28/07/2011 11:40 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Pole Dancing Seven-Year-Olds Pictured On Facebook

Pole dancing seven-year-olds pictured on Facebook PA

Parents and councillors in Bolton, Greater Manchester have expressed their concern that a dancing studio has published pictures online of very young girls learning to pole dance.

The images show little girls in crop tops and leggings and vests and knickers hanging upside down from, and wrapping their legs around, a metal pole.

The classes are run by JNL Pole Fitness in Bolton.

The studio's instructor is unrepentant, saying the pole dancing classes are merely fun, good exercise and do not teach children anything erotic.

Traditionally the preserve of strip clubs and girlie shows, pole dancing classes are supposed to be good exercise and there has even been a campaign to make pole dancing an Olympic sport.

Jess Leanne Norris, 18, Miss Pole Dance UK 2011, who runs the classes, told the Sun: 'What I teach is pole fitness, nothing else. I have never received any complaints. There is nothing at all rude going on at JLN. I have had nothing but support, it is an art. We only put pictures on Facebook with parents' consent. It is nothing inappropriate.'

One mum, Kate Eaton, 33, from Harwood, who takes her daughter Jen to the classes agreed, saying: 'Jen had her seventh birthday party there with her friends. She loves it. I do not have a problem with it at all. It is nothing to do with lap dancing, it is gymnastics. It is not in the slightest bit sexual. I have put pictures of her on Facebook because she wants people to see what she can do. We wear short shorts and vest tops so we can grip the pole and they are not performing in front of anyone. If she was doing gymnastics in a leotard or at a swimming gala in a costume, anyone could be watching and people don't complain about that.'

However critics of the classes disagreed. One woman - a dance instructor - who did not want to be named said: 'I think there has got to be a line that should not be crossed with children. Children want to do it and some parents will let them do it, but it could damage their developing bodies and that might not show now.'said the Concerns have been raised about the nature of the photographs being posted online. '

Cllr Nick Peel, Executive Member for Children's Services, said: 'In general, parents and organisations need to be careful about publishing photos of children on the internet. It is unsafe and people trawl the internet looking for things like this.'

What do you think? Are pole dancing classes for children an appropriate form of exercise?