All the Single Ladies Dance Controversy (8 & 9 year old girls)

8 Apr

I am in the middle of preparing for dance competition this weekend and as I was getting ready I remembered this video and the amount of controversy that arose from it. I definitely have an opinion about this video and two parents’ response to the backlash. I would hope as an educators you would have an opinion, too. Please share these with me in the comments below.
Anyways, onto my opinion. First of all, I would like to share that I have been dancing for 16 years and have been competing for 11 years and have attended about 3 competitions a year. In the approximate 33 competitions I have attended, I have never seen 8 & 9 year old girls dancing like this (except one but I will discuss that later). I think that “booty bouncing” and grinding is completely inappropriate for this age group. These girls are extremely talented (I have never seen 8 & 9 year olds dance this well). What they are doing takes huge commitment, strength, flexibility, and talent.

That brings me to my next point, why did the dance teacher resort to such inappropriate and talentless movements when he/she had so much talent to work with! The sexual movements of “booty bouncing”, shaking, and grinding, takes NO talent. A person with absolutely NO dance background could easily do those movements. I just do not see any justification to having these girls dance like that.

Above, I mentioned that I have seen these movements at one dance competition. The interesting part is that it was a competition in the United States. Myself and the rest of the dance studio were shocked at the movements we saw. (Many were even more sexualized than this dance). I know that the girls in the Single Ladies dance also dance in the U.S. I am not saying that this is okay, but I can see why they may have not seen anything wrong with it. Yet, at the same time, how are so many parents okay with their children dancing this way? Why is there such a difference between the Canadian and United States dance competitions I have attended? In no way am I attempting to “bash” the United States, I just do not understand why there is such a difference. I know that I have not been to all of Canada or the United States, but the competition we attended was only 8 hours away and there was a huge difference.

I would now like to share the interview with the parents of one girl who danced in the video.

*I was not able to embed the video because this option has been disabled.*

My response to their interview is that the context (a dance competition) should not matter. If these girls were dancing like this on the street, in the mall, in their home, I would see it as inappropriate so why is it okay at a dance competition? I would argue that it is not appropriate because the movements are very sexual and way too sexual for 8 and 9 year old girls. I would think that it should be even more inappropriate at a dance competition because they are doing movements that require no talent. The majority of the audience could have likely did these movements. I doubt the majority of the audience could have pulled off 6 clean grande pirouettes (turns with leg straight out) or jumped in the air and landed in the splits. These moves take talent, which these girls obviously have. They don’t need to do sexual movements, which I believe, takes away from the actual dancing.
The father says that these types of movements are completely normal in dance competitions. First of all, they are not normal in all dance competitions. Even if they are “normal” in some competitions, does that make it okay?! What happened to critical thinking? How would our society ever move forward if we accepted everything because “that’s just the way it is”.
Lastly, the mother says she does not let her child watch the video then WHY would you let your daughter DANCE the same movements that are in the video?!
There is just too much that can be argued.

I know that this is a long post but I truly believe that this type of dancing is inappropriate and I become so frustrated when I hear the parents’ arguments. I would like to say that I do NOT believe the young girls in the video deserve any of the negative backlash that has been aimed at them. They have been called very hurtful names but the dancers do not choose their choreography or their costumes. Although, the mother does have a point when she says dance costumes are made to show movement and lines. Dancers should not wear loose, long clothing because the judges need to check for proper technique. I think the parents and the dance teacher should be held accountable for what has happened.

I know this is “old” controversy as it happened last year but I am very interested in hearing what everyone else has to say. We are educators and children are very important to us. Please share your thoughts:) I know my blog is very one sided so please feel free to share alternate perspectives.

Thanks for reading.

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