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.