Pole artist not ‘family-friendly’ enough for Rotary Ribfest; apology forthcoming
Dancing on a pole and eating barbecued pork are incompatible activities, according to event organizers.
Christine Johnson had spent weeks working up a pole art performance for Moncton’s Rotary Ribfest in New Brunswick. The event was hosted by the Rotary Club of Moncton West and Riverview.
Johnson’s show was canned just minutes before she was scheduled to take the stage last Saturday, she wrote on Facebook.
The performer claims her pole routine was canceled because it was not “family-friendly” enough for the festival audience.
“Unfortunately after weeks of hard work in preparing to put on a great show for my home town, one narrow minded member of the Rotary Club Committee put a dramatic halt to my performance minutes before I was to go out on stage based on my choice of apparatus,” she wrote.
Johnson says pole art still has a stigma associated with the artform’s roots in strip clubs.
“Last night was a big realization for me that the battle is still very real and that so many people still need to be educated on what Pole Art is. It’s a sport, I am an Athlete, an Acrobat and what I do is no different than a Gymnast on a balancing beam.”
She says a Rotary Club Committee member cut her from the lineup.
“He stereotyped me, insulted me and gave me no chance to explain or express my truth.”
Johnson has been participating in pole art for several years but said this particular show had personal meaning for her.
“This particular routine was very special to me because the band had agreed to dedicate it to my dear friend that is facing her third fight with brain cancer.”
“I’m always careful when I talk about what I do, because if I call it pole-dancing, I often feel that right away people’s minds just go to the wrong place,” Johnson said.
CTV News Atlantic reached out to a Ribfest organizer but they refused to comment on the incident. But, CTV News Atlantic reported, in response to criticism on the event’s Facebook page, the group said in part:
“We are also very disappointed with the way things turned out. Christine is a beautiful artist and didn’t deserve how she was treated. An apology will be offered as we certainly recognize that an injustice occurred.”
Steven Adams is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Steven at 412-380-5645 or [email protected].