I have just spent the first week of May 2016 in Budapest on the Pole Passion Retreat, and thought it would be a good idea to write up a review so that if you are considering on attending a pole camp, particularly one organised by the Pole Passion team, you can see what it involves and what to expect.
Price? £525.00 (including accommodation, not including flights and food – ‘early bird’ discounts available).
I was very pleased with the accommodation provided at Central Hotel 21. The facilities were clean, and the rooms were spacious with comfortable beds. Many of the rooms had kitchen utilities, although we personally did not use ours as we were out all day at training and eating at restaurants in the evening. Having a fridge in the room was perfect as I could keep my milk for my protein shakes, and stored some yogurt to have with my fruit in the morning.
As the group had doubled in size from 30 to over 60 people, compared to the 2015 pole camp, a second location was sought to house the extra people. Although most of the individuals were happy in the apartments, there were a few complaints in regards to the bathrooms and the overall standard compared to the hotel. However, I cannot commend Kay any more on how gracious and accommodating she was trying to help seek alternative arrangements for those who were not satisfied with the standards of the apartments. Yes, I was happy I had been allocated to the hotel, but I know that if I had voiced any disappointment to Kay she would have gone out of her way to make sure I was happy.
The two pole studios where the training and workshops took place were located a 30-40 minute walk from the hotel, or a 10 minute tram ride. The tram was easy to catch, cheap and only a few minutes walk from the hotel.
Dollhouse and Dollhouse Boudoir are two beautiful studios owned and run by Alma Pirner. The facilities were clean and well cared for, with easily accessed toilets and well equipped pole rooms. Alma’s boudoir was absolutely gorgeous, the decoration was decadently feminine, with feathers, pink and girly trims everywhere. I was in heaven! ❤
My only complaint would be that at times the poles in the Dollhouse studio were very slippy due to the weather and it was difficult to work through some of the combos being demonstrated because I couldn’t get enough grip. Cleaning the poles did not seem to help, and the grip aids I had with me didn’t seem to make any difference. I think dry hands was not the best solution, and perhaps something stickier such as iTac2 would have been more useful.
I did a variety of workshops including ‘Tricks With Jess Leanne Norris’, Choreography, Chair Dancing, Polesque (a mix of burlesque and pole), Pole Dance and Twerkshop. These were well run, the trainers were experienced and helpful, and the variety offered was excellent.
At times the workshops were very advanced and I ended up just watching 70% of the moves, even though the class was described as ‘all levels’, so keep that in mind and don’t go expecting to nail 6 new tricks every lesson. You WILL have stuff to work towards and practice though, and make sure you capture everything by video so you can remember it. I didn’t do this for some moves and really regret it!
I loved the choreography based classes, and the Twerkshop was a highlight of the week. If you ever get chance to go and see Lucy Cropper at LucyPole in Crawley for a Twerkshop, do it!
A few of the classes I signed up for ended up being very different to what was expected. In particular the ‘Beginner’s Lap’ class, which did not come with a description when booking, was actually closer to exotic dance including a floor work routine. Whilst I LOVED this because it is totally up my street, I understood that some who had signed up were expecting something much different and were therefore a little annoyed. This could easily be rectified by simply insisting each workshop come with a comprehensive description so that the participants know what to expect when they are booking, so hopefully they will address this next year.
Overall, considering the price, and the opportunity to train with world class athletes, the training was more than worth the trip. Considering you would usually spend £££ on workshops and privates with these pole dancers, the opportunity to train with several all on one trip was amazing, and I know for some people it was a highlight of their week as they got to meet their pole idols.
You can find a comprehensive list of the 2016 masterclasses and workshops HERE.
Everyone there was lovely. I made a lot of new friends, and had a great time socialising with pole dancers from all across the country, and even the world! It was interesting to hear about how all the different pole studios differ in terms of their classes, culture and approach to pole dance. I met some kindred spirits in polers who love the sexy and sensual side of classique pole, and it was great to be able to chat with similar interests and make plans to meet up for pole jams. I’m still holding some of the girls to count on organising a ‘Ho Down’ soon!
Most nights the Pole Passion team had organised a social event, including a meal, ‘white night’ drinks (with everyone dressed in white, of course), and superhero dress up. These events were optional, so if you were too tired from training you could curl up with a book and sleep instead. However, going out to the bars was a nice chance to relax and unwind, though I would personally not recommend partying too much as the training schedule is quite intense and you might ‘burn out’ and fatigue your body if you do not get adequate rest.
The trip also included a Budapest street photo shoot one evening set against the Budapest bridge. Tis was a fun opportunity to get some street photos, and the fantastic Ben Ewers of Team16 Photography was there that night (and all week) to capture the pole poses. He has not released the photos as of yet (no wonder, he must have 1000s to get through!!!!) so I’ll just upload one I took on my phone so you can see the gorgeous backdrop.
The food in Budapest is good; the quality is great, and the price is inexpensive. I did not take a huge amount of HUF with me, and still came home with change to spare. A typical meal, with one course and a couple of drinks never cost more than 4000HUF which is about £10, and most meals I had were only around 2000HUF!
Considering the cost of the trip, and everything included, I couldn’t recommend this pole camp more highly. I loved the trip and have come away as a more confident dancer, with a handful of new tricks to practice and perfect. Having the chance to try out some different classes such as Chair Dancing and Polesque has helped me expand my dance vocabulary and undoubtedly will inform my future routines.
If you are looking to book a pole camp, the Pole Passion retreat is a great option offering a good mix of dance, tricks, fitness and sensual classes for polers of all different types. The trip was well organised, and the people were supportive, friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you out and ensure you have a good time.
The only reason I did not give the whole trip a 10/10 was because of a couple of the ‘wrinkles’ which I do not doubt Kay will iron out next year having met her and seen her dedication and focus.
My recommendations for next year would be as follows:
- More explicit class descriptions, provided for every workshop and class available.
- A list for each class detailing equipment needed; i.e. knee pads, leg warmers, costuming and so on.
- Some tricks based workshops with a focus on a variety of ‘intermediate’ moves, not just progressions. This would be useful for those looking to build their trick vocabulary who may have gotten stuck in the more advanced classes.