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Innocent Dance Moves or Totally Inappropriate?

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Dr. Wendy Walsh: A few weeks ago, my 6-year-old daughter participated in a cheerleading competition where the music had some explicit lyrics. Afterward, I sent an e-mail to the organizers saying that 5- to 7-year-old girls shouldn't be dancing to most of the music that is on today's radio. Thank goodness the girls were dressed in traditional cheerleading uniforms and their dance moves were age-appropriate. Anyway, I got no response.

This week, a video circulated on the Internet showing a troupe of 7-year-olds from the "World of Dance" hip-hop competition doing a risqué routine to Beyonce's "Single Ladies." These children wore bra tops, booty shorts and high boots and did a bump-and-grind that was fit for a Vegas strip club. I was appalled. What has the world come to?

Sexualizing children to this degree can only hurt all children everywhere. If this is the new benchmark for dance competitions, what are we teaching our baby girls who are just out of diapers? That their value lies in how well they can tempt and engage in sexual provocation?

And I gotta ask: What are we dangling in the faces of men, whose natural responses to visual cues can so easily be triggered? With suggestive material like this available worldwide, it's no wonder that the proliferation of the child sex-slave trade continues. Clearly, Nancy Grace will always have her job on CNN as the voice for abducted little girls.

Shame on the promoters of this event ... and shame on the parents who allowed their girls to dress this way!

Do YOU think this dance routine was out of line ... or no big deal? Comment below.

next: 7 Marketing Mishaps Aimed at Children
160 comments so far | Post a comment now
Bobbie  May 16, 2010, 5:01 PM

Cheerleading, dance groups like this at this age??..ugh!! Can’t we teach our young girls dance and dance fundamentals without dressing them like 21 year olds. Isn’t it bad enough today’s 14-17 year olds go by Miley and Britney as “role models”? Why are mothers today pushing babies to be grown ups?

Krista Cerretto May 16, 2010, 5:53 PM

As a person who has danced for 17 years and is a product of competition dancing i dont see anything wrong with this. I danced like this as a child and i turn out just fine. im in college as a dance major with great grades and a normal social life. These girls are great dancers with obviously excellent training. if you look at the entertainment business now this is what it is. and for these kids to be that great of dancers they must not have a social life and if they continue this way they wont have much of one. ive learned from experience! if you learn right and wrong you can separate business from your social life. these girls are fabulous dancers who know how to put on a show. this is the dance competition world. little girls think this is fun to shake around on stage and dance for a crowd and to them its nothing more than that. people make such a big deal out of nothing. if you dont like it dont make your kid do it thats that. your obviously not in the right business if you think this is wrong.

DANCER May 16, 2010, 6:50 PM

IM a dancer, and never did competition dance but know alot about it. These girls are AMAZING DANCERS, and their on stage to perform, to dance. At their age you RARELY see girls so well trained and their technique was on point. So as a dancer our eyes gear towards the technique aspect and everything else comes after.

their outfits were slightly pass the line, but competition dance costumes are less.

you cant look at this with a narrow mind! look for positives instead of the negatives

Rita May 16, 2010, 7:49 PM

Krista, Dancer, this is exactly what I’ve been saying, but the closed-minded parents on here don’t want to look at the positives and choose to focus on the negatives. The girls have worked extensively hard to have achieved that kind of dancing ability, not too many dancers at that age can do what they did. The pelvic grinding and twirling didn’t have to be in the routine, the instructor could have put something else in. If they continue extensive dance training, they won’t have time for a social life and certainly won’t be sleeping around or doing drugs, drinking or whatever else the other parents on here think they’ll do. This is dance. That’s what they do. The costumes are dancing costumes, like several people have said, myself included, they show up to the dress rehearsal or competition in normal clothes, change into the costumes, dance, change out of the costumes and put their normal clothes back on. If they have to keep their costumes on, the dance studio makes them wear a bathrobe or a large t-shirt over the costume so it won’t get ruined. They’ll wear it a handful of times. Again, they are dance costumes ordered by the dance studio out of dance costume catalogs. It’s really not a big deal. Everyone is making a big deal out of nothing. Yes, I am a parent. If you have a problem with me, that’s your problem.

