Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

College in pole dancing show row


Students watch the pole dancing demonstration

A row has erupted at a Devon college after a pole dancing company was brought in to perform for students.

The demonstration, at South Devon College, Paignton, led to some teachers complaining it was inappropriate for the younger students aged 14.

The Art of Dance school was invited to give two demonstrations as part of the college's Be Healthy Week.

The college said that although a pole fitness demonstration had taken place, there had been no pole dancing.

It added that no "official" complaints had been received and has refused to comment further.

Phone recordings

A packed crowd of around 1,000 students, aged 14 to 19, watched the first display performed by company boss Sam Remmer in the main public area of the college.

Mrs Remmer said many of the teenagers recorded the performance on their mobile phones.

Returning to the college two days later for the second demonstration she was told to move inside the sports hall and away from the main public area as there had been "a number of complaints".

She said she was told staff had complained that after the first performance pupils were more interested in watching their mobile phone recordings and swapping pictures and videos than they were in their afternoon classes.

Mrs Remmer said she agreed to do the demonstration for free providing she could post videos of the event on the internet and use them as advertising.

Sam Remmer
I am really angry that bad pole dancing stereotypes are being thrown in my face
Sam Remmer, The Art of Dance

However, she said the college subsequently contacted her and demanded she remove all videos relating to the display from the internet and asked that she does not make the demonstration public as they "want to draw a line under the issue".

"I consented to removing the videos that had students in them as they had not signed any consent forms," said the 32-year-old.

"However, I refused to remove the videos filmed in the sports hall as they did not feature any students or references to the college."

Mrs Remmer claims that unless people are educated in the differences between modern fitness pole dancing and lap dancing then "negative stereotypes will not go away".

She added: "I am really angry that bad pole dancing stereotypes are being thrown in my face.

"Pole dancing is appropriate for young teenagers at school as it is a mix of dance moves and gymnastics and is excellent for fitness.

"If anything my classes empower women and therefore encourage them to be in control of their bodies."

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