Susan Mellor

So…. writing about myself and my studio and passion for pole dance succinctly is probably my biggest life challenge to date. But here goes my best try…….
Hard work, self-belief and an ability to support and nurture others I learned very early in my life – eldest of 3 siblings I had no Father, he left us for greener pastures and I had to step up and support my blind mother who had MS to make something of our family. By age 13 I’d been working for a year, increased my wage from £2.75 to £4.02 a day and knew then, you have to dream your best life before it can come true!
I’ve had some lucky breaks in my younger days, as a better than average dancer I was lucky enough to be picked up by the Hitman and Her Team, where Jason Orange of Take That and Jimmy and Spike from 911 were also born. Using this as my platform I managed to bag several great TV and dance jobs. My career had moved on by this point (thankfully so had my wages) and I was a scientist by day and a club cage dancer by night. I saw many dancers treated unfairly and paid poorly in the dance industry so I set up my entertainment agency and a small dance studio to change this tide. I trained and supplied many dancers each week across the country and overseas making sure they were safe and earned what they were worth. I started working for Peter Stringfellow at his Angels Club and that’s where I met a new breed of dancers: pole dancers! Wow, I had discovered and fallen in love with this new thing called pole dance.
When I first started teaching pole dance, it was so difficult, there was no social media so newspaper ads and door to door flyers it was. Pole dance still had a seedy reputation and in a small town like Stockport, changing that perception was hard. With 2 new shiny Xpoles and a lot of passion and fight I launched Tiva Pole Studios. We started with 4 loyal students a week and slowly we grew. Some of those early students went on to pole at Tiva for 10 plus years. As our reputation grew, I started to form my team from those girls in class who were natural instructors, supporters of others and talented pole dancers. I invested in them – paying for training and qualifications. We were a team. The Tiva Team.
There had been others since then too, all who have gone on to become successful instructors in their own right, playing their part in the continued development of our industry.
I see the Pole Industry as being built on millions of tiny foundations which go beyond the studio. The moments where somebody believes in themselves for the first time, fights back in their personal life because you’ve helped them find their confidence, where girls blossom from caterpillar to butterfly or grow into the super sexy competition winning performer they never believed they could be, or when they just achieve something they never thought was possible for them.

I am proud to have opened my doors in Stockport for 15 years to what is now 1000s of girls, gaining their trust and showing them what their mind and body is capable of. This is what I live for. The success of others. There have been days in business and life when opening those doors was hard, but never once did I want to give up on what had been built at Tiva. I may own the studio, but it truly belongs to my girls as their safe haven.
Tiva is a place where girls are supported can thrive and find themselves, where they grow strong in both mind and body and change their lives. No matter who they are, tall, small, large, older it doesn’t matter who you are, my motto is “anyone can learn to pole dance” and to date I have always found a way to teach every single girl.

As the industry has developed, so has Tiva – keeping pace with the latest new pole moves (I remember when a Pantera Gemini was the biggest trick we all needed to get from the pole tricks 101) and we’ve investing in supporting the wider industry through pole events, festivals and hosting international pole dancers. Creating a network of pole friendships locally, across studios and the country and more recently in the Virtual Pole Industry we have all come together to form.

I am immensely proud of my role as an early pioneer and supporter of the pole industry who fought back against the prejudice that pole dancers faced 15 years ago. I quietly created my studio as a supportive and welcoming place where girls learn to love themselves, instructors thrive, every moment is celebrated. From the first class I ever held we have created ambassadors for everything the pole industry stands for – confidence, strength and the belief anything in life is possible (and knowing the best life is truly upside down!)

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