Fitness studio’s pole dancing classes for five-year-olds
The ‘Little Spinners’ sessions have been added to the timetable at a Canadian fitness studio, alongside ‘Flexy Sexy’ and ‘Babes on Bikes’ classes.
Instructor Kristy Craig has insisted the classes are focused on fitness and that children are not taught any ‘sexual moves’, but a child psychologist has warned that parents should be conscious of pole dancing’s association with stripping and the sex industry.
Girls and boys aged between five and 12 have already been enrolled in the controversial classes at the Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness studio in Duncan, British Columbia.
Craig, a certified fitness and aerobics instructor, said she introduced the classes in response to demand from her adult clients.
‘My existing students were asking about it for their children,’ she told the National Post.
‘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 properly and not hurt herself.”
‘They have no association with it or think there is anything wrong or bad about it. That’s an adult putting that on them,’ she said.
The instructor said the classes were focused on the gymnastic and circus acrobatic elements of pole dancing, and that girls and boys attending the sessions were not taught ‘adult’ moves.
‘I treat it just like gymnastic classes,’ she said, adding: ‘This is strictly about fitness.’
But child psychologist Derek Swain told CTV News he feared introducing young girls to pole dancing could make them more likely to join the sex industry in later life.
‘There would be that potential and that is something of concern because we know that people in the adult industry are out recruiting in colleges and universities, as well as attempting to recruit in high schools.
‘That temptation would certainly be there, and for someone who already has those skills it would be an easy transition,’ he said.
A fitness studio in Bolton provoked an outcry last year after introducing pole dancing lessons for children and then posting pictures of the classes on Facebook.
Parents and councillors who deemed the junior sessions at JLN Pole Fitness inappropriate raised concerns over the images being published online, with one mother claiming it would encourage child grooming.
But instructor Jess Leanne Norris said photographs were only put on the website with parents’ consent, and that there was ‘nothing inappropriate’ about the pole dancing classes.