A care home has come under fire for booking pole dancers as entertainment for their elderly service users. Management at the Fairmile Grange home in Christchurch, Dorset, have defended the controversial entertainment choice, saying the residents had asked for "something a bit different". Apparently around thirty pensioners, both male and female, watched the show where a metal pole was installed in their home and six dancers in hot pants and crop tops gyrated to tunes including Abba and Singing in the Rain. At the end of the performances the elderly residents 'clapped' and asked for the dance team to come back for another performance.
Personal trainer Katie Henry, 35, runs the Poole-based Pole Dance Factory that was booked for the elderly residents, and she spoke to the press to explain why "I think it must have been the first time our dancers had performed to people of that age who weren't their grandparents. We performed to old classics like Abba and Singing in the Rain and the residents seemed to enjoy themselves as they clapped at the end. We have been invited back to perform again. You get criticism but pole dancing is what you make of it. It is a sport, it's been certified as a sport, and we specifically put on a sporty, gymnastic performance which we thought was appropriate for a care home."
One of the dancers, Mea Goodall, said the residents 'really enjoyed' the performance but some local councillors have opposed the move, and called it 'inappropriate'. Councillor Peter Hall suggested that it was probably not the sort of entertainment that the residents would have enjoyed or encouraged, but bosses at Fairmile Grange have reiterated the entertainment was chosen by the residents themselves. Izzy Nicholls, operations and quality director for Encore Care Homes, which runs Fairmile Grange, said: "Residents were given several choices of activity and specifically chose for a local pole dancing company to perform. This performance sport combines dance and acrobatics, requiring great physical strength and endurance. We are proud to challenge stereotypes and will continually offer our residents the choice to experience appropriate, new and progressive activities."