Non-sexy pole dancing is the latest fitness craze for children in Australia.
Girls as young as four are taking up pole dancing with their parents support as a form of exercise, a fun alternative to dancing and gymnastics, and some of them are pretty good at it. However critics say pole dancing is sexual in nature and introducing children to it isn't a good idea. It did, after all, originate in eighties strip clubs.
But that hasn't stopped it becoming so popular among some kids that there is even a pole dancing doll available (see below). Isn't she cute?
Pole Catz in Tweed Heads is one such establishment offering classes to young children. In fact classes are being offered in Australia, Canada and Britain and there's talk it may eventually become an Olympic sport.
Last month The International Pole Sports Federation announced new regulations. No 'overly erotic' dance moves will be allowed in competitions. The federation hopes to make pole dancing more respected.
For those of us who have taken part in a pole dancing class for fun at a friend's hen's night we know it does require extreme fitness to be able to navigate the moves needed to prop yourself up on a pole, swirl around it and hang upside down. And that's exactly what parents are saying about their decision to sign their kids up. It's a fitness choice, exercise and a skill they can learn.
However child psychologist Emma Kenny told News Ltd she is angered and astonished that parents are taking their children to these classes.
"To encourage young girls to use their bodies in a sexual manner is not, in my opinion, moral. Children are being pushed into adulthood long before they need to, and this is one of the most extreme examples yet."
JNL Pole Fitness in the UK is one such school offering classes to young girls. Like many pole dancing studios, they now offer classes that are completely non-sexual in nature and feel this is appropriate for young girls.
Owner Remi Tomlinson says girls as young as four have joined in. "They can climb upside down just like the older girls." She did admit however that professional pole dancers also train at her studio.
If you're still in doubt as to the appropriateness of pole dancing classes watch this demonstration by JNL on YouTube.
Would you let your child take pole dancing classes?