Top of the Pole

Sophie Goulthorp

For many the idea of visiting the hairdressers is a time for relaxation and a chance to talk about your holiday plans. However, for me the thought of going to the hairdressers has always filled me with dread, having to sit still while a stranger meddles with your hair talking polite nonsense.

So, imagine my relief after 30-odd years when I found not just a good hairdresser but one that I actually find interesting. Forget about mindless holiday chatter, my hairdresser is the British Pole Dancing champion. Now that is interesting…

Sophie Goulthorp, based at Headquarters hair salon on Keighley Road in Colne is a spritely lass with wisdom beyond her 28 years, and after having two children she wasn’t happy with being size 16 and wanted to try something new and challenging. So when her friend Kirsty Sharples, a beautician from Colne, suggested pole dancing, Sophie went along and was amazed by the number of ladies who were at the class.

Now, it’s at this point that I can imagine many of you recoiling at the thought of pole dancing as an option. Many people view pole dancing as am activity associated with seedy strip bars, bikinis and six-inch heels, but before you turn the page, read on…

Sophie Goulthorp collecting awardThe origins of pole dancing date from the 12th Century with the pagan fertility celebration of the Maypole dance. There’s also Mallakhamb, an Indian sport where tricks are performed on a wooden pole.

Once again it dates from the 12th Century but was revived in the 19th Century. The English translation of Mallakhamb is ‘pole gymnastics’. Pole dancing in the West started in the 1920s when the middle pole of a circus sideshow tent became the ‘dancing pole’. Pole dancing moved into clubs in the 1950s as burlesque became more accepted. After attending her first pole dancing class, Sophie was hooked and over the past two years she has continue to train, and now is a trim size 12. But this is a lass who loves a challenge and when it was suggested she should start competing, she did.

After firstly qualifying in Manchester, Sophie and her dancing partner Kirsty set off to Luton to compete in the UKAPP championships. The UK Amateur Pole Performer is an association formed in 2009, set up to give amateurs the chance to shine on a fair and fun platform. It prides itself on its fair but fun competitions supported by some of the largest names in pole dancing.

Sophie Goulthorp practise“We were really nervous,” says Sophie. “We didn’t really know what to expect. The competition was fierce. “Everyone was so supportive, and luckily for us no-one noticed that I actually dropped poor Kirsty on her head! So, we were both overjoyed when they announced that we were the UKAPP British doubles champions.”

“Pole dancing is an inclusive activity, and the industry is campaigning for it to be recognised as an Olympic sport.”  So watch this space because before you know it, this hairdresser from Colne may be the next Olympian Her love of pole dancing isn’t just restricted to the dance studio; she now has a pole fitted in her kitchen. So forget the smell of baked bread, and the sizzle of bacon hitting the frying pan the only thing this lass cooks up in her kitchen is hot moves.

So if you can’t stand the heat, keep out of her kitchen!Sophie Goulthorp pole dancing

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