A Chinese kindergarten welcomed back students back from summer break with a bizarre pole dancing performance on Monday, sparking outrage among parents.
Footage of the incident, posted to Weibo, shows a woman dressed in risqué clothing, dancing around a pole on a low stage while three- to six-year-old children and their parents watched from below in southeastern China.
After the incident, the Shenzhen Xinshahui Kindergarten, in Bao’an District, issued an apology to parents and students explaining that the performance was intended to “lighten up the atmosphere.”
“We apologize for not putting more consideration into the planning of the dance performance and for causing a bad experience among students and parents,” Lai Rong, the pre-school’s principal, said in the apology.
On its official Weibo account, the Shenzhen Education Bureau said that pole dancing for children is “not appropriate” and confirmed that the ministry will investigate the incident. “The education bureau believes it is not appropriate to arrange pole dancing performances for children in kindergarten,” it said.
The authority has also called for Lai to be dismissed as the kindergarten’s director.
Despite the apology, parents took to social media to speak out about the incident, with some threatening to withdraw their children from the institution and demanding a refund of their tuition fees. Several clips of the pole dance, as well as one other burlesque performance by a second dancer, was also widely shared on online.
“What was the principal thinking? Pole dancing is entirely inappropriate in a school setting,” one parent wrote on Weibo. “I demand my money back.”
“Pole dancing is by nature sexy and flirtatious, and by that measure, it is for the eyes of adults, not young children,” an anonymous user said.
Some said parents should not entrust their young children to a school with such taste and inclination, whereas others were more measured in their response.
“Well, I’m speechless. Pole-dancing could be an Olympic sport in the future. It’s an art form. Should it be denounced because performers don’t wear much? Do you cover your eyes when you watch diving events and figure skating?” another user wrote.
“What kind of prejudice is this? What’s wrong with pole dancing? A lot of children practice Latin dancing, ballet, jazz nowadays—pole dancing is just another art form!” one user wrote.
Xinshahui Kindergarten is a government-owned school that spans over 3230-square-feet of land.