I think I have walked into a strip club. There are young girls gyrating on the stage as I enter the auditorium where Claire and her dance team are experiencing their first dance competition. I was expecting to see some inappropriate acts but to walk in on girls ranging in age from 8 to 15 gyrating, bumping, grinding and dancing in a thoroughly inappropriate manner was a shock to my system and caused me to pause for a minute.
On the flip side I can tell which girls belong to the studio where our girls take their dance classes. They stand out in a very positive way. Their hair, make-up, costumes and dances are all completely age appropriate. Our girls all have their hair in buns. Their make-up is enough to show up on stage but we haven't "bedazzled" their faces with jewels coming out of the corners of their eyes. Their costumes are sharp and classy. Their dance routines are crisp, clean and totally free of bumping, grinding and any hint of pole dancing. Thank heavens or Claire would be whipped out of dance class so fast her head would spin.
I have talked before about my feelings of ambiguity with Claire dancing and this experience has reinforced these feelings but in a different way. After seeing our girls perform I am comfortable with Claire's choice to dance. What I am unsure about is how much this pushes girls to grow up before they need to. For dance, our girls do get made up and are careful about their appearances. Do 10 and 11 year old girls really need this kind of pressure? Is there any way to encourage the art of dancing without having to push them to grow up so fast? I don't if there is a right or wrong answer but there has to be a good answer to keep our girls from having to grow up too quickly.
Watching the various performances has been interesting. It is an eclectic mix of dances. Some dances have been classy and impressive. Some of these dancers are incredibly talented and it has been a pleasure to watch the joy on the faces of the dancers as they perform for us. Some of the routines have bordered on just plain weird...maybe I am not artsy enough for this envriroment. I sit watching a group right now who are doing some kind of an interpretive dance and it is one of the oddest "dances" I have ever seen. The girls fall on the floor at seemingly random intervals. The music is a mix of techno/disco combined with some kind of futuristic beat. The dancers are good, I think, but all of the strangeness of the dance over shadows what the dancers are trying to convey. Then there are the mortifying dances. The dances where the girls gyrate all over a chair, the floor or each other. I feel like I should be stuffing dollar bills into their costumes. It is sad. These girls are being taught from an early age that "selling" their bodies for a cheering of the crowd is a good thing. Where are the parents of these girls? What parent would think that kind of dance would be the right thing to let their daughters do? These are the acts that make me want to pull Claire from this world of dance. I will be interested to see how the "hoochie mama" routines are rewarded. I will be sorely disappointed to see these acts rewarded.
Clarie loves this world of dance. I have to say that I so enjoy watching all of the girls from her studio. Some of their routines are so good it gives me chills to watch them. I will continue to watch them with amazement. I will continue to try and protect my daughter from growing up too fast. I will continue to say "Oh Dear..." when there are acts that make me cringe. I will continue all of this for the love of my daughter....