Major pole dancing competition in Hervey Bay this weekend
SINCE taking up pole dancing classes four years ago Katelin Russell has lost 16kg, gained confidence and become an instructor herself.
She's one of a growing number of women shrugging off stereotypes and embracing the gruelling, body-shaping world of pole fitness.
The 25-year-old will be taking part in an in-studio competition this weekend at Physipole Hervey Bay which is also hosting the Regional Queensland Pole Competition.
"After having a baby, I joined up to get my body back," Ms Russell said
"Now I have the best body I've ever had."
Studio manager Peggy Bray said the stigma surrounding the craft previously reserved for red-light districts was slowly wearing off.
"There is some stigma there with pole dancing, and always will be, but it is becoming more widely accepted," Ms Bray said.
"We have people of all ages, all sizes and all abilities participating. We have lots of mums who come, and for many of our dancers, it's their only form of exercise.
"Over the last year we have also taken part in a lot of community events too."
Mastering the art of pole dancing requires flexibility, strength, stamina, grace, and the courage to perform risky tricks.
On Sunday, eight of the studio's girls will perform routines incorporating tricks and dance moves to music.
Brinna Kerin, who only picked up the hobby one year ago, will do hers to an RNB-style song.
"Pole is just such a great way to get fit, it uses your whole body and is a lot of fun," Ms Kerin said.
"I went to the gym before starting, and I like how here you work on tricks and get a sense of accomplishment."
The Hervey Bay studio has expanded to offer lyra classes, which is an aerial hoop often seen in circus performances.
Instructor Cassie Byford said these were more trick-based and had participants as young as 16. "Lyra is a whole different genre and uses similar strength as gymnastics," Ms Byford said.
Both of Sunday's events are open to the public. The in-house competition starts about 5pm, and the regional competition is from 7pm.