Anonymous May 16, 2010, 10:15 PM

I see nothing wrong with this, but if these were Halloween costumes this would be a different story but its a dance comp

Ken May 16, 2010, 11:58 PM

Krista, Dancer, Rita, and the others like you. You guys are so naive it’s not even funny. You have no clue…NONE about the evils of men. This is very apparent in what you write. Not one person on these posts have denied their talent, their innocence, and the fact that they have no idea that the moves they are doing are sexual. Sure, they’re having fun. Their kids getting to dance to cheering crowds and running around doing what they enjoy. The children are being exploited! Just because you “turned out fine” doesn’t mean jack. If you danced like this when you were little then you should be very fortunate that you haven’t been molested, raped, or who knows else happened to you. Many of you people on here keep saying things like, “wake up this is how things are done now. Times are changing. Crawl out from under your rock.” I noted that most of the people saying such things are the young people. That’s why you don’t have wisdom until you get OLD…….o foolish ones. I said the same stupid things as ya’ll are saying when I was “16” and “21” too. Time, life, and experience has a way of making a believer out of you. If it doesn’t then shame on you. It’s very saddening to meet an old person with no wisdom. Lord protect these little girls from the evil people out there…..parents and all.

nini May 17, 2010, 1:28 AM

actually those aren’t high boots, they’re black dance shoes with high black socks.

I think the routine and music was great. But they could have used some skin-toned coverings over their thighs and waists.

Rita May 17, 2010, 10:59 AM

Good Lord, Ken, not all men are evil. I’m not 16, 21 or whatever, I’m a 30 year old married mom of 2. You have obviously never even seen a dance recital or competition. Go to youtube and search for dance competition or dance recital, you’ll see most of them wear the kind of dancing shorts these girls are wearing. They’re easier to dance in. They’re costumes. No, they didn’t know some of the dance moves were sexual, it was up to the parents to see that and request the moves be removed and more age-appropriate moves be put in, and request tights under the dance shorts and a better covered top. Other then that, I’ve never seen such young girls have a great ability and discipline for dance.

Tiara May 17, 2010, 11:19 AM

I’m 20 years old and I think this is horrendous. If I had a little girl, there is no way in hell I’d let her out of the house dressed like she was going to audition for Moulin Rouge and shaking her butt everywhere. And people wonder why the rate of teen pregnancy is so high nowadays. We’re killing off children’s innocence left and right and it’s a shame. Both the parents and whoever choreographed this should be ashamed of themselves.

Carol May 18, 2010, 6:31 AM

I think the dancing was very inappropriate and suggestive,no child should dance in that manner and some think it’s okay by saying it’s just a “competition”.Why would any parent allow their child to dance like that,this is not cute.This is a pedophiles dream.Society is making children grow up way too fast.

mom in nc May 18, 2010, 10:40 AM

this is wrong in so many ways ! I just cant believe people are defending this! No the little girls did nothing wrong and are very talented! But to think that parents would allow this is really shocking to me and I am not a conserveitive ,living under a rock mom ,Everyone is entitled to their opinion but mine is that this is wrong and sad!

cfcamericadotorg May 18, 2010, 10:55 AM

I must congratulate this website, and the writer of the article.
I bow down in honor of what is said here.

America has become the moral sewer to the rest of the world.

I was born here, I can say this.
I am ashamed of our country.
Why on earth would any other nation want to be anything like America.
America is such a morally corrupt nation.

Thank you for saying what nobody else will say here on this website…
Thank you for your words….

But I tell you, it is too late. Decades of brainwashing by our media.. has created this nation of sex starved people who only care about fulfilling their own desires…
Parading little children around dressed like ? and having them get out there and gyrate around in such a sexual manner… is disgusting…
That is the problem, the Media calls it ENTERTAINMENT… the same with all the shows on tv which show rape and violence… entertainment… have you seen The Last House on the Left, Hostel, Saw..1,2,3… OMG.. If that is entertainment.. me and my family of 5 want no part of it.

Thank you for your article. Too bad this nation will shoot you down as being to radical for your views.

cfcamericadotorg May 18, 2010, 11:21 AM

I must say, also, Those girls were awesome.. each one put a LOT into their work.
I commend them for their effort and skills, However
I condemn this nation of people for allowing our citizens to fall so far morally as to condone such a spectacle.
I condemn the parents… I am truly hoping none of the parents of these children claim to be christians.
OMG, I pray for the citizens of this nation.. I pray the blinders be taken away so all who think this dance routine was acceptable can truly see the depravity of it all.
I pray God Himself will intervene and bring this nation to it’s knees if need be to draw our citizens Back to Him and his holy word.

I am no pastor, or priest.. no holy roller.. just a parent of 3, husband of 1.
I tell you, this nation needs to repent and turn from their evil ways.

Dana May 18, 2010, 12:18 PM

The problem I see is that these girls have “learned” that this provocative dance and clothing is “fine” for this competition at this age. Are these children old enough to differentiate between everyday life and competition? Will they be repeating these moves on the playground? Where will they go from here to find what will “top” this dance routine? This is how we slide down the slippery slope and raise children without compasses to guide them through the moral dilemmas in life.

another dancer who knows what shes talking about May 18, 2010, 12:27 PM

Im a dancer and the talent these girls have is unreal. Although some might say it is inappropriate for their age from a dancers perspective they have outstanding technique and an extremly high level of ability. The “bumping and grinding” is nothing more then “transition” moves in dance, the girls just know how to give it their all and get really into the routine. As for the outfits i find them adorable, they fit the song and dance perfectly. I think people outside of the dance world have no right to critic these girls, because all they see is inappropriate things but in dance we look at technique and well as how costumes and movements fit with the music and these girls got it all! Outstanding job to the girls and choreographers!

