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March 03, 2009

Comments

Jamie

I had the same problem with a dance at my daughters school where grinding was deemed appropriate for middle school children--I think adults are living out their youth to the detriment of the children.It is of course usually the older adults who are most keen on being "cool"; who cares what they think someone must stand up for the children!

M.

Good for you!

Robin Goodfellow

If your daughter likes dancing, and you're worried about modesty... also be sure to encourage her in dances _other_ than Tango if she ever seems interested. Proper Tango hold effectively places crotch to crotch.

Yes, for "fine" arts, you probably need to seek out an older, almost "stuffy" school if you want a more refined, modest approach.

But as far as performance make-up is concerned... have you ever been on stage before? All the items you mentioned have a legitimate purpose on stage; they are NOT used to make anyone look particularly whorish. In one or two children's musicals, as a kid, I wore just as much make-up (with exception of mascarra, I think, because I'm a guy). The point of the make-up is so that you look "normal" under bright stage lighting. If your daughter wasn't wearing make-up, under bright lights, she would have overly pale skin and look like she has no lips/eye lashes/etc.

Fishnet stockings? Yeah, maybe that's a bit much. But the make-up has a legitimate purpose in regards to stage craft.

Alexandra Foley

Great post. I have had this problem myself and have heard others say that Irish Dance is a good alternative (though we haven't done it). I am just so glad that you found an alternative. I would think there would be a booming business for "pure" dance classes.
Great to have you aboard, Cady.

Wendy

Thanks for the kind words, Cady!

I hope you keep speaking out. The reason people are so eager to personally attack those who express more "modest" views is precisely because they know what a difference it makes. I bet you were expressing the views of a lot of parents, but most did not have the courage you did and just went along with it.

Speaking of gyration, check out this depressing new show:

http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/toddlers-tiaras/toddlers-tiaras.html

Christine the Soccer Mom

I agree about the stage makeup. My daughter is wearing much more makeup than I do (normally), but I also understand it's for the stage and that without it, her face would disappear beneath the lights.

She's been in tap and ballet here, but the tap costumes have become more revealing, and I am pulling tap next year. I'll figure out something to get her to practice for ballet only next year, especially if it conflicts with her sister's sports practices, but I cannot have her prancing around in immodest costumes. And the other routines - hip hop especially - are just horrible. I have toyed with switching her to the ballet company in the area (they, too, do a Nutcracker every year) if I feel the influence is too much.

I really applaud your letter, though. I hadn't thought of writing about the dance routines for the hip hop classes, but I certainly don't approve of the moves or the music used in the class.

Jamie

I see the point if it were a Broadway production but how much makeup do these tots need? There are just parents in the audience!

Caroline

I just found this blog and find it fascinating in topic, and this post particularly so!

In high school my friends and I watched the cheerleaders and pom squad with horror, while we sat on the sidelines in our baggy woolen marching-band uniforms. My two best friends were very Christian and the three of us -- though I am not religious at all -- were equally annoyed and offended, based on shared values that don't necessarily have anything to do with scripture.

Marauder

When I was a little kid, I was just dying to be in a dance class like the ones my cousins were in, with the sequined outfits and feathered headdresses and bright makeup. They got studio pictures taken with each new costume and my grandma would show the pictures to everyone.

Instead, my mom put me in a ballet class taught by a teacher whose entire family had extensive professional ballet experience, and I had to wear a black leotard with sleeves, light pink tights, and light pink ballet slippers. We didn't have receitals. I thought it was boring and hard and quit as soon as my mom would let me (she made me stick it out for two years).

Then in high school, I was in a dance performance that our school did every winter. You didn't have to have any experience, and while the really good dancers got put in a lot of dances, everybody was in at least three (out of about fifteen). It was a Catholic school, so nobody was allowed to wear anything racy, but in one dance the other girls and I all wore black slacks and satiny red shirts. Our dance was to a concert version of "Proud Mary", and everybody loved it so much that the people in charge of the upcoming talent show (a separate event) actually asked us to enter with it.

What I loved about that whole experience was that we got to do a fun dance, be on stage, have everyone cheering, and it was more about attitude and the dance itself than what we looked like. It was fun like the stuff my cousins had gotten to do, only without all the heavy makeup. I wish when I was a little kid there'd been some other alternative.

petrufied

I'm happy that you stood up for what you feel is best for your kids. If I am a mom I would have done the same! Am also glad you found a better place for your daughter to learn ballet and I think with the right mindset she can be a very awesome ballerina :D

In dance and theater, though, makeup is a requirement--true, your face will disappear if you didn't wear any. I guess a parent can use this as a takeoff point to teach his/her daughter about what makeup is for. On its own, it's not really something that makes a kid grow up too soon--it's how it is used, the reasons behind its use, that separates a kid onstage from a woman getting ready for a job interview, or a date. Why don't you try asking your daughter what she thinks of the makeup?

I have a friend who is 10 years old--she's part of our puppet-theater group. In one scene in our play, she steps out onstage as a golden deer and we have to give her makeup--which in this case is a lot like face paint. She loves the role but she thinks the makeup is itchy, and after every show she's only too glad to wash it off. :D

Patricia

This is a great article, thanks so much for sharing!

By speaking up, you are already making a difference!

Sally

Yes, I have a problem with this too. My daughter does dance at a vrey professional studio that does not allow the type of raunchy dancing you saw--although some years we skate closer to the edge than others. What I have been appalled at is "show choir" programs at some high schools--I've seen some incrediably sleazy stuff and like you have covered my son's eyes. So far the actual cheerleaders and marching band flag/pom squards are OK, but the high shcool also has "dance teams" that perform at half-time and they are appalling. Thankfully my very modest daughter does NOT want to be what she calls a "field decoration".

Paolo Bataller

These days, such "dirty dancing" is getting out of hand. The problem here in the Philippines is that you see a lot of noontime shows featuring scantily-clad women doing sleazy dances. The reason is to better attract the "masses"(or so they say).
But children also watch these shows and I'm concerned that they may get the wrong impression that such dancing is considered "normal" and totally appropriate.

Saidahwk

I just found this blog and I really enjoy it, by the way!

I grew up in lots of dance and gymnastics and it's really a matter of mentality. Having done mostly ballet, jazz and gymnastics, most of us weren't wearing make up to look "pretty," or "cute," but because it was apart of a costume. 5-year-olds don't think make up is pretty unless people tell them "oh, look how pretty your make up is!" Most kids (and even teenagers) just think that the amount of make up you have to wear on stage is just uncomfortable. Having been involved in dance and gymnastics and acrobatics for 20 years, I can say that you can find good clubs and studios; you just have to really look for them.

Hannah

Oi vay. I can't say I'm at all surprised by your experience--just so saddened. How is a striptease "healthy" or appropriate? The logic the proprietress of the dancing academy must've used escapes me.

haize

thanks for this i'm considering dancing but modestly now i wont dance unless i m modest i wouldnt want that experience happen to my dad or brothers

Karen Brothersen

I have many of the same concerns as you! I am a dancer myself and decided to open up my own studio with MY OWN standards. I can't leave it up to others to help my children grow in modesty and morality. My studio has a full modesty policy. No tank tops, no booty shorts, and no mid drifts! I have clean lyrics and wholesome movements. I feel children should be CHILDREN, not strippers. I feel it takes away from the beauty of dance. It is hard for me to find costumes that keep up with my strict standards. So i end up layering with a short sleeved leotard under costumes. Good luck to you! Stay strong and help the few of us out there to make a difference some how!

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