B.C. pole dancing class for kids causes controversy

Jordana Divon
Shine On

Pole dancing has become a bona fide fitness trend, and women across Canada are signing up in droves to strengthen their muscles, gain confidence and learn a few sexy moves in the process.

Critics argue that it promotes sexual objectification through its association with stripping, but proponents suggest should be recognized as a national sport.

Now in the latest turn of pole dancing controversy, CTV News reports a fitness and dance studio in Duncan, B.C. has rolled out a pole dancing class for children.

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Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness is offering its Little Spinners class on weekends to enthusiastic boys and girls. Hour-long sessions start on Sept. 22, cost $70, and owner Kristy Craig tells the news station she's already signed up four students between the ages of five and 12.

"[The kids' class has] some of the same moves, some of them are different, but yeah it's very similar," she says. "There's definitely movements in [the adult classes] that are sexual, but there's nothing geared toward stripping."

Craig claims her classes for young'uns will remain focused on climbing and gripping, adding that she's removed all sexual moves from the repertoire.

She also tells the Province that the classes come at the behest of parents.

"My existing students were asking about it for their children. They were saying, 'My daughter plays on my pole at home all the time, I'd love her to actually learn how to do things property and not hurt herself,'" she says.

In response to the backlash she's received, Craig admits she can see how it may appear, but she points out that over the years, pole dancing has evolved as its own competitive sport, "stripped" of all sexual connotations.

"Any criticism that comes in I understand, but pole dancing in general is trying to change people's perception away from the stripping and more into it being fitness and an athletic sport," she says.

It's also important to note that Twisted Grip isn't the first studio to set children on the pole. Tantra Studio in Vancouver allowed minors to join classes with parental permission back in 2010.

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The trend is also huge across the U.K., as tiny pole dancing tots are taking over fitness studios across the British Isles.

That hasn't stopped concerned child experts from chiming in, particularly in light of the adult industry's recent push to "recruit" high school and university students into their exotic dancing clubs.

While he acknowledges the complexities involved in the issue, child psychologist Dr. Derek Swain tells CTV he's concerned. The early exposure may push young girls toward taking up the pole as a career, he says.

"That temptation would certainly be there, and for someone who already has those skills it would be an easy transition".

What do you think? Is this a harmless activity that will encourage physical fitness in children, or is pole dancing a trend that should be kept away from our youngest demographic?

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