[Courtney Crane | Geelong Advertiser | July 21, 2014]

“It’s a lot of fun… you also see a big improvement in their self-esteem.”

A GROVEDALE dance studio is offering pole dancing classes for girls as young as five.

And they’re not alone. Little girls across the county are ditching more traditional after-school sports to give the pole a twirl, joining a growing trend that has some campaigners up in arms.

Studio Devine owner Chloe Janev said the classes, which she has run “on and off” for seven years and started again at the beginning of 2014, had been borne out of demand from local mums. Six girls aged five to 12 currently take part.

Ms Janev’s kids and adult pole-sport classes both incorporate stretching, dance moves, climbing, pole tricks, gymnastics and routines.

“I had parents in the adult classes asking if they could bring their children along, and I started the kids class so I could teach in a way specifically tailored to young ones as they tend to have a lot less fear than their mums,” she said.

“It’s great for their strength and flexibility and, while some people may say you can get that from other sports, the best thing is that they are lifting their own body weight, which is good for their joints. It’s a lot of fun and you also see a big improvement in their self-esteem.”