End of the Year Dance Recital

Saturday was Kepler’s spring recital for his dance class. I have no pictures to post today because they are all on the cameras and phones of other people. I chose to leave my phone at home and off on Saturday. I was just really tired of the non-stop pull toward my phone. Without my phone attached to me, I was aware of how often my thoughts went to using my phone for something or other. It was a nice respite, and I may do it more, but I do feel it is important for me to be accessible to my family, and that means having my phone handy.

At any rate, Saturday was the big day. The dance studio we go to is a highly competitive, very popular place. It’s also not close to our home at all. We make the drive because they offer the class for kids with special needs and Kepler loves everything about it. His dance was about halfway through the program and his group got some seriously enthusiastic applause and cheers. I loved seeing him up there, center stage, waving enthusiastically to us. I don’t even know how he could see us, but he did.

Prior to Kepler’s dance, I found myself growing more and more dismayed and disgusted by what I was seeing and hearing onstage. Even my 16yo daughter noticed that the dances did not seem appropriate at all for the ages of the girls. I went back and forth about this in my head because it has become more and more obvious to me that I’m not in the happening generation and I’m beginning to understand how and why older people have complaints about how younger people act, speak, dress, and exist.

The problem as I see it is that little girls were up there shaking their little booties, and doing other movements and motions that seemed very sexualized to me. The trend in dance is to have highly made-up faces, large glue-on eye designs, sparkly SPARKLY outfits, and lots of accessories like shiny gloves. Here’s a photo of a couple of girls from our studio:


Does it affect a little girl’s childhood to be regularly dressing like this and dancing like this? There was one group of girls who did basic ballet, and they were dressed in more traditional tutus. That seemed beautiful to me. The rest of it just seemed mostly trashy, not to mention the pounding dance party music that was blasting through the speakers while the little girls “shook their thang.”

Do we actually want children to have a childhood? What does that even mean anymore? My daughter is in a show choir now at 16 and dances. Even her choreographed dances are more tasteful than what I saw on Saturday. She has never taken dance classes, and I looked at her Saturday and said well, I guess we made the right decision because there is no way I would have ever been ok with this. (N.B. I made no decision — it was simply a matter of not deciding to make dance classes happen — there are dance classes that are wonderful for children that I would have been happy for her to be a part of.)

Perhaps there are feminism issues at play here. I’m not sure. I’m all for little girls dancing, and exuberantly at that. I am just wondering if we parents might want to think about what we are promoting when we put our precious little children on stage, dressed like strumpets, to the music of Snoop Dog, imitating Beyonce’s dance moves..

3 thoughts on “End of the Year Dance Recital

  1. It is very brave to leave your phone behind. I’m not sure I can do that, but I have been practicing closing up FB and email. It amazes me how many times I return to phone or computer and find it is “open”!

    On the dance…I find myself feeling like my mom, who btw, has become more open in her 80s than she was previously. Is it possible I will find this okay? I cannot imagine it because it still seems like prepping girls (why not boys?) for less than they can be in life.


    1. Nancy, that aside “why not boys” is part of why I waited to write about this. Perhaps it is a function of my upbringing, but there seems to me to be a difference between boys and girls in this area; maybe because I feel like girls are more vulnerable?


  2. I saw it too, and dismay, I think, is an excellent word to describe what was on display. Some of the moves the littlest girls were doing came into the culture through early 20th century burlesque. That of course was regarded as pretty risqué at the time, and I think for good reason – because it is.

    Girls are beautiful and deserve to demonstrate that beauty without that kind of overt sexualization. Disclosure: once the first dance occurred I didn’t even watch the rest of them until Kepler’s, as I was too embarrassed for the little ones and myself.


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