How old do I have to be to pole dance?

by Kourtney

I'm 16 and I'm really interested in doing pole dancing lessons for fitness reasons, but is this an okay age to do it at, do the clubs or fitness centres let you do the lessons there if you're 16?

Your Pole Pal says...
Thanks for your question Kourtney. I answer similar ones all the time, so I can tell you that you're not the only young woman wondering this same thing!

The fact is, you'll get a different answer depending on who you ask, but I'll assume you mean in a legal sense. In other words, are you old enough to take pole dancing classes without your parents' permission?

I'm not familiar with the laws of the UK, but I can tell you that whether or not you're allowed to participate in a particular activity usually depends on whether you're old enough to legally sign a waiver.

If you've reach the age where you can enter into a contract on your own, this is the age at which most gyms, fitness centres, and pole dancing studios will allow you to take classes. It generally has less to do with the specific class, and more to do with the legalities of the studio or gym requiring a signed waiver.

The waiver is, in turn, normally a requirement of the gym or fitness centre's insurance policy. So the age at which you can take classes is usually determined by the age at which you are legally allowed to sign a waiver, simply because a signed waiver is required by the studio's insurance company.

In other words, if the gym were to allow you to take a class when you hadn't signed a waiver, or had signed but were under the legal age for doing so, they would not be insured should something happen to you while participating in the class.

If your parent or legal guardian is willing to sign the waiver on your behalf, this is normally all that's required. However, a gym or fitness studio may have their own internal policies that spell out which classes you may participate in, even with a parental signature on your waiver.

There are many possible reasons for such restrictions, such as:

  • safety issues - muscles and bones that are still developing need special consideration, which is why access to weight room equipment is often restricted for younger teens

  • comfort issues - if a class is directed at a particular segment of the population (ie women over 55) the other students may feel very uncomfortable having someone much younger than this in class

  • appropriateness of the material being taught - the owner or manager may make a policy that certain classes are not suitable for students under a particular age because of the subject matter. For example, a striptease or burlesque class may be offered only to students over the age of majority, due to perceptions about what might go on in class (whether or not these perceptions are true).

I hope this information is helpful and that you enjoy your pole fitness classes once you're able to enroll!

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