February Blog

 

Well hello, awesome Pole World!

I’m Bec Collins – aka “Bebe Sparkle” – and I will be your IPDFA/IPC International Correspondent bringing you the most exciting and exhilarating news within our progressive pole industry!

Expect hard hitting interviews with the pole stars of the moment and our industry leaders who are all paving the future of this crazy awesome sport and creative artform that we love so much.

What better way to start than with the IPDFA itself!

A major industry leading organisation that has been running since 2007 providing the International Pole World with ever expanding branches covering all aspects of the industry to support and help bring the community together in one positive and inclusive place.

IPDFA is RELAUNCHING with a fresh new makeover and a fresh new President ‘Tracey Ecclestone’ who is hitting the ground running, breathing new life and new exciting prospects into the organisation.

Check out what this relaunch is all about and what it means for everyone in this industry as I nut Tracey out about the specifics below:

Bebe

What has sparked this relaunch, Tracey?

 

Tracey

IPDFA has been running since 2007 and has now changed Presidency for the 3rd time, so I feel that 13 years down the line, we also need to check in with IPDFA internally and see where the IPDFA vision can be adapted according to a more current perception.  IPDFA too needs to move with the times and refocus our vision, restructure the team and rebrand IPDFA to suit our current market.

Coming from a marketing background, I feel that we need to define what IPDFA means to us, how we are perceived in the marketplace, how our members see us, are we different – and if so how are we different? Aim to define our strengths and continue to pour our energy into these and redefine our weaker aspects with a drive to fix these.

It is essential that the IPDFA team all share the same vision and understanding.

 

Bebe

A clear vision for all involved sounds fantastic! So, what are you working toward achieving right now?

 

Tracey

We are relaunching with a direct focus and this is to increase our Brand Awareness and Building opportunities. Our focus is always Internationally but for now we will spend a lot of time focusing on the USA, Asian and European markets.

 

Again, our strengths:

 

1) Memberships, with our new packages in place offering a more unique experience for our members

 

2) IPDFA PolePro Instructor Courses: our courses have been recognised as the Most Comprehensive Courses in the industry.They are unique in their focus, which is primarily on the science of the sport to gain an overall understanding, together with safety aspects and specific conditioning, giving instructors a complete understanding and an ability to teach in any studio, once hired by particular studios, they are able to add their signature style to a base understanding of setting class structures and confidently able to improve, rehabilitate, or increase strength in all student types safely and correctly.

 

3) Presence: this is one of our weaker areas that most definitely need strengthening. With so many competitions wanting to be apart of our membership program ensuring their winners are granted entry into the semi finals of the IPC, we feel that our support and presence needs attention.

 

We are currently training up more Master trainers who will represent IPDFA and have the ability to promote, answer quotations and also do instructor qualifications at various events.

We have now launched offices in Europe, Asia and USA, these countries will all have Presidents managing their areas of development, growth and establishing our brand presence within the marketplace.

Each of these presidents will have country representatives that will all be PolePro Master Trainers with the ability to studio audit, qualify & train instructors in their language, create a stronger brand presence at all pole related events and supporting all of our IPDFA members.

Bebe

Well, a little bird tells me that the IPDFA PolePro courses are now recognised  with a number of leading sporting bodies internationally as the most recognised/accredited pole instructor course available  😉

I’m sure we will hear more about this soon…

Do you see a gap in our industry that needs filling?

 

Tracey

At the end of the day we cannot as an industry turn a blind eye to studios operating nowadays without qualified staff.

As our sport is literally being trialed at the Olympics in June this year (well hopefully the Olympics is still on this year?)

Restructuring IPDFA

IPDFA began in 2007 under the leadership of Ania Pzerplazko with the vision to unite all aspects of pole as a sport under one umbrella; mostly to get pole recognised as a unisex sport and to become accepted by international sporting bodies.

 

Regardless, the industry itself is now within the millions practising the sport worldwide, with the amount of injuries sustained practising and with the popularity of the sport becoming so mainstream, there is an expectation to be trained by someone who has a qualification and an understanding of how to teach extreme sport, surely?

If you wanted to work within any other industry a qualification would be required, and if our industry has gained that much growth and developed to the degree it has, then it’s almost living in denial not expecting these standards, especially as a studio owner, simply peace of mind.

 

Bebe

Well, I for one as a studio owner of  12 years would not only find a one stop shop to help with all the above unbelievably valuable now… but had there been a go to resource like this when starting it would have made life a hell of a lot easier.

New studios that get on board to use IPDFA will never know how hard it was to learn all this as you go over many hard years. Established studios will no doubt be grateful to have the trusted time saving resource too!

Some may argue “isn’t there enough organisations/federations about to cover everything already?

 

Tracey

There is a gap in the marketplace, and it is a very important one.

Pole federations, organisations, competitions, festivals, cruises, performances, studios, instructors and students need to know that ultimately all the leading bodies of the industry agree on a guided understanding of the basic structure of all the above mentioned.

Businesses and brands need an opportunity for growth. All workshops, festivals, and similar need to also have a structure in place, opportunities for travel and for our sport, as an international movement to unite, safely, together.

Moving forward with the rapid growth that our industry has experienced in the last decade, we need to begin with defining our sport.

IPDFA, being the original leader and only international association, intends on bringing this together so that we can decide on what safety and regulatory guidelines are important, what the industry needs, expects and decides as a global team.

