[Joanne Web | Mirror UK]

“I just want people to be open minded rather than being negative about it – pole fitness is not sexual.”

A pole dancing club has been slammed by a top child psychologist for giving classes to kids as young as eight.

Pole Intentions encourages youngsters to perform a variety of moves on poles.

The owners say they want to remove the stigma which surrounds the exercise and say it isn’t sexual but helps the kids gain confidence instead.

But child psychologist Emma Kenny says even the idea of it is horrendous and only a certain type of man would enjoy watching young girls on a pole.

She said: “I think it is primarily female focused which immediately defines that it is about a women’s body and how she looks and less about exercise.

“For me it also provides a certain amount of discomfort because I think the only people who are really going to enjoy watching little girls pole dance, apart from their incredibly proud parents, is a particular type of man.

Zoe Hardy, who runs the pole fitness classes to kids as young as eight

“Kids shouldn’t be dancing around a pole – go to a class where they can learn acrobatics and do something where the definition of it has no sexual connotation.”

Zoe Hardy, 33, runs the weekly group for eight years plus in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts, with her twin sister Kelly.

She says the classes are a fun way to work out and is just a different type of exercise.

The mother-of-two said: “Many people still associate pole dancing with seedy strip clubs which is why we call it pole fitness.

“I just want people to be open minded rather than being negative about it – pole fitness is not sexual.

“We have had one or two bad comments saying ‘children pole dancing – that’s disgusting’ but if you actually watch the performances, it is a really beautiful piece.

“You can see how hard these girls worked and if you take the poles out and look at it like a dance piece – it is amazing.”