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Atlanta pole dancing studio responds to criticism over viral video of ‘Mommy & Me’ class

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 22:50:20-05

ATLANTA, Georgia (WANF) -- Owner of Pink Poles Studios, Tiajuanna “Tia” Harris, never expected to receive so many negative comments when she posted a video of their “mommy and me” class.

“This wasn’t our first mommy and me class. It’s just the first one that got so much attention,” Harris said.

The video, posted to their Instagram at the beginning of January, shows kids and parents participating in what Harris calls a pole fitness workshop.

She says there’s no exotic dancing involved, just fun spins and tricks.

“People were just over-sexualizing kids. Not willing to understand the history behind it. Not willing to understand what we’re doing here specifically. Just judging and not wanting to do research to see why we’re doing what we’re doing, or actually what we’re doing,” Harris said about people that commented on the video.

Harris equates the activity to something kids may also do on a playground, or monkey bars. That’s why some moms say they had no problems with signing their daughters up to participate in the class.

“She loves coming here. She loves taking classes here. She loves the instructors here,” Erica Smith-Sowell said.

“We love it so much it’s our happy time. Like when daddy is playing basketball or coaching, we’re here having fun,” Quanita Manuel said.

Harris says the kids that take class at her studio are fully clothed and the music they play in class is also age appropriate. She added that other clients range from doctors, to lawyers, to teachers who take classes at Pink Poles to stay in shape.

“Pole fitness releases happy endorphins. Like it’s ten out of ten good. Nothing is bad about it,” Harris said.

She hopes her story will help bring more awareness to pole fitness, a concept that some organizations like the International Pole & Aerial Federation are even lobbying to have added to the Olympics.

“We’re used to seeing it be associated in exotic settings for adults and we just have to open our minds, change our mindset and say hey it’s not much different than a gymnast,” Harris said. “This is a happy place. This is a safe space and nothing anyone says or does will change that!”