Pole-dancing for 6-year-olds

A Scottish studio offers classes to young kids, framing it as gymnastics that "just so happens" to involve a pole

Published July 28, 2010 7:01PM (EDT)

Strip dance training in private gymnasium (Yuriy Nedopekin)
Strip dance training in private gymnasium (Yuriy Nedopekin)

Once you've learned the alphabet, you're ready for the ABC's of stripping. At least that seems to be the thinking at Scotland's Up Yer Pole dance studio, which I've learned (via The Frisky) is offering to teach kids just out of kindergarten how to work the pole.

This has predictably stirred up outrage, but the head of the studio, Pammy Cameron, says the classes are more accurately described as gymnastics, and "there are no sexy routines or provocative dance wear, it just so happens there's a pole involved." There just so happens to be a pole involved? Just like Miley Cyrus' ice cream cart dance routine just so happened to revolve around a glinting pole. And that troupe of 7-year-old dancers who recently went viral? They just so happened to be wearing turn-of-the-century hooker wear.

These sorts of defenses seem disingenuous at first, but the more I think about it, the more genuine I believe them to be. Stripping and pole-dancing have been successfully sanitized and resold to the mainstream. Martha Stewart recently twirled around a pole on national television, fer crying out loud. As I wrote in a post about a petition to get pole-dancing included in the Olympics, these classes are now "considered good, clean fun for women who want to play at being bad without the risk of having a Scarlet-letter stamped on their chest" -- women who will likely never set foot inside an actual strip club (heavens, no). The pole has been transformed into a symbol of flirty, sexy fun along the same lines as burlesque costumes for kiddie dance troupes.

Far be it from me to destroy this cultural cognitive dissonance, though. Let's just keep telling ourselves that the pole just so happens to be there.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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