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Thread: Too Young?

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    Member Indigo Shimmer's Avatar
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    Default Too Young?

    So my instructor teaches belly dance for all ages. She has a children's class that she has moved one of her students out of and into our adult intermediate class because she felt she was that good. ( Which means the little wipper-snapper is in front of me for our group dance! Think anyone will be looking at me or the cute kid in front of me? I haven't got a prayer! UGH! )

    Anyway, she's 11 and yes, she really good. She also really LOVES belly dance. She has been practicing a solo routine for weeks to perform at her school's talent show. And last night we all found out that her performance was canceled! The reason? Children shouldn't do belly dance. Its too provacative. When the mother complained to the adult running the event she got the snippy response, "I KNOW what belly dance is. I used to do it."

    Now I've seen the dance. There is nothing wrong with it. Crystal knows how to choreograph children's dances. The girl is not showing her belly. She also has not "blossomed" yet body wise.

    What do you think?

    Indigo S.

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    There is no accounting for unwillingness. If the organizer won't give the wipper-snapper (lol) an audition then perhaps she can be assisted to find a family oriented venue to perform in. We all cope with rejection, she's learning this dance makes people bristle for various reasons. Encourage her to keep going.

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    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    The youngster must be so disappointed, sadly it may not be her last disappointment either. Hopefully some other show will come along where she can show her talent.

    Personally I don't see anything wrong in children learning bellydance or any other dance for that matter. Seeing she loves it so much she will probably be a fabulous dancer in a few years ( lucky girl starting so young - I envy her)
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Did they ban her performance without seeing it?

    It sucks. It especially sucks that people in educational authority are sending her a message that there is something wrong or shameful about something cultural that she is enthusiastic about. WTH, people? I would be one pissed-off mum getting right on their case for that attitude.

    I can sort of see why the organisers might be concerned for her - in some environments the idea that little Susie is going to do OMG a BELLY DANCE in the talent competition might attract the wrong sort of attention from her peers. But the best way to put that right would be to support her to show them otherwise.

    I would put good money on it that there will be groups in it doing far dodgier moves in MTV-type routines.

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Oh, DO not get me started. After teaching belly dance programs in our local grade schools for years my very popular and oft requested program was canceled because ONE parent complained. The parent had not seen the program. The school board refused to let me present the program to the board, the PTA, or anyone else to show it was innocuous.

    One parent who'd never seen the program ruined it for literally hundreds of kids. School authorities can be such spineless idiots.

    I still teach a couple of classes a semester for the high school PE classes at the specific request of the teacher.

    My deepest sympathy to the child involved.

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    Senior Member Sirčne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo Shimmer View Post
    And last night we all found out that her performance was canceled! The reason? Children shouldn't do belly dance. Its too provacative.
    I'm not surprised that some people are misinformed because belly dance has something of a reputation, sadly. What bothers me is that people are content to remain ignorant. They'll sit in judgement of something they don't know the slightest bit about but they'll let their own kids run around in croptops and short-shorts with bling'ed out words on the ass cheeks because that's 'normal' for the competition dance scene.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo Shimmer View Post
    "I KNOW what belly dance is. I used to do it.".
    Oh so many snarky places to go with this response…

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    Could the adult organizer be persuaded to watch a video of the girl's dance? This is just SO unfair.

    Too bad the "adult" did sleazy tacky belly dancing in her day. Times have changed, lady!

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo Shimmer View Post
    last night we all found out that her performance was canceled! The reason? Children shouldn't do belly dance. Its too provocative. When the mother complained to the adult running the event she got the snippy response, "I KNOW what belly dance is. I used to do it."
    And this is why I keep speaking out against mixing belly dance with burlesque. If she had a teacher who blurred those lines, then it's no wonder she feels this way.

    Or, maybe she had a teacher who had issues regarding her own sexiness or attractiveness and transmitted those issues in how she taught and performed belly dance. Or, maybe the teacher was fine, but this adult had her own issues about her own sexiness and layered that on top of the dance.

    The messages from the mass media don't help, either: Mass Media, Mass Stereotypes: The Beginning, by Shira

    I think the key questions the mother should ask this woman are:

    1. Have you SEEN the dance/choreography this child is proposing to perform? If not, why did you make a decision based on something you haven't even seen?

    2. Have you SEEN the costume this child is proposing to wear? If not, why did you make a decision based on something you haven't even seen?

    3. if I, the child's mother, think it's appropriate for her to do her performance, who are you to override me?

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    Member Indigo Shimmer's Avatar
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    Shira,
    "if I, the child's mother, think it's appropriate for her to do her performance, who are you to override me?"

    My husband is a schoolteacher and his response was that school administrators are spineless. They're afraid of offending anyone so they scream and holler when something could offend ANYONE and just would rather not take the chance. If one person complains, thats enough to put them off the whole thing.

    And no the organizer has NOT seen the dance OR the costume.

    Mom is furious! She wanted to video the dance so that she had proof of her claim. But her camera acted up last nite.


    Indigo S.

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo Shimmer View Post
    They're afraid of offending anyone so they scream and holler when something could offend ANYONE and just would rather not take the chance. If one person complains, thats enough to put them off the whole thing.
    A good way for the girl's mom to deal with this would be to circulate a petition to anyone willing to sign it (other parents that she is friends with, people from the community, etc.) and take it to the offending administrator. Bonus points for including a photo of the costume on the petition itself, because that will help illustrate how ridiculous the refusal is. Ie, subject them to being the subject of a complaint for their REFUSAL.

    If that doesn't work, the next step is to attend a school board meeting to complain formally to the school board about the administrators' SIGHT UNSEEN rejection of a cultural dance from another country. Emphasizing the SIGHT UNSEEN aspects will create a position that will be extremely difficult for the administrator to defend against. Ideally, take Daughter along clad in the question in question, and maybe take a boombox (in case there's an opportunity to do a brief demo to show the un-seductive nature of the proposed dance), photos, and video. The sight of Daughter standing there in a conservative costume will make the administrator look even more foolish - especially when pointing out that (without even seeing it) the administrator said it would be too provocative.

    The administrator is assuming that the "no" will be accepted and the parent will drop the matter. Pestering her with petitions and escalations to the school board will make her rethink her position.
    Last edited by shiradotnet; 02-23-2013 at 07:23 AM.

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