A controversial topic.
One that has had a surprising amount of attention in mainstream media around the world over the past two years.
Some people are against seeing kids spin around a vertical pole, whilst others don’t have any issues with it. Most people that are pro the idea have either had experience with pole fitness, are pole dancers themselves or generally have a better understanding of what pole fitness is actually about.
So, what’s the big deal and why the big divide?
Seeing how most negative comments derive from stereotypical prejudices, mainly from those who have no contact with, or no understanding about the sport… we’re here to BUST a couple of those nasty myths about pole dance, and pole dance for kids in particular!
- Pole dance promotes the sexualization of young girls
The outrage stems from seeing young girls in skimpy outfits spinning around the pole. Yes, we do require bare skin in order to be able to grip the pole, which explains why active pole wear is “minimal”, consisting of a cropped top and shorts or hot pants.
So let’s consider this: how is active pole wear any skimpier or less appropriate than a swim suit or a gymnastics leotard?
Unfortunately we do live in a sick world where kids can be looked at sexually by sexual predators and paedophiles. However, the problem then is not with pole dance/fitness. Child predators will look at a kid in a bathing suit or a leotard and have the same inappropriate thoughts. Is that to say we should not allow our kids to take up swimming or gymnastics?
And who is going to see these kids spinning around a pole in active wear? Parents, family and friends from the pole dance community and fellow pole dancers, all of whom have a respect for the sport. Not random leering men that we allow into the studio willy-nilly.
2. Pole dance is all about sex
Back in the eighties, pole dance may have been synonymous with strippers and seedy men’s clubs, but today it’s about fitness, fun, confidence and community.
It has been provisionally recognised as an official sport by the Global Association of International Sports Federation (given observer status along with arm-wrestling and dodgeball), and there are international championships run by international bodies, with a category for juniors in the mix. The International Pole Sports Federation even advocates it becoming an Olympic sporting category.
There has also been a proliferation of hugely talented young performers performing on the pole in various international talent shows. Their performances have been nothing short of powerful, acrobatic and inspiring, and completely void of any sensuality. An example is 8 year old Emily Moskalenko from Ukraine, who blew everyone away with her pole skills on the Romanian talent show Next Star.
Most people in the pole world would also know of Olga Trifonova, who started experimenting with pole dancing at the age of 8. At the age of 11 she was the winner of Russia’s Got Talent. She took the pole world by storm when she placed first in the junior category in the 2013 World Pole Sports competition, and very quickly became a well-respected and renowned pole dance professional.
3. Pole dance makes kids aware about their sexuality
Let’s get this straight, we’re not teaching kids exotic dance. Even for grown adults, taking exotic pole classes is less about sex than it is about body confidence and having a creative outlet.
Pole dancing for kids is purely fitness-based, without any sensual or provocative elements. Both girls (AND boys) are taught how to use a vertical apparatus to build their strength, coordination and flexibility.
If the concern is the objectification of girls, how is something like a beauty pageant for little girls more socially acceptable than pole dancing? Would you rather your child prance around on stage in a pretty leotard, or do a backflip off the pole in a display of athleticism and artistry? Food for thought.
To finish it off, let’s consider some of the benefits of pole fitness for kids, which are staggering:
- Pole fitness can match athletic training when it comes to strength, flexibility, discipline and endurance.
- It can improve motor skills, including balance, coordination and spatial awareness.
- Sports involving routines build the same neurological pathways that are formed during creativity, reasoning and analytical processes. This is neglected with repetitive sports e.g. swimming, cricket.
- It encourages team work and a healthier lifestyle, all the while providing a fun experience that keeps kids fully engaged throughout.
- Pole for kids is “play time” or “structured park play” – it’s really no different to swinging, spinning and turning upside down on a jungle gym or a horizontal gymnastics bar, for that matter. It is therefore no coincidence that countries with a long tradition in the field of gymnastics (e.g. US, Russia, China and Ukraine) have created pole and aerial fitness academies for children.
Adding to all of that, we can’t think of a better mother-daughter bonding activity to do! But you don’t have to take our word for it, check out these adorable posts of pole-dancing mummies training with their bubs:
We strongly believe that it is time for public perception to evolve, and training our young ones to see pole in a different light helps that evolution to start from a young age. Of course, including pole kids in our world in a safe, productive and nurturing way is also hugely important, and this is something we can strive for.
With this in mind, we are planning to launch a fitness class for little people called Cirquenastics. Under the guidance and instruction of a professional gymnastics and pole dance coach, classes will encompass all elements of aerial fitness, including pole, hoop, silks, and acrobatic skills. All kids aged 8 – 15 years will be welcome to attend with the permission of their parents.
If you’re a parent and still not convinced, why not come along and see what it’s all about?
Watch this space… we’ll be announcing the launch of these classes closer to the time.