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World-class athletes lead unusual classes at independent London gym.

The Factory Dance and Fitness Centre

World-class athletes and acrobatic dancers are among those leading incredible classes at an independent London gym.

The Factory, a gym in Archway offering a range of workouts from traditional weights to dance, is among those championing ‘pole’ as a brilliant fitness method. As well as running regular classes – a range of talented athletes lead one-off workshops there.

They include Allegra Bird who founded the renowned Pole Art France competition (next workshop 15th June), Dan Rosen (12 UK Championship titles and 1 international title) and Shane Godliman (Best Entertainer - Mr Pole Fitness - next workshop 5th May).

(Orissa Kelly with a student)

Tatianna Donbavand, who runs The Factory’s events programme and regularly teaches pole classes there, said: “We’ve seen a massive influx of former dancers and gymnasts into the sport in recent years – pole dancing is amazing to watch and it’s becoming more recognised as a sport. With pole, the possibilities to improve are endless – there’s always some new way of linking moves together so, as a sport, it has tremendous longevity and it’s something people of all ages and all shapes and sizes can enjoy.

“It’s a great test of coordination, strength and flexibility and a brilliant equaliser.

“We are lucky to have such amazing athletes teaching our workshops – it’s a big thing for a dancer at these skill-levels to come along and teach; they risk injury and that’s a problem when it comes to them competing. But for many it’s reliable, enjoyable work between shows or competitions and a way to make their sport pay.”

(Neil Crafter)

Tatianna, who was raised a Mormon, was a competitive dancer at school with a focus on jazz and contemporary dance. She studied musical theatre in University, where she choreographed for the University's theatre department.

She joined The Factory as a member in 2014 in a bid to make friends when she moved from her home in the US. She added: “When I first did a pole class it was so much harder than I imagined. Although I had a lot of upper body strength, I had little noodle arms! But it was a lot of fun, I kept coming and quickly became addicted! Now my hobby has become my work and I love teaching classes here!”

She added: “When I first started learning, I thought – ‘how am I going to tell my parents I pole-dance every week?’ I was desperate not to disappoint them. But that stigma people attach to pole-dancing is so far off the reality. It’s a sport for everyone – if people want to use it to strip and make money, that’s fine of course but people also use it as a brilliant way of getting fit and it can be enjoyed at any ability level.”

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See a list of upcoming workshops HERE

Find out more about The Factory Dance and Fitness Centre at

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