There is a need in the market for a regulatory board or committee based on the intention for all the leaders and representatives across the board to have a place or a structure to create a platform for communication, a network for all the pole related topics to be regulated, and guidelines set after and only when we are all in agreement including party representatives, competitions, federations and countries, from students training under qualified instructors, to studios needing to know what the safety regulations are, and that instructors know the sport and how to teach it with a qualification to back their instruction – not just showing moves.

 

Competitions need safety guidelines, rigging and structural safety guidelines.

Competitors and professional performers also need to know their rights.

Athletes, brands and sponsorship opportunities should be implemented on a far greater scale.

Moving forward with the rapid growth that our industry has experienced in the last decade, we need to begin with defining our sport.

Tracey Ecclestone - IPDFA President

Bebe

So, the next move, what is it?

 

Tracey

Over the next 3 years, IPDFA will have offices in Russia, Asia, USA, South America, Africa and Europe with a stronger presence and an open door for anyone from the new student through to the world champion, that pole sport as an internationally recognised sport has a unifying body.

 

Bebe

And who may I ask is involved in this IPDFA plan of Pole World domination?

 

Tracey

Stefania Makaronas is Vice President, she was my first pole instructor and has been my mentor over the years, supporting and driving me, believing in me.

Stef came on board in 2014 on the Masters Program, and she has helped to translate and develop the Spanish market instructors as well as Internationally.

Stef is overseeing a team of people to manage the Membership program, which is pretty big.

She will be working together with industry professionals and leaders to rebuild what our membership packages can offer; less discounts and more opportunities.

The presidents of the 3 countries, are all business men and like myself, share a vision to not only move with the times of the development of sport, but to bring in the professionalism that business practice encompasses.

Elliot Berard, USA –

He began his life in the entertainment industry as a magician, he became very well-known working with famous magicians and went on to develop his own company, touring and then he fell in love.

Elliot is a specialist in his field of work which is SEO marketing. He is impressed with pole sport as a sport and more so as a movement, his future wife Destynnie is an instructor, a Pole blogger and is our Master Trainer for the USA market.

 

Marco Tomasini, Europe –

Marco is deeply involved with sport internationally. He is the President of Fdeder-Swiss, and IAFSA, MSFA and is the secretary general for the International Sports Organisation and International Sports Network Association. He is also on board the para – Olympic committee and we are lucky to have Marco involved with the IPDFA.

 

Shiva Seagram, Asia –

Shiva has always been involved in the tourism industry, organising corporate travel groups, presentations. He has been on the Thailand MICE tourism marketing board. Shiva has worked within IPDFA for several years and has had a big involvement in IPC as well. Shiva will oversee the Asian development of IPDFA.

 

Natalie Teknawana –

Returning to IPDFA, she was involved 2007-2014 and assisted Ania with writing the rules for the International Pole Championship. Natalie has owned her own chain of studios, and after an industry break, she is back, and she is ready to rock.

Natalie will be developing IPDFA Industry Awards to involve all aspects of the industry and to create a stronger presence for the IPDFA awards within the marketplace.

 

Bec Collins “Bebe Sparkle” –

Our correspondent has been in the industry for over a decade, she owns her own studio in Tasmania and has a history of performance, teaching and is also a Master Trainer for the IPDFA.

She is responsible for all the news you hear, she will be informing the pole world, of courses she teaches, countries she visits, studios she engages with, competitors she interviews and will also be seen live in Cape Town interviewing performers and competitors, during the week of live streaming IPC launch this year….stay tuned.

The Future of IPDFA – the Big Picture – what does that look like?

Tracey

1) IPC divisions, in Europe, America, Asia – creating a competition that is safe and has the Ultimate Champion Title, affiliated through templates a blueprint of the World’s Premiere Pole Event.

2) In 2021 we are developing Africa, Australasia, South America and Russian Offices.

3) IPC will travel the world every second year to the most promising country. Each continent will run their own PC leading up to competitors entering into the IPC

4) To ensure a studio may not operate without qualified and trained staff, and legally insist on qualified trainers and studios to become compliant with international safety regulations

5) To have a membership base that works for the members and becomes a marketing platform for businesses, sponsorship platform for athletes and competitions, product testing and feedback ground for businesses and brands to establish growth and base development on.

6) An International Exchange program for instructors and studios to use, creating more opportunities to travel and live the dream within our pole world.

7) Judges registrar for competition organisers,

8) A Performers Rights board for performers and a safety zone for people with disability.

9) To assist further development of the pole industry, developing careers and opportunities.

Bebe

Thanks so much Tracey, Great things ahead!

Tracey isn’t a fly-by-night Pole Industry professional either. You just need to read her bio below to understand how dedicated and loyal she is to a successful pole future. She is here for the long haul 😉

Tracey Ecclestone

Tracey has been involved in the industry for over a decade. For a decade she owned WA Aerial Fitness, the largest aerial studio in Western Australia, operated by 12 instructors.

Tracey is the author of the 6 internationally selling Pole & Lyra Handbook 101 collection and has produced 7 SWA pole competitions.

She is the producer of IPDFA PolePro instructor courses. She has sat as Head Judge on the IPC judging panel, and is Directing the International Pole Championship in Cape Town 20 November 2020, for the last 3 years she has been the Vice President of IPDFA and is now in 2020 the President of IPDFA.

Qualified in sports and paediatric nutrition, Tracey has a background in gymnastics. She has since continued her inquisitive goal orientated personality by always continuing her studies, biomechanics, science of body functions and rehabilitation.

She has trained in the circus and with some of the best aerial performers in the world dedicating years to exploring all aspects of the aerial world.

Over the past 10 years, Tracey has gained recognition through judging a wide variety of state, national and international competitions.