Support pours in for Moncton pole fitness performer after show cancelled
Some people are confused -- and even outraged -- about a decision to cancel a stage performance at Moncton's Ribfest.
A pole fitness performer says her routine was dropped just minutes before she was supposed to go on stage and now, she's getting lots of support from people who just don't get it.
Torn-down event signs are the only remnants of last weekend's Rotary Ribfest in Moncton.
The venue is back to its usual parking lot appearance, but the popular food fest has left a bad taste for many residents.
“It bothered me to see what happened,” said Joanne Doiron, a close friend of pole artist Christine Johnson.
Johnson was scheduled to perform at the festival Saturday night, but was shocked when her act was cancelled, just moments before she was to take the stage. She says a member of the Rotary Club of Moncton West and Riverview informed her that her performance was not appropriate for the venue.
“All her performances have a certain specialty to it, she puts a twist around all of them and it means something to her,” said Doiron.
Doiron says she allows her eight-year-old daughter to watch her perform and has no issues with pole fitness.
“My daughter does not see it in a negative way, she sees it as a sport, she sees it as strength-building, so there's nothing negative around it at all for her,” Doiron said.
Since taking to Facebook to share her experience, Johnson says she's received hundreds of positive comments about her work -- support that doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon, with one Facebook user writing:
“If the pole ran horizontally instead of vertically, she would be called a gymnast and no one would bat an eye.”
Johnson says she was told one of the reasons she was not allowed to perform was because her costume was not “family friendly.”
“If I were to compare it to cycling, so cycling you have to go really fast so you need tight shorts,” Doiron said. “Well for pole art/pole fitness, you need to wear those types of costumes because you need your skin to touch the pole at certain spots.”
In a brief phone call Wednesday, Colin Reeves, the vice-president of the Rotary Club of Moncton West and Riverview, said in part: “I wasn't there on site at the time, as incoming president I'm trying to work out exactly what occurred and why it occurred. But until that time, I can't make any further comment.”
Taylor Shaffer, a mom of three, says cancelling the performance took away the opportunity to talk to her children about the art form.
“I would have really liked to have had that conversation with them and be like ‘this is what they're doing, some people might think it’s inappropriate, but this is an exercise and look how beautiful she is.”
Johnson says while individual members of the Rotary Club have reached out to her, she has still yet to receive a formal apology.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Eilish Bonang.