Outrage at pole-dancing lessons for 12 year olds
Summary of story from The Daily Mail, May 20, 2011
A dance school has been criticised for offering pole-dancing lessons to children as young as 12.
The Art of Dance pole dance and burlesque school in Plymouth, Devon, has been accused of teaching children to ‘parade like strippers’. But it insists that the classes are simply aimed at making the youngsters fitter and stronger.
The classes, which began this week for children aged 12 to 15, have been heavily criticised by an MP and a Christian group. But others have backed the lessons, saying they are a ‘valid form of exercise’.
Sam Remmer, founder of the company has also defended them, saying there was a ‘big difference’ between fitness pole dancing and exotic dancing.
‘To understand fitness pole dancing you have to see the pole as a climbing frame which basically means it is a gymnastic apparatus,’ she says.
She also claims the lessons are designed to help boost self-confidence.
The dance school’s website promotes the lessons as the ‘gymnastic art of pole dancing’.
Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, said lessons need to be treated with a ‘great deal of caution’.
He said: ‘We have a real problem in our country with the increasing sexualisation of children through the media, advertising, branding of products and this kind of thing would be a step in the wrong direction.’
A spokesman for the Mothers’ Union, a Christian organisation, said: ‘…we are concerned that children are being targeted with an activity that, by and large, is part of a male club culture which objectifies women.
‘It is naive to suggest that any young person joining such a class will be unaware of the intention of pole dancing.’
But Christine Gregory, 31, who runs another firm, Swindon-based Polefect, which offers pole dancing lessons to children as young as 14, defended Ms Remmer.
She said: ‘It promotes fitness and gives youngsters knowlegde of the wider industry and how to steer away from the seedier end of it.
Opinion among locals about the classes, however, is not hugely positive. Wilma Heveran 46, said: ‘It’s diabolical. It’s sick. At that age, they’re just children and they should be playing rounders or netball.’
WVoN comment: To sell the ‘art’ of pole-dancing to children under the guise of fitness and ‘empowerment’ is immoral. Pole-dancing is embedded in our culture as a way for women to sexually service men and teaching children to do it is nothing short of training them for the sex industry, regardless of whether or not it also happens to give you toned biceps. It’s telling that the only people who defend the classes are those who are selling them.