Atlanta Pole Dancing Studio Responds to Backlash Over Mommy and Me Classes: 'Lack of Awareness' (Exclusive)

Video of the studio's inaugural class went viral as people questioned whether kids should be involved in these kinds of classes

<p>K. Guest-Pritchett</p> Mommy and Me pole fitness classes

K. Guest-Pritchett

Mommy and Me pole fitness classes
  • An Atlanta pole dancing studio's Mommy and Me class went viral after customers argued it wasn't appropriate for kids

  • Children ages 4 to 14 participated in the inaugural class, which the owner argues is similar to playground and outdoor play kids already engage in

  • Owner Tia Harris tells PEOPLE the class is just the beginning of her vision for pole fitness options for kids of all ages

An Atlanta pole dancing studio is defending its decision to hold Mommy and Me classes for its customers.

Pink Pole Studios shared a video earlier this month from their inaugural “Mommy and Me” pole workshop, where moms and their kids "explore a variety of fun pole tricks and spins."

An Instagram Reel sharing highlights from the sold-out class quickly went viral as people argued whether it was appropriate to have kids participating in pole-based fitness.

Owner Tiajuanna ‘Tia’ Harris argues that the classes are no different than the kind of play kids engage in on playground equipment.

"The inspiration for our mommy and me pole fitness class stemmed from us looking to promote a unique bonding experience between mothers and their children while emphasizing fitness, strength, and confidence in a playful and supportive environment," Harris tells PEOPLE.

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<p>K. Guest-Pritchett</p> Mommy and Me pole fitness classes

K. Guest-Pritchett

Mommy and Me pole fitness classes

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Despite the online backlash, Harris notes that the classes were "well-received" locally. "This positive feedback not only highlights a potential demand for such offerings but also underscores the community's appreciation for the inclusive and engaging nature of these fitness sessions, fostering a supportive environment for both mothers and children to explore fitness, strength, and confidence together," she shares.

As she saw comments come in on the viral video, it became clear to Harris that "there's a lack of awareness surrounding pole fitness as a sport."

"It deeply concerns me to witness the tendency of some individuals to sexualize the sport, overshadowing its true essence as a form of athletic and artistic expression," Harris says. "I find it important to address this misperception and advocate for a more informed and respectful understanding of pole fitness."

Organizations such as the International Pole & Aerial Sports Federation have worked on establishing the sport in the professional sporting world, with work on getting pole sports added to the Olympic sporting roster.

<p>K. Guest-Pritchett</p> Mommy and Me pole fitness classes

K. Guest-Pritchett

Mommy and Me pole fitness classes

Harris understands it can be difficult to turn those who staunchly object to the practice into supporters and levels that it's "not our intention to invite those in opposition.'"

"Instead, we aim to foster a positive and inclusive environment that recognizes pole fitness as a legitimate form of exercise and artistic expression for individuals of all ages," she says.

The initial class sold out and it's just the beginning of a bigger program. "We have scheduled weekly ongoing classes for kids, with our next mommy and me workshop set for next month. Additionally, we're gearing up for a larger mommy and me workshop in May, coinciding with the celebration of Mother's Day."

"Looking ahead, active preparations are underway for a championship event taking place in Charlotte in July, where our kids will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and compete."

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Read the original article on People.