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  1. #1
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Default kids bellydancing- how appropriate is it

    Hi all,

    I am prompted to post this after I have seen the video clip Maria posted and was asking for help to flag it. I was very disturbed by the way the young kids are potrayed in the clip. I was also watching clips of Kids Belly dance competition held in Moscow. Girls as young as 10 -11 are in adult style costume and doing womenly seductive moves. I am uncomfortable to watch some of the moves. I find it is not appropriate or is it? I am not against kids belly dancing. But I am not sure if it is right either. My questions are

    1. Is it good to have an age restriction for Belly dancing?

    2. Do think kids should learn the movements that are appropriate to their age?

    3. Do you think they should have costume that are toned down to their age?

    4. How do you feel to see a kid shaking her chest, shimmying crazy and undualting like there is no tomorrow?

    Love to hear your comments.

    Cheers
    Janaki

  2. #2
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I find most of the clips of kids performing belly dancing very icky no matter how talented they are. Unless you are VERY careful it is age-inappropriate, and there are so many pervs out there that even appropriate stuff is going to draw the wrong kind of attention.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with kids having lessons for fun, or to go to events with mum when they are old enough if they want. If my daughter wanted to learn and my teacher did kids classes I'd be fine with it because I trust her attitude, but some teachers... , maybe not. And performing is a minefield, IMO.

    I think competitions where girls are expected to dress and perform like grown women are repulsive and exploitative. Responsible adults should be protecting young girls and guiding them until they are of an age to understand what they are doing and the effect it may have.

    <Mother speaks: You are not going out in that skirt>

  3. #3
    Junior Member Hyacinth's Avatar
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    I agree with you guys - I don't like seeing kids performing bellydance in public. Like Aniseteph said, if they want to take lessons for fun, that's great. I know people say that girls in the middle east learn from a really young age from watching their mothers etc, but you don't (or I haven't, at least) see them out in two piece costumes for the general public to ogle!
    My first teacher got really into doing kids classes and started a kids troupe, and although she was always pretty careful with the costuming and choreography I never felt comfortable watching it. Having said that, I've been to watch my friends' kids performing in a dance school concert (jazz, tap, singing, etc) and I thought some of the kids were presented really inappropriately for that too. Maybe I'm just an old prude!:

  4. #4
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I've got to agree that it's not a good sight - but I also reflect that in ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom, latin and so on they all get dressed up to the nines with the makeup and sexy moves and everything.
    What I think would be nice is to have girls dressed more modestly with perhaps a choli top and full skirt or something - and definitely none of those awful video's that are on YouTube of wee girls doing the undulations and all. Firstly I'm not sure that they have the muscle development to do undulations and back bends and things safely, and secondly I think they need time to perform the dance with the appropriate depth of feeling.
    So while I don't think my little voice will make a difference, AND I know that there are lots of kids dancing out there in other dance styles, perhaps on here we can avoid posting exploitative kiddy videos?
    No way are we prudes - just older, wiser and a bit more careful...

  5. #5
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    yeah.. it is a really fine line... I too have daughters & know what the mums feel..... but I have also been teaching for years... (I have a mother daughter class where I start the daughters @ age 11... occasionally they start @ 10...)...
    Maria's disturbing video... alot of that was "off"(besides the viewpoint of the videoogapher) for me was the inappropriate costuming.... I mean we (or at least I) do not dance in a bikini top!! so even worse if too young girls do...

    I have had 2 students enter (both around age 12-13 & both won) a local youth talent show... & I think the reason they won was their "appropriateness"... most of the other girls in the contest were imitating MTV type singing &/or dancing performances..... sorry... do not want my TWENTY year old doing that!!!...
    oh & I do have to say... they both did sword dance (I am an American Cab Belly dancer).... & from personal experience i have noticed that w/ a prop... that the prop seems to distract from what may be considered too "sexy" a move.... (assuming of course you are not doing "weird" things "with" your prop... which i HAVE occasionally seen (shudder...gag..))...
    & since I teach isolation & DANCING... the sword is more of a SKILL rather than just writhing around (mtv style) to the music... which can be very age inappropriate....(EDIT... the writhing= inappropriate.... not the prop!!!!... as long as you are PROP-er that is.... oooooh sorry... bad humor)
    also.... so far... all of my younger students have been very age appropriate in their costuming... belts higher, full tops, not BRA tops, etc.....
    and if they were not... I think I would be speaking to their parents...
    (you are NOT going out in that skirt!!!!! 2nd that)

    oh.. btw ... last week... my 1st "youngest" student just turned 21!!!! she is still very modest & "proper" & a kick a*@ dancer too!!!!
    (she dances with me professionally now)
    Last edited by belly_dancer; 12-27-2007 at 01:49 AM.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    <Mother speaks: You are not going out in that skirt>
    Yep! I have heard that many times!!!

  7. #7
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Oooops! and I'm sure I've said it a few too...

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    As a mother and grandmother, I agree with all the above. If the girl is 10-14 or so age group then any costume should be IMO a choli style top with some fringing, older girls could choose a modest bra style top. I do like the idea of the dedicated child/youth dancer using a prop, it would take that put out there sexy look.

    We hear the world over of some young girl, often prebuescent
    who has been abducted etc, and gasp in horror, but personally when I see these kids wandering around in street clothes half naked, I do have to think to myself that often the inappropriate dress draws out the sickos more often that some years ago. I know that the sickos would still trawl the streets etc even if you were dressed in a sack from chin to toe, but can't some mothers AND childrens designers see that they set the kids up for attack physically and verbally. Yes everyone loves to be fashionable but there is fashion and there is 'ick' and sadly there is more 'ick' in the kids fashion industry than fashion these days!
    Woops a bit off topic there. getting back to dance. maybe if young girls are learning then any comps or dance get togethers should be only for families of the girls and not open to public so the girl can show her "expertise" and the family can celebrate with her ... of course keeping the girls costume at an "appropriate" level. Ok off my soapbox

  9. #9
    Moderator Safran's Avatar
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    I don't have children, nor little sisters, so I guess I'll be more objective on the matter? Nah, not really... I don't think we can set an age limit as such on dancing, especially as we agree that each individual case should be treated separately. I don't mind kids taking classes, and I find it especially cool if they get to do that together with their mothers. But when it comes to performing, I prefer them to wear more covering costumes (I actually prefer the grown-up dancers do the same :P) and dance folclore styles. To be honest, I think folcloric is much more fun to learn at a younger age anyways. And in the longer, more philosophical perspective, think how good knowing folk styles will influence their dancing in the future..

    The sad thing is that just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is perviness... so it isn't just how we have kids perform, but also where... Haflas among your own are fine, performances to the open public are already in a bit of an uncomfortable zone...

  10. #10
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I believe Maria Aya once said she preferred to keep younger girls in the folkdance classes, saving belly dance for a more mature period in their lives (correct me if I am wrong, Saint-Sin!) There was a ten year old girl in one of my first dance classes. She came with her mother and was very good, but she caught all sorts of flack after she performed in Stars of Tomorrow. People were genuinely shocked. She was so upset and embarrassed by the reactions that she quit bellydance all together, which was a crying shame. I don't believe it would've happened had she been wearing a baladi dress with a hip sash and pretty headcover instead of a beaded bedlah with a chiffon skirt slit to there. It wasn't the dance that appalled people as much as it was how the dance looked on a child dressed as an adult.

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