Kristy Craig, the owner of Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness Studio is offering a children’s pole dancing class called “Little Spinners.” These weekend kiddie classes will run on Saturdays in the fall for a staggering fee of $70 an hour.
Craig claims that she is simply catering to the demands of her adult clients. “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 properly and not hurt herself,’ ” Craig said to the National Post.
Little Spinners is set to start on Sept. 22. So far three girls and one boy have registered for Craig’s classes. The children range in age from 5–12.
The classes will teach toned down moves from Craig’s Sexy Flexy, Pole Fit, Babes on Bikes, and Bunny Bootcamp classes.
“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 explains. “I don’t think you can avoid the stigma,” Craig told CTV News.
Kerri Isham, a sexual health educator says, “I wouldn’t want us to break the stigmatism through using children.”
Isham, who is a parent of a young daughter, says, “I can’t put myself in another parent’s mind because my daughter wouldn’t ever take part in those classes because of the sexual connotation. I don’t know how you could possibly get around that.”
She says that she supports women over 18 taking part in pole dancing but does not condone classes aimed at children, saying that children are too young to understand the nature of pole dancing and what it represents in society.
Isham believes that the children are interested in pole dancing primarily because of their parents who may be participating in it already.
“Kids whose parents bake—like to bake. If they have a pole at home and they see their mom exercising on it, it would make sense that they would want to try it. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the kids being interested in doing it. I just think that they don’t understand the big picture and I don’t think that even a 12-year-old understands the big picture,” Isham says.
Isham, who runs a workshop called POWER UP, which teaches sexual health and positive body image to children, believes that participating in pole dancing could lead to bullying.
She says that parents should make more appropriate choices for their children when enrolling them in sports. “There are a ton of other activities. If the goal is to have your child to become more physically fit and have the cardiovascular workout, I think that there is a variety of different things that are currently available that would be more age appropriate.”
“I think it is exploitation. I’m pretty sure that the boys who signed up for the class won’t be wearing a Speedo. The girls that are taking the class if their moms are taking the class and they wear a t-shirt and shorts then their daughters will probably wear a t-shirt and shorts. But if they wear anything different than that, just like dress-up, they may want to emulate what they’re moms are wearing. I just think it’s a really slippery slope,” Isham says.
She cites TV shows such as Toddlers and Tiaras, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Dance Moms, where children perform in provocative clothing to the praise of the parents, coaches, and judges.
Last year, three-year-old Paisley Dickey caused quite a stir when she appeared on Toddlers and Tiaras dressed as Julia Robert’s character from Pretty Woman—a prostitute. Dickey, who was not even school age, sported a long golden wig, thigh high latex boots, and a monokini.
Paisley’s mother, Wendy Dickey, told Entertainment Weekly, “Well, at this pageant there was an option to do celebrity-wear,” Dickey says. “And we thought about what we could wear with her being a brunette and Julia Roberts is my favorite actress of all time. I thought it was real cute to do Julia. She’s three, if she was 10 I never would have considered this. But as young as she is, I thought it was very comical.”