Pole dancing nurse tests tenacity at state titles
JESSICA Thalborne is a nurse by day and a pole dancer by night.
The 24-year-old is a big advocate for pole dancing, a sport she took up two and a half years ago when living in Newcastle.
When she moved to Gladstone with her partner, the first question she asked was "is there a pole fitness studio?"
She became a member of Beyond Gravity Pole Fitness Academy in Callemondah and hasn't looked back.
"It's more exciting than the gym and you make good friends out of it," she said.
"My friend had a pole at her birthday party once and I tried it and she just said 'you are a natural' and I've been doing it ever since.
"I want to do it for as long as I can."
Jessica believes many people misinterpret the sport as being a "stripper" thing, but it requires just as much precision and tenacity as gymnastics or football.
"You don't need a certain level of fitness to do it," she said.
"There is no age limit and it doesn't matter what size you are. You gain upper body strength and flexibility.
"We don't discriminate either, with some men doing it."
Wanting to test her abilities, Jessica competed in the Queensland Pole Championships in Brisbane at the end of June.
She entered in the amateur division with 18 other competitors from all over the state.
Although she didn't place, she said it was a thrilling experience.
"It was an awesome experience and a lot of hard work to prepare for it," she said.
"You just train at every chance you get."
Jessica said it was a 2½ minute routine on stage in front of judges.
"I did a fast, upbeat routine to Uptown Funk," she said. "It was hard because you had to try to smile at the same time."
For each performance, a set of criteria had to be met including dynamic, flexibility, acrobatics and dance, strength and flexibility.
Jessica said she wasn't sure where she placed, because only first, second and third awarded to competitors.
She encouraged anyone who would like to get fit and learn some cool tricks to give pole dancing a go.
"We have a lot of fun. When you first start you think it's going to be daunting but it's fine," she said.