Tantra Fitness, a Canadian company that operates in Langley and Vancouver, has been expanding their pole-dancing classes into several studios and has even decided to teach students as young as nine years old and up in regular classes and as young as five years old in private classes. Adding a mommy and me pole dancing is on their agenda, as well.
The only Tantra classes that have enforced age restrictions are Lap Dance and Exotic Dance. The rest of the classes entitled, Sexy Flexy, Bellylicious, Promiscuous Girls and Pussycat Dawls, are open to anyone who wants to be sexy, and, well, flexy. But, if anyone underage wants to partake in the festivities, the owner, Tammy Morris, former exotic dance champion, states that the parents must sign a waiver for their children to participate.
Morris strives hard in her business to make clear divisions between the art of pole-dancing from the art of stripping. She wants the focus to be on proper technique and fitness. While she acknowledges that pole-dancing is soaked in sexuality, she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with allowing young children to play on the pole.
“Children have no (erotic) association with the pole whatsoever,” says Morris. “Unless you teach someone how to grind and make reference to taking off your clothes, there is nothing wrong with it.”
Morris also argues that children are exposed to poles at fire halls, playgrounds and circuses. We are the ones projecting sexual energy around the exercise, not the children.
One mother, and fitness instructor, Randi Moscovitch-Benko takes pole dancing classes with her seven year old daughter and states, “It’s just another form of exercise, and an awesome core workout...You should see (Kennedy’s) little abs--they’re rockin’.”
I decided to check out their website and see if these classes really were as sexually charged as the titles suggested.
“Promiscuous Girls” definitely lived up to its name, utilizing Britney Spears and Girlicious as musical inspiration. Say what you want about Britney Spears, but I don’t think most seven year olds need to be listening to her sing “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Come to think of it, none of us do.
“Pussycat Dawls” involves not only the pole, but props such as canes and chairs. Perfect for any child.
“Bellylicious” teaches you to “learn how to shake it” like Shakira! Sounds like the ideal birthday present for any eight year old!
What frustrates me isn’t the classes, themselves. Actually, as I perused the variety, I thought that a lot of them sounded fun, sexy and would make for a great workout. But, I am an adult. No matter how you slice it, these classes are sexually charged. Children are exposed to so much as it is. From Suri Cruise wearing tiny heels, to spray tanning your tween, little girls have no chance to be just that.
Even fifteen years ago, the clothing that my mom bought for me looked like clothing for a little girl. Now, the racks of clothes for young girls just look like miniature versions of the clothes I buy in the adult section. There is no differentiation and that saddens me.
I remembered anticipating turning thirteen so that I could wear heels and pantyhose, start plucking my eyebrows and shaving my legs. These were all rights of passage for young woman that were experiences I would not have appreciated or understood had I done them early in life. As a little girl, I never focused on my body or appearance. It was a magical time, being in a world of limitless imagination, without the fear of judgment.
By allowing young girls to be a part of adult women’s class (and world), we are stripping them of their innocence, of their magic. Hearing women around them talking about how they need to lose weight, discussing grown up problems and talking about being sexy for men is only going to seep into those little girl brains and start crossing wires.
You can’t remove the sexual charge from a sexually rooted exercise. The energy is in the room, in the pole, in the experience, and in the energy of the women. There are a lot of other forms of exercise that little girls can enjoy that don’t involve sashaying their hips, doing splits on poles, and tossing their hair. Let them be little girls. They have all the time in the world to pole dance. There’s only a window of opportunity where one can be eight years old.