My objections to the only slightly less morally questionable than pageants world of dance festivals has been clearly illustrated by the following video of a seven-year old group of hip hop dancers in a recent competition:
The company YAK that distributed the video has forced YouTube to remove the video but you can view some of it on the GMA link below.
Not a single group of girls at my daughter’s dance school is even a tenth that talented and I am including the older teenagers. It’s part genetic gifting on behalf of the universe and part internal combustion propelling one to work it, but … where the hell were their parents when those costumes were handed out?
And seriously, seven-year olds shaking it like their dinner was at stake?
You can argue the skill it no doubt takes to perform the dance, but it will in no way detract from the fact that whoever let those little girls dress like hookers and get up on that stage to grind out what adults would be willing to admit was the softer side of soft porn if the dancers were grown women has no internal compass where right and wrong is concerned.
Normally the scantily clad ends when their tummies lose the round baby fat look and starts up again at late pre-teen. I haven’t personally witnessed girls in the 6 to 10 range so tarted up, but I am not surprised either. Just feeling vindicated that my spidey sense about the whole “dance” culture is accurate and glad that my seven-year-old is losing interest in favor of soccer and yoga.
I was relieved to read that web reaction was generally uneasy to appalled.
But who are their parents? Surely at least one of them thought this was really wrong? Even if they didn’t speak up too loudly? Of course, the dance mom culture being what it is – sheep-like and creepily willing to go along with ideas and demands that I am pretty sure non-dance parents would roll their eyes at and refuse to do – I am not too surprised.
We are a sick, sad culture. Hypocrites who moan about go-go dancing tots while feeding our children’s dreams of dancing near naked on stage with our own addiction to Dancing with the Stars*.
Age appropriateness. When did that become passe?
Update: My friend Alicia wrote an excellent bit of commentary on this at her blog. She brings up the valid point of parental responsibility in teaching our children how/when to say “no”. She also points out something that hadn’t occurred to me. Music is internalized. We become the music – taking on its intention – when we sing and dance. Think about that minute.
Additional Update: Two of the parents of the girls – who are eight and nine year olds and not seven – appeared on GMA to defend themselves. They talk about context and that the performance wasn’t meant to be seen by anyone outside family and friends and other competitors. They also fell back on the tired excuse of “but it’s pop culture and everyone else is doing it”. Naive, blinkered, and typical of the kinds of parents I ran across all the time when I was teaching in public school. They never question or consider the long term consequences.
*Not my addiction, mind you, I watched it with my mom, BIL and sister, DNOS, over Spring Break and was puzzled, and weirded out by the way flat screens make everyone look puffy in a partied too much on the weekend kind of way.
13 thoughts on ““Single Ladies” Are Not Seven Year Old Girls”
As a dance teacher I’m wowed at the precision of the movements and synchronization of the turns. As a woman and mother I’m simply disgusted. And the parents…It’s okay for your child to simulate sexual moves as long as it’s for a competition? Sorry, but no…
“The girls weren’t meant to be on the internet” On the internet or not the dance moves, costume and song choice is not appropriate for this age group. These parents are making excuses. “Costumes are meant to show body lines and movement” is a cop out! Costumes are available that don’t sell a sexy image of a 7 or 8 year old child.
This is very sad.
I came over from UB’s place–and wow–I watched this through a couple of times, and felt so sad and disturbed. What Daisyfae said–child porn–I simply can’t think of another way to describe this. Anyway, it’s an excellent post.
It is sad. Apparently the girls’ parents did the morning talk shows and couldn’t see how what they’d allowed their daughters to do was wrong despite the majority of American telling them exactly what was wrong.
Thanks for stopping by.
It’s pop culture so it’s okay.
Thanks for the link. I think I’m more discouraged than ever.
i wouldn’t have let my daughter out in public in that outfit in her teens – never mind the grindage that would put a professional pole dancer to shame.
i fought the 3rd grade cheerleading coach (and lost) over the old school cheer “Firecracker, firecracker bang bang bang! Who in the heck’s going to win this game? The boy’s got the muscle, the teacher’s got the brains, the girl’s got the pretty legs to win this game”.
But this? child porn.
I almost wish I hadn’t seen this. There’s a good argument for keeping ones head in the sand. I’m glad for the reactions although I don’t know if they’ll do any good. Cynical old me.
This video has been bothering me since you posted it on FBook. (I even had to write about it in my own blog.) It really just boggles my imagination to think that the parents are sitting in the audience cheering these LITTLE GIRLS on. And grandparents are at the competitions, too, most likely.
Maybe the instructor is just thrilled to have a talented bunch of kids to work with. Maybe the mothers are living vicariously through their daughters. But what FATHER ever wants ANYONE to see his daughter dressed like that?
Yes, the parents were MIA. What about the teacher/choreographer? What were they thinking?!
That’s just it. No one is thinking. The teacher was probably so thrilled to have such a talented group that she forgot that putting little girls in underwear and having them gyrate and grind in front of a primarily adult audience is fairly close to prostituting them. That video? It’s viral. Who knows who’s watching it with his hands in his pants.
I second the “WHERE where the parents?!”
Tell you what, in 8 years (if it’s a girl) I see/hear of her dancing around in something like that, you can bet I’ll be at Miss Debbie’s School of Dance having some words with the administration.
However, take away the “ew” of the costume, those girls are talented dancers.
May GOD Bless!!! Mark