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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 18:15 GMT
Children are taught pole dancing
Pole dancing in Pocklington
Pole dancing has a traditionally erotic image
A Northumberland fitness instructor has defended plans to teach children as young as 12 how to pole dance.

Laraine Riddell will start classes in the New Year at a gym in Choppington, in which boys and girls will be taught to spin up and down on a pole.

Ms Riddell insists the classes are nothing but good exercise for children who are at risk of obesity.

But the children's charity Kidscape, said pole dancing was traditionally linked to erotic acts in clubs.

Ms Liddell said she wanted to distance her classes from images of naked women dancing for money in nightclubs.

'Fantastic feeling'

She said she had the support of parents who welcomed the classes.

Ms Riddell said: "This is a good way of tackling obesity. It is dancing and it is fun and gives you a fantastic feeling.

"I have seen the joy in the faces of children who are holding their body strength up, doing the splits, spinning round and upside down.

"The children don't come in with thoughts of strip clubs in their minds."

But Michele Elliott, director of Kidscape, said the classes were "out of order".

She said: "Pole dancing is traditionally an activity where women on stage are given money which is stuck in their underwear.

"To teach 12-year-old girls pole dancing is out of order. I am sure pole dancing is good exercise - but so is stripping. After all, strippers have great bodies.

"By all means give the kids exercise, but just skip the poles."

Pole dancing row in market town
09 Dec 06 |  Humber
Pole dancers in hot air balloons
12 Dec 05 |  Staffordshire

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