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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dance Recital

The girls had their dance recital over the weekend! They were so excited to show off their routines! Over the two days of recitals, 18 family members were there to support them!

We are probably the farthest things from stage parents. We let our girls know that if they ever become truly unhappy about dance, they are able to quit at
any time. They are also aware that they alone are responsible for practicing.

We do sit through many "shows" in our living room, but the issue of practicing or perfecting any of their routine is never pushed upon them. Simply encouragement!

Their Summer recital was a goal they worked towards each week since the Fall session began and they did an exceptional job preparing for it! We are so proud of their hard work and they had two fantastic performances!

Congratulations to our two dancing stars!

That being said, I must turn to the more concerning side of what I experienced at this recital. I must admit I was disappointed in the overall performances this year! I found the song choices appalling (ex.
Christina Aguilera's Candyman) and the dance routines inappropriate for the younger girls in the show.

The most unbecoming act of the night was the one that directly followed Lana, who tap danced her heart out in a glittery cowgirl outfit. These girls were dressed as chefs with belly-exposed, button down "jackets" and frilly short black skirts. I suppose the little puffy white hat on their head was to emphasize the chef character. I'm not sure.

They danced to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" and writhed around the stage, gyrating on chairs, and at one point stripped off the jackets and jumped upon the chairs to lift their legs above their heads showing off a bit more than their flexibility.

At one point, I think I lifted my jaw from my lap long enough to turn my head away to wait for the number to end. It was embarrassing not only for those unsuspecting girls on the stage, but for the audience! There were young children watching, siblings, grandparents, mothers and fathers!

Perhaps no one pays attention to the lyrics in these songs or overlooks the scantily clad girls? Is this acceptable to a dance studio that has been open for 30+ years and has won first place in competition dancing? Is this what 10 months of lessons pay for? And who ultimately pays for the objectification of these young women?

This recital has me concerned for my girls' re-enrollment this year. We invest a lot of money in this studio for lessons ($22 a week) and costumes ($123). There is a recital program fee where each family MUST contribute to an ad space, the lowest price tag being $35. The tickets for my family alone cost us $56 (my husband having to pay twice because he had to attend both shows). We brought with us 14 people so that brought in another $196. Wow.

I know my girls love to dance! I have not been confronted yet with uncomfortable dance routines or costumes that I deem unacceptable. When and if that day comes, it will not be tolerated from us as parents of daughters!

I only wish someone had stood up for those girls and refused to allow that performance to be acceptable.

Maybe that someone should have been me.


  1. I completely agree. What you described above was the sole reason my Mother refused to allow me into dance as a child--and oh how I wanted to take dance.
    I am glad now that she chose rather to teach me modesty and morals rather than to sacrifice decency for showmanship.

    <3 sarasophia

  2. I understand what you're saying. This was my biggest worry when my sister invited me to her daughter's dance recital. She's *3*!
    Surprisingly, the recital--which was also for the whole school--was pretty tasteful. Even the older girls who would normally want to rock out to trashy pop music, danced with talent, no questionable routines. (This is coming from a feminist who believes in modesty too!)
    I am one of 6 girls, and my mom didn't have us in dance, probably for the reasons you mentioned. We were allowed to try out for/do cheerleading, but we play sports mostly. Not forced one way or the other. Though is was made quite clear to us that cheerleading isn't a girl's "job" in the sports world: when I was in junior high, I had a P.E. teacher who (no joke!) had a whole unit when the boys would do football and the girls would learn cheerleading. That is, until he came up against my mom! ;)
    I'm not sure how my niece's dance school works it, but the whole show had a theme: Animals. So every song had to do with animals. The costumes weren't all that bad, and even my boys enjoyed the show! Must've been all the Disney movie music.
    My 3yo niece and her class danced to "Talk With The Animals." And by "dance", I mean "stood on stage looking cute while the audience said 'Awww!'" a lot.
    Maybe you could talk to the school about your concerns and suggest and more tame theme than "exploit our daughters"?

  3. First off, your girls look so cute and happy and proud. Fun! And just from your little profile glimpse, they do appear to favor you. So neat to see.

    That is such a big concern of mine... It's situations like this that erode away at everything we try to teach our kids. It's this social acceptance that is so hard to combat. I so want to teach my daughter (and son) to be able to stand alone in their convictions and what they know to be right, but it is so hard when the standards are continually be lowered and accepted by the majority.

    Makes me so angry. Thanks for addressing it.

  4. Girls have to be girls - kids have to be children. There are a lot of songs they can dance to which are age appropriate.

    You should write to the dance directors (or owners of the dance studio) now. So that it's still fresh in their minds. You write beautifully so I'm sure you can write in a way that you're not putting them in the defensive mode.

    It's so upsetting but I guess for the next round of recital, you can voice your opinion. Rally up some of the mothers, too, because I'm sure they were uncomfortable, too!

  5. how cute are your girls!!??
    i would be uncomfortable with that, too. can you speak to the dance studio director?


I appreciate you stopping by! Thank you for commenting! xo ~Olivia