For those of you who have not had the opportunity to attend a dance competition recently, let me assure you that this type of "performance" is NOT abnormal at these events. These are very typical costumes, music, and moves. These children are all very talented, but it turns my stomach to watch them perform in this way. This is why MY daughter will NOT be participating in any more dance competitions (with the exception of Youth America Grand Prix, which is a competition of classical ballet variations judged by professional ballet dancers and completely different from these more typical competitions). This is also why Paige is again taking dance from a pre-professional studio which is primarily classical ballet and pointe.
Whew. OK....clearly, this is a hot button issue for me. I just don't understand parents who would go along with "tarting" their 7 or 8 year old daughters up and having them dance in a suggestive manner. As Clay put it at the last (and I truly mean THE LAST) competition that Paige attended, "Huh. All that was missing was a pole..."
I know some of you who read this blog have daughters who DO participate in these competitions, so let me stress that there are many talented dancers who perform in tasteful, age appropriate costumes and who perform more traditional dance moves - rather than the "hoochie mama" ones! Unfortunately, I have seen more and more of this type of thing, and it seems that the big winners are usually the ones with the more risque moves and costumes.
I don't blame the girls - they're just kids, and they are doing what they've been told. I don't even blame the dance instructors. Much. They want to win, and unfortunately, these are the types of performances that win. I DO blame the parents. Where is their common sense? Where is that little kernal of parental responsibility that, when presented with a costume and moves like this, would just say, "Nope. Huh-uh. NOT happening."....That's what being a parent is all about - putting your foot down sometimes and just saying NO.
What is wrong with our society that we encourage this type of thing? It's not just the dance competitions either....if you have a daughter, you know what I'm talking about. Try buying an appropriate outfit for a 12 or 13 year old girl - one that is not tight or low cut. It's very difficult. It's also very frustrating.
OK. I'm done.
Thanks for "listening"....
(I posted this two hours ago, and wanted to add a little postscript. I think the problem is not just with the parents and judges and dance teachers - it is with society as a whole. Let's face it, judging by the cheers and catcalls in this video (and what I have witnessed at these type of events) - we are giving tacit approval to sexualizing young children, which just generates more. I wonder why the audience didn't just get up and walk out of this performance? Surely, there were at least SOME who saw this and were just as disgusted and nauseated by it as I was. At the last competition Paige performed in, there was a teenage girl in a skimpy costume who was, literally, writhing around on the floor. It was awkward, and it embarrassed me. I didn't really watch it - I looked away. But why didn't I get up and walk out? In retrospect, I am ashamed of myself for NOT doing that. We need to stop being silent when we are disgusted. I need to stop being silent. Hopefully, the public outcry that this video has generated will cause more parents/teachers/judges to think twice before they choreograph suggestive routines, purchase revealing costumes, or reward this type of "performance")