Forget football, athletics and ballet classes. What about a pole-dancing class for children? Yes really.

Up Yer Pole club in Lanarkshire, Scotland has launched pole dancing classes for kids aged 9 to 16.

Up Yer Pole, "an established pole-dancing school since 2002," is keen to promote the potential fitness benefits. Hour long lessons cost £5 and 'focus on strength, balance, flexibility and gymnastic based moves in a safe and fun environment', according to its website. "This is not just wiggling around a pole, this is fitness & specifically body conditioning & strength training."

But the move has sparked outrage among child-care campaigners - with one claiming the classes verge on child porn.

Children's charity Kidscape branded the classes "degrading" and called on them to be stopped.

Deputy director Peter Bradley told The Scottish Sun: "I am appalled. Having viewed their website I can say that these classes will sexualise youngsters at worst. Parts of the site verge on porn.

"This is exactly what paedophiles look out for. It's more Bangkok than Scotland."

Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith also blasted the plans. She said: "It is totally unacceptable. Parents will be horrified."

The kids' classes were even linked to a website offering nipple tassle twirling lessons.

Despite the furore, Up Yer Pole chief Pammy Cameron insisted the classes were NOT pole-dancing but "pole fit".
She added: "These are gymnastic classes, although we will be using a pole. It is open to boys too.
There are no sexy routines or provocative dance wear, it just so happens there's a pole involved."

Celebrity - but older - fans of pole dancing include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Teri Hatcher. But the traditional image of pole dancing remains that of scantily clad women writhing provocatively up and down a pole and watched by a predominantly male audience.

What do you think? Should children as young as 9 learn to pole dance? Or is it simply a trendy new exercise?

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