Shock and Awe

A dance studio posted an awesome video of some girls dancing at a competition. I was watching it, and started following some of Youtube’s recommended links. I watched a video of 3 girls dancing to “My Boyfriend’s Back.” It seemed to be a Salt N Peppa-like version, and was danced by 7 year olds. The girls were quite talented. While their talent impressed me, I was a bit uncomfortable watching the whole thing. Here were these cute 7 year old girls, shaking their booties like video girls. I am not a prude, but I struggle a bit with some of the moves I see. Where do you draw the line with dance moves? At what age do those moves become ok?

As a Mom of a 10 year old, I would feel very uncomfortable with my daughter dancing like that. Most girls that age are not mature enough to differentiate between how they act while they dance on stage, and how they should act in real life. Their on stage “character” spills over into their day to day behavior, and they may not even realize they are being inappropriate. I know that the older my daughter gets, the more competitive she will likely become. I also know that the moves will likely become more and more risque. That, unfortunately, is a reality of having a dancer in competition.

As a past dancer, I understand. While things are much different than they were when I danced competition, the girls who dance “like little sluts” as I have heard some people say, are doing what their choreographers give them. Let’s face it, sex sells. It’s cliche, and true. Sexy moves may get higher scores, even at competitions judged primarily by women; even when the dancers are only 7 years old. Their choreographers know they are talented, and they want them to win. They give them dances that will score them points. They put them in costumes that make it easy to see all their moves (and often show off their bodies). Both male and female instructors alike can be guilty of it.

My husband attended his first dance competition last spring with me. He was appalled by the skimpy outfits, extreme amounts of makeup, and sexy moves these young girls were doing on stage to earn a trophy. As he said after I showed him that video, “They are giving these little girl moves that are only seen in strip clubs… and dance studios.” It is ridiculous…

Here’s my question, what can we as parents do to make any changes in the expectations for these girls? IS there anything we can do, short of pulling them from a sport that they love?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Lopez
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 12:00:23

    I’m with you here. I’m not a parent, so technically I’m not free to make any comments. But I get grossed out even by high school-aged girls doing all their dirty dancing in dance corps and other “official” school groups. I’m not anywhere near being a prude, either. But I see no reason to push girls into earlier and earlier bootilicious attire or moves.

    Maybe I am a prude after all.

    Reply

  2. Sarah S.
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 14:16:47

    You are welcome to comment any time! 😀 I’m a little afraid of what the future will bring as my daughter enters her teen years. We’re not prudes, we are just old enough to know that growing up too fast is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Reply

  3. jeanne
    Jul 05, 2013 @ 20:03:26

    As a dance studio owner, I try to find a happy medium. I am too disgusted by some dance costumes and moves. I am not a prude either. I think we strive to make our dancers faces look great on stage, make up included so at least we can see their faces with the bright lights. I don’t mind two piece costumes, but I do agree that bra’s have gone to an extreme….and I personally make all my dancers wear tights. I hope that when people pick us as a dance studio they like what we are doing and what they see, if not they can go somewhere else. The dancers I teach are like family to me and I would never want it any other way. Trust me, I go to competitions and see what wins and it blows my mind….How do we change the judges that are letting these groups win, would be my question.

    Reply

    • Sarah S.
      Jul 06, 2013 @ 10:29:25

      Thank you for your response to this post! I’ve been around the dance and theater worlds long enough to understand the makeup piece! Though, I still wonder about the fake eyelashes. At what point did mascara and eye liner become not enough? 😉

      I know one of the families at your studio. I have enjoyed watching several dances from SMDA at Masquerade regional competitions, and Nationals this past year! Congratulations on making it to the finals with several dances! 🙂

      I appreciate your sentiments on the dancers being like family. I bet many of your parents feel the same way!

      Reply

  4. Sarah S.
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 10:33:48

    Here’s a post a dad wrote on the subject. This post gives another point of view. I can see where he’s coming from, and can appreciate much of what he says. That said, I still think young girls should still be age-appropriate. BTW – this is a great blog that I am now following: http://dancedadgourmet.com/?p=1297

    Reply

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