A Vancouver Island dance studio's plan to offer pole-dancing class for children is raising some eyebrows, but the instructor says it is about fitness and not sex.
Duncan's Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness Studio already has four children, including one boy, signed up for its Little Spinners pole-dancing lessons on Saturdays. One of the children is as young as five.
Pole-dancing fitness classes are based on the moves originally developed by bar room strippers to manoeuvre their way up and down a brass pole while showing off the more personal parts of their anatomy.
But instructor Kristy Craig says her pole-dancing class is about dancing and exercise — not sex — and everyone needs to get their mind out of the gutter.
'There is nothing sexual about it. It's pure fitness and strength and fun. —Instructor Kristy Craig
"There is nothing provocative. There is nothing sexual about it. It's pure fitness and strength and fun. I mean kids love climbing trees. They will climb anything"
Craig says she got into the sport for fitness and has never worked in the adult entertainment industry and her classes have nothing to do with exotic dancing.
"It really is just like registering them for hip hop or jazz or any kind of dance class," said Craig, who points out YouTube is already full of children's pole-dancing videos.
She notes pole-dancing provides an excellent cardiovascular and upper-body workout and children who practice the pole are no more likely to become strippers than they are firefighters.
As a sport, pole-dancing has taken off in recent years and children as young as seven will be allowed to compete at the Russian national championships in St. Petersburg this week.
After pole-dancing classes for children opened in England, one filmmaker made a documentary that explored the sexualization of children.
Craig says all of her young students are children of adults who take classes at the studio already.
"Quite a few of them are mothers and they were saying that their children were interested in taking a class."
"Some of my more advanced students have poles at home to practise and stretch...and it would be great if there were classes where they could learn how to properly do something," she said.
"I would welcome anyone to come in and see what it's all about."