Not any more

Pole-dancing studio offers classes to underage girls

In Canada on August 1, 2010 at 19:35

Summer school for some girls means Pole 101.

The class is being offered by B.C.’s Tantra Fitness, one of a small but growing number of pole-dancing studios quietly extending their services to underage girls. The Canadian company, which operates in Vancouver and Langley, has taught students age 9 and up in regular classes and has gone as young as 5 years old in private lessons.

There’s even talk of introducing a mommy-and-me pole class.

“I just had a baby six months ago and I’m hoping she’ll start to learn pole-dancing as soon as she can,” says Tammy Morris, owner of Tantra Fitness. “Kids love the pole. If anything, it’s hard to get them off it because they’re such naturals.”

Morris, a former exotic dance champion, says she’s worked hard to separate the art of stripping from the art of pole-dancing, with the focus of the latter being fitness and technique. She acknowledges that the activity is steeped in sexual history, but nonetheless thinks any moral panic around its instruction to young people is misplaced.

“Children have no (erotic) association with the pole whatsoever,” says Morris, arguing that kids would see the same apparatus at a firehall, playground or circus. “Unless you teach someone how to grind and make reference to taking off your clothing, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Notably, the only Tantra classes on which there are firm age restrictions are Exotic Dance and Lap Dance, leaving open those with such names as Bellylicious, Sexy Flexy, Pussycat Dawls and Promiscuous Girls. But for anyone underage to participate, Morris says, a waiver must be signed by the youth’s parents.

Disney star Miley Cyrus sparked international uproar at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards after sidling up to a pole during a musical performance. The Australian Family Association has spoken out against tween dance classes that incorporate a pole, derided by a spokesperson as a “classic phallic symbol.”

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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