Monday, September 3, 2018

Kindergarten in Shenzhen, China, Welcomes Students With a Pole Dancing Show

Advertisements for jobs and classes at a pole dancing school in Zhongshan
Advertisements for jobs and classes at a pole dancing school in Zhongshan, Guangdong (October 2017)

Six years ago I met a college student working part-time handing out printed advertisements for a pole dancing school in Changsha, China. Later, I met another student doing the same. After asking a few questions about the school, she invited me to take a look myself. Soon I was having an enlightening conversation with a manager during my first visit to a pole dancing school.

Since then, in a number of other cities in China I have come across signs of more pole dancing schools, and the activity's popularity has grown as a way to stay physically fit while enjoying oneself. Although pole dancing occurs in some locations, such as nightclubs, where it can more typically be found in the U.S., there are differences between the two countries in how it is perceived.

Still, when I first saw a remarkable tweet today from Michael Standaert, a freelance journalist based in Shenzhen, indicating his children's kindergarten had put on a pole dancing show for the young students on their first day of school, I wondered if it was some sort of joke.

He wasn't joking.

Below are most of Standaert's tweets on the topic, including videos of children watching pole dancing performances and some of his replies to others' comments. The tweets are from multiple threads and presented in the order they were tweeted. Read to the end to learn the school's decisive response.

It looks like opening day will be a bit different next year.


  1. I mean this with no disrespect, but do you think you might have just been a bit of a prude? Was there really any difference between a pole dance and something in a music video?

    1. No disrespect taken.

      Shorter answer: The only personal opinion regarding the event I wrote about here was that I found it remarkable / unexpected, which would be true regardless of whether I thought the pole dancing was OK or not. I would agree there are numerous music videos which include dancing with similar amounts of sexuality or sensualness. Kindergartens don't typically play them for students either though.

      Longer answer: This will appear in a later post. I'll share more about my opinion on the dancing and also explain why I think people can believe it was inappropriate without necessarily being prudes. Stay tuned!