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Dr Joanna Nicholas

Casual Academic

Staff Member Details
Campus: Mount Lawley  
Room: ML14.109  

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Joanna is a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Current teaching

  • DAN1034 - Integrated Body Practices 1
  • CUAWHS403 - Incorporate anatomy and nutrition principles into skill development
  • CUAWHS501 - Maintain a high level of fitness for performance
  • CUAWHS601 - Apply advance gym and weight training to ballet..


Joanna is a passionate dance and exercise scientist, and health researcher. Joanna completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia in 2019, her doctoral research sets an empirical foundation for pole dancing as a recreational activity and sport, and spans the areas of psychology, physiology, and injury prevention.

Joanna has spent over 15 years in the fitness industry including 6 years as the regional head lecturer for the Australian Institute of Fitness (WA). With over 20 years of dance training and conditioning experience, Joanna also fills her passion for teaching as a freelance dance, fitness, and pole instructor. Joanna currently lectures in dance and performance science and works within the Simulation and Immersive Digital Technology Group, an interdisciplinary team that combines immersive technology, performing arts, education, and health research.

Professional associations

  • 2019 to present - International Association for Dance Science and Medicine (member)
  • 2013 to present - Exercise and Sports Science Australia (member)
  • 2008 to 2018 - Fitness Australia (Level 3 Fitness Professional).

Awards and recognition

National and International Research Positions

  • 2019 to present - International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (member).


  • 2018 - University of Western Australia, Overseas Travel Award
  • 2017 to 2018 - University of Western Australia, Research Training Program Stipend
  • 2015 to 2018 - University of Western Australia, Bruce and Betty Green Scholarship
  • 2015 to 2016 - University of Western Australia, Australian Postgraduate Award.

Research areas and interests

  • Performing arts for health
  • Dance science
  • Injury prevention
  • Pole dancing
  • Circus arts
  • Behavioural science
  • Body image.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia, 2019.
  • Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health) First Class Hons, The University of Western Australia, 2015.

Research Outputs

Journal Articles

  • Nicholas, J., Ntoumanis, N., Smith, BJ., Quested , E., Stamatakis, E., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2021). Development and feasibility of a mobile phone application designed to support physically inactive employees to increase walking. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 21(23), 1-16.

Journal Articles

  • Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Quested , E., Smith, B., Nicholas, J., McVeigh, J., Fenton, SA., Stamatakis, E., Parker, S., Pereira, G., Gucciardi, DF., Ntoumanis, N. (2020). Feasibility and preliminary effects of a peer-led motivationally-embellished workplace walking intervention: A pilot cluster randomized trial (the START trial). Contemporary Clinical Trials, 91(April 2020), Article number 105969.
  • Law, KH., Dimmock, JA., Thornton, AL., Nicholas, J., Ho, G., Gucciardi, DF., Guelfi, KJ., Jackson, B. (2020). ‘They deserve a treat’: the nature and antecedents of parental licensing surrounding children’s physical activity. Public Health Nutrition, 2020(Article in press), 1-11.

Journal Articles

  • Nicholas, J., McDonald, KA., Peeling, P., Jackson, B., Dimmock, JA., Alderson, JA., Donnelly, CJ. (2019). Pole dancing for fitness: The physiological and metabolic demand of a 60-minute class. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(10), 2704-2710.

Journal Articles

  • Nicholas, J., Dimmock, JA., Donnelly, CJ., Alderson, JA., Jackson, B. (2018). “It's our little secret … an in-group, where everyone's in”: Females’ motives for participation in a stigmatized form of physical activity. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 36(May 2018), 104-113.

Journal Articles

  • Staynor, JM., Nicholas, J., Weir, G., Alderson, JA., Donnelly, CJ. (2017). Targeting associated mechanisms of anterior cruciate ligament injury in female community-level athletes. Sports Biomechanics, 16(4), 501-513.

Conference Publications

  • Staynor, JM., Nicholas, J., Weir, G., Alderson, JA., Donnelly, CJ. (2015). The effect of biomechanically focused injury prevention training on reducing anterior cruciate ligament injury risk among female community level athletes. ISBS-Conference Proceedings Archive (475-478). International Society of Biomechanics in Sports.
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