Grandma Merry May 18, 2010, 4:47 PM

A lot of the moves were gymnastic, and ok. However, the combination of outfits and overtly sexual moves made me very uncomfortable. Why not let children be children? Meaning what’s wrong with them being innocent?!

Lindsey May 19, 2010, 4:54 PM

Those girls are GOOD. People can get as upset about this as they want but in all honesty, that’s what the dance industry is ABOUT these days! No more Swan Lake, we’re in the age of sexy ballerinas and skimpy outfits.

The choreography is fun and the girls are having a blast. They are NOT being “sexually exploited” and their moves aren’t suggestive, just funky and high energy. Their costumes are what throw people off…I understand half tops, they help to show the body lines. The boots and the lace are a bit much. If these girls were dancing the same choreography to Hannah Montana or another lame song then people would not be so upset. If people don’t want their daughters to dance like this then they should put them in a non-competitive local dance studio.

All in all, these girls are amazing and they are very entertaining. If they weren’t having fun then they wouldn’t be dancing with so much energy. These girls work hard and are proud of what they do and it’s not their mother’s effort to make them “mini-me’s” or sexually exploited. That’s just nonsense.

Yet another dancer that knows what shes talking about. May 19, 2010, 5:18 PM

The girls have not LEARNED that this behavior was ok…I was just like this when I am little and now I am seventeen…I would be willing to bet that the girls walked off stage, drank a glass of water and changed into sweats and never thought about doing something else “sexual.” They probably walked off and ran around with their friends like every other kid! The dance is fun and the girls may know it’s provocative (my friends and I did) but we were taught that those dances are only to be done on stage and in the studio. We would NEVER do that outside of the studio!

And for the comment about the middle aged men in the audience, that’s pretty rare at a dance competition. Basically, dads and boyfriends and brothers don’t WANT to sit at a dance competition for nine hours to watch a few two and a half minute routines.

I can see how this would be taken badly but its taken out of context…who would have thought that this would be put on several forums and be a big debate? There are THOUSANDS of these studios all over America so why pick on this one dance? These girls are good and they know it…you can say you’re going to “protect your child” from provocative dance moves but not letting them dance in a competition because they’re going to turn into strippers is bad parenting for YOU. If you can’t stop your girls from being strippers because they dance in a three minute routine for fun in a competition then you need to rethink your parenting. You can only shield your kids from so much, this is a way for girls to express their sexual desires in a very controlled way.

You can say kids are not “sexual” because you hate the word. Little girls kiss boys and have crushes and just don’t tell you! I coached 5 and 6 year old cheerleading last year and five of the girls told me they had boyfriends that they kissed and didn’t tell their moms. I saw two of them in the grocery store with my boyfriend and they said “YOUR BOYFRIEND IS HOT!” and one of them told me they “liked older men.” Their routine consisted of Hannah Montana songs and simple dance choreography.

Bottom line: You mothers are ridiculous. Your daughters WILL rebel whether or not you know it. And spending weekends and dance competitions with my mother brought me closer to her than anyone else. We have an extremely open relationship and so do my other dance friends. The dance studio is the BEST environment for little girls: they develop stronger relationships with the other dancers, their mothers and with their dance instructors.

Don’t judge what you don’t know.

Alex May 22, 2010, 3:22 AM

Funnily enough I found this article interesting enough to read most of the comments, again and again you people who are against this form of dance at a young age say “let children be children.”

However what you seem to forget is this is exactly what children do, they watch beyonce and hanana montana on tv and before you know it there running around doing all those moves they see on the music videos and really there is nothing wrong with kids having fun and BEING CHILDREN.
All this form of dance does is take what children are already doing and changing it into something that keeps them healthy and fit and develops their dancing skills as you could see in the video these girls are amazingly talented.

So why is it that many parents would look at their kids bopping away in front of a tv to beyonces latest hit and do no more than slightest frown if not grinning at how cute their daughter looks. But as soon as there on stage and put in some predovative clothes which still show less than the 98% accepted bikini’s the girls of all ages wear these days.
What you seem to be staying is the moves are alright, the music is ok, the clothes are ok but put them all together in that context and its wrong, *shrugs*.

Last thing i’ll put out is that Parents too often stop children their expressing themselves and then wonder why