer, Christmas was a dirty word and we still had red hair.

Romance Is Dead burlesqueThe pole dancing studio we practically lived at, closed. We were bereft and drifted around other pole studios, travelling to Swindon, Salisbury, and three others in Cardiff, looking for a new home. We had a pipe dream that we would one day open our own studio and suddenly finding ourselves without a regular one, the idea began to grow. We started looking at rental properties. Too expensive or unsuitable hours. We drove around industrial estates looking for empty units then contacting the letting agent. Too expensive. We’d been doing our instructor course. We wanted to teach. Then somebody suggested we teach out of community halls instead.

burlesque

Photo by Dave Purcell

The Pole Vault was born. We bought three XStage Lites, which are ridiculously heavy portable poles. They’ve been living under our stairs since September. We had no idea how to start a studio. So we joined Business Wales, did their Starting Your Own Business course then met with a business advisor. They all loved the idea and believed it would succeed. Everyone we spoke to was very enthusiastic about it. This isn’t the usual response we get to our ideas. The Narrowboat of Terror is apparently ‘unworkable’. We’re normally the ones full of enthusiasm while everyone else drags us back to reality. We were scared. This was starting to feel too real. So we put it off.

Then we decided we wanted to write for a poledancing magazine. There are two that we’ve found. One in Germany, one in Australia. There goes that plan! Except…we wanted to write for a poledancing magazine. There isn’t one in the UK. What if…what if we started our own? We began putting the idea out there to people at poledancing events. They loved the idea. This could work! We started contacting people asking if they would do interviews for us or write articles for the magazine. Everyone we contacted agreed and was really excited. We started writing articles for it ourselves and collecting bios and photos of our team. We were scared. This was starting to feel too real. So we put it off.

Gothic City SirensIn November, we entered our first poledancing competition under our stage name, Gothic City Sirens. English Riviera pole comp. We’d put together a doubles routine to Smooth Criminal. The journey there was fraught with road closures, detours and an escaped horse. We arrived at 2pm. Doors opened at 3:30. The competitors were all upstairs, chatting, doing their makeup and stretching. We sat in a corner with our mum, eating vegan smarties. At 3:30, we were allowed to go and try out the poles. Ah. They were much closer together than we’d rehearsed. A LOT closer together. This would throw out our entire floorwork, which as a doubles act, is hard to adjust. We had about one go on the poles as there were loads of competitors. We would pretty much have to wing it when it was our turn.

Doubles was the last category. We watched the entire competition except doubles. Our nerves couldn’t take it. We finally got to perform at 10 p.m. Eight hours after arriving. By now, our nerves were so bad, we were shaking. Everyone seemed so confident, excited. We wanted to be sick and go home. We got out there, the music started and we began. Our nerves affected us quite a bit. The smaller space meant we collided doing our gymnastics kick over move. We forgot some bits, rushed others, weren’t in time with our meticulously planned timings. However, the judges seemed to love it and we were given a standing ovation by Andi Active Cherry. We escaped as quick as we could and sat back with our mum, shaking, hearts pounding and feeling a bit deflated. It had gone so much better in rehearsal. There were two more doubles competitors after us. They seemed so self-assured, like they’d done this a million times.

Then came the awards. There were 6 pairs in our category and only two prizes. We were certain we wouldn’t place. We didn’t expect to. It was our first competition and we screwed it up. Rather than feeling proud of ourselves for doing it, we were disappointed we’d done it wrong.

We came second.Gothic City Sirens

Second place. In our first competition. We were given engraved trophies. One of the judges, Zorena, picked us both up for a photo. We were in shock. We’re still in shock. All the way home, we were convinced the judges had got it wrong. We screwed it up – how could they reward us second place? Our joy was swiftly overshadowed by the feeling we didn’t deserve those trophies. Aren’t the Darkshines fun? We got back at 1 a.m. and showed our sister the video. We didn’t want to watch it cos we were convinced it would be terrible. It wasn’t as bad as we feared. The cockups weren’t too obvious (apart from the collision) and at least we laughed when it happened. We then felt a bit better and not quite so undeserving. Watch our routine here.

Fast forward through December, the norovirus, the raging disappointment of not releasing a book this year for the first time since 2012, a hairstyle and colour change, new tattoos on our fingers and finally getting our shit together to finish what we’d started.

The Pole VaultThe Pole Vault is now open. We had a trial lesson last week and we’ve booked two regular halls, who are excited to have us teaching there. We did it. The thing that absolutely terrified us, the thing we put off cos we have no idea what we’re doing, we did it. We have our own mobile poledancing studio. Whether it becomes successful remains to be seen. It will probably be us and the Sarahs, who have been with us from the start. We honestly couldn’t have done this without them.

Our poledancing magazine, When In Chrome, launches in February. We had no idea how to put together a magazine, until we asked Tom to do the front cover, then we forced ourselves to sit down and fucking learn how to use Publisher. It’s easy. We should’ve started this months ago. We have print quotes, a website is being built and we have 23 pages so far, including interviews, strengthening exercises, advice on pole and hoop moves, adverts, competition dates. It actually looks pretty cool. People are excited.

We’ve entered more pole competitions. Just waiting to hear back if we’re successful. We didn’t get in to two, but we didn’t expect to as they’re the top ones. We’re working on more routines.

Romance Is Dead burlesque

Photo by Dave Purcell

Oh. And we’re now burlesque performers. We joined FooFoo Labelle’s Cardiff Cabaret Club in September and did our first class performance in October with Sarah F from gym. After the performance, the mayor of Penarth’s right hand woman approached us and asked us to dance at their charity night in November. So we did. We didn’t know anybody there and it was terrifying! But the audience loved it, even if they weren’t expecting us to take our clothes off. We did another class performance in December and us, Sarah F and Sarah C, formed our own burlesque troupe – Romance is Dead – and we choreographed and performed our first group routine to Lady Marmalade. Watch the video here. We’ll be performing again on Valentine’s day, doing Halestorm’s Bad Romance and a chair dance routine with the class. It’s at Whitchurch rugby club. Tickets are available here.

It’s still January. And we’ve opened a poledance studio, started a poledance magazine, become burlesque performers and started training for more pole comps. We’ve been editing our next release, a gothic epistolary novella called The Curse of Ravenhall and we’re currently working on a serial killer article. We have also set up accounts on Buy Me A Coffee (or Red Bull) and Patreon, to help us fund the magazine. Six months ago, we did not see any of this coming. Now we just have to make it work…Romance Is Dead burlesque

5 Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to your next blog, interesting reading you both intrigue me. Thanks for sharing your crazy life’s will be following you progress, good luck ladies it’s a jungle out Thier! but at least you have each other.

    • Thanks! Our life certainly is crazy at times! A lot of random things seem to occur. We’ve learned to just go with it and it usually turns out interesting.

  2. Well done – Congratulations on winning the Trophy
    You are unstoppable – got to admire your tenacity

  3. Thank you! We are super ambitious at times.

  4. I’m so proud you both! It’s great to see all you are doing! 🙂


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