A trio of young girls who train in Ashfield are thought to be the UK’s first under 18s to perform at a pole dancing competition.
Mia Handbury (11), Timea Varadi (8) and Tilly-Mae Grosse (8), recently travelled to Hertfordshire with Pole Theatre UK to provide an opening routine for a competition.
Although not competing, they received a rapturous round of applause from the crowd for their dance to a medley of James Bond themes.
But for the youngsters’ dance instructor, Zoe Hardy, she says the move is helping to break down social barriers, with many still associating pole dancing with seedy strip clubs.
Zoe, who runs Step Up studio and Pole Intentions Dance and Fitness in Sutton, said: “Pole fitness has become very popular in the last few years, but there are some who still frown upon it.
“If you say to people, ‘I’m a pole dancer’, the first thing many think about it is bars and clubs.
“There’s still that side of it, but it’s becoming more popular, it’s about fitness and more kids are now wanting to get involved.
“We run a class one day a week and we have a small group of kids who come along to it.
“It’s hard work and takes a lot of strength and stamina.”
Zoe says her classes are the only ones of their kind in the area, but demand is growing.
Mia Handbury, who attends Quarrydale Academy, recently finished third at Mansfield’s Junior Showtime after a pole-dancing performance.
Unsurprisingly, the talent competition - which has been running for more than 40 years - has never seen such a routine.
“We did not expect her to do that well, with pole dancing there are obviously different points of view,” added Zoe.
“We do pole fitness and went in there to show them what it’s about.
“We didn’t know which way it would go, but the judges liked it.
“Mia was over the moon, she was really pleased with herself and can’t wait to do more.
“She wants to build up her strength so she can do more. Her parents are really supportive of her and are really proud.”
Paul Bacon, the show’s organiser said: “This is the first time in Junior Showtime’s 42-year history that we have had a pole dancing entry.
“The judges were impressed by Mia’s dexterity and skill, with both the pole and her floor routine.
“The use of a pole for fitness training, as I understand it, is becoming quite common, and that’s the context in which she was judged.”