Not Your Mama's Dance Routine

I took dance lessons for three years, from age 4 to age 7. I was not a particularly talented dancer, which comes as no surprise now given that I am a spectacularly uncoordinated adult. The only reason I succeeded in blending into the crowd at the goth dance clubs I used to frequent in college was because I mastered what the hubs likes to call my "box step." Basically, I moved my feet in a square pattern over and over, while hoping desperately that everyone else was too caught up in their own angst to notice my pathetic attempts at rhythm.

This is me as a freshman in college on the way to the local goth club at which I tended to spend a lot of time. And yes, I realize that a true goth would never be caught dead (ha) grinning from ear to ear like this.

Apparently, dancing has changed quite a bit since the early 80s, when my routines consisted of moving awkwardly to "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" and "One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People-Eater."

You've probably seen this video already. It went viral a few weeks ago. But because I'm behind on blogging, I'm writing about it after the buzz has died down. Click the Pause button and let the video load for about 30 seconds, or it will end up starting and stopping often.

Very few things leave me speechless.

This? Rendered me completely silent the first time I saw it.

I was, without a doubt, horrified.

I've read various comments on this video on several different websites. There is a large faction of people who have accused those with reactions like mine of seeing something (meaning, something sexually exploitative) that is simply not there. Of refusing to appreciate this video for what it is: a clip that showcases the dancing talent of these seven-and-eight-year-olds.

But I cannot look at this video without physically cringing. There is something deeply disturbing about watching little girls perform bumping and grinding dance moves better suited to Striptease than to the 3rd graders doing them.

An adult choreographed this routine. More adults sat in the audience and went wild while these girls danced.

Another adult designed costumes better suited for hookers or strippers in sizes to fit little girls.

And yet another grown-up put this video on a website not with a title warning viewers that what they were about to see was wrong on so many different levels, but instead with this: "Little girls working it to 'Single Ladies' and they are Killin' It!"

Walk into any clothing store and you'll see clothes for Kindergartners that look like those an 18-year-old would wear. Walk into any spa, and you'll see services marketed to this same age group and younger.

So really, this routine for a dance competition shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did.

But as the mother to two daughters, I cannot help but feel depressed and powerless to do anything to shelter them from the world they're going to enter into in just a few short years.

What do you think about this video?

9 Responses to “Not Your Mama's Dance Routine”

  1. # Blogger Rachel

    My thoughts are the same as yours. I was horrified. Not at the children but at what their mothers and coaches were thinking.

    Here's to hoping our children get just a tad of our nerdiness.  

  2. # Blogger Andrew

    You link to a Romanian web site?!?

    I think it's the costumes. If they weren't dressed like Moulin Rouge showgirls, it might be a bit less nauseating.  

  3. # Blogger The Queen B

    Sadly, I was not at all shocked. I'm not shocked anymore by how sexualized society has made our little girls. I'm disgusted, very offended that our society is teaching my daughters that all they are good for is there sexuality. In my house though, we're sending completely different messages to our girls. I'm empowering them all the while looking down at a society who is allowing this, and fueling this mindset.  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Absolutely disgusting! There is something so very wrong with the parents and the coaches here. The song, the dancing, the costumes - revolting! What the hell is wrong with a society that allows this? And those of us that think this...well we are 'nerds' and are kids are mocked for being...KIDS!!! Kids should be kids!! It all breaks my heart...what a difficult task we have ahead of us. Around my part of town it is summer school team fundraising time which means car washes in every parking lot - the girls are all dressed in VERY tiny cheap bikinis - not to mention that they are all so horribly out of shape thanks to all the junk food and underage drinking - they look like total skanks. Where are the parents, coaches and school principals? Why are these girls allowed to dress like this on street corners to raise money for the school volleyball team??  

  5. # Anonymous Ness at Drovers Run

    My thoughts honestly is that I think their talent shone more than anything else, but then that's me looking through a moms eyes. I shudder to think what someone with less innocent eyes might think from that routine. Some of the moves were definitely inappropriate, the costumes were WELL out of order and completely inappropriate.

    The problem is more about how girls of this age are exposed to 'sexuality' of this nature - because honestly - little girls in pony-tails would dance like this at home in their bedrooms to this music, the same way we danced to 'Like a Virgin' and dressed like 'Desperately Seeking Susan-Madonna' when we were 11! The same way our grandparents baulked at Elvis when our moms were teenagers.

    Until parents take a firmer stand against what their kids are seeing on television times will keep changing. I'm not saying that we should keep our TV's turned off, but rather that there should be a move by the television networks to put more wholesome stuff on TV instead.  

  6. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    I didn't watch the video, but I know the one you are talking about because I heard about the buzz over it. It's really sad that people think that is entertaining. I suppose it is -- for sport, though, not the kind of attention the girls should really get. Maybe I'm just too paranoid, but I keep my kids covered up in public because I'm concerned pervs might be watching them -- and I have boys!  

  7. # Blogger Mom24

    I didn't watch it either, but I do know exactly which video you're talking about as well. I have no idea what the parents and other adults were thinking. Julianna dances, Rebekah danced, I would never have allowed anything like this, not the costumes, not the moves. I am so tired of hearing "that's just how it is", because it most definitely does not have to be. If that's the only thing that will win then parents need to just start saying NO.  

  8. # Blogger Rebecca

    I must say that in general the costumes and makeup worn by most of the kids in those "dance" classes actually horrifies me. When I was young I only took ballet and it was very professional. I was never subjected to the other kinds of dance classes and don't actually plan on sending my two girls to them either. They can take gymnastics and ballet but I'll wait until they are older if they want to take other forms of dance.  

  9. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Ahem. I never saw that one until today, but it's quite typical of the dance you will see if your daughter chooses anything other than ballet or tap. (Hence the reason Corinne did ballet for 2 years and I am letting her try tap in the fall). The hip hop and jazz dance classes are very questionable. No where near as suggestive as those girls were, but I think because those girls were so much more polished than the girls at our dance school were!

    What's sad is that they are VERY talented girls and they may think (at 8 or 9) that this is the way you should be dancing as a child.

    I agree that little girls DO dance suggestively at home. I've seen Corinne shaking her booty and girating in the backyard many a times. BUT. I put a stop to it. And the neighbors and I all tell the girls that this is not a nice way to dance and that shaking your butt in front of the boys is not appropriate. We don't put them on stage and encourage them to do it in unison!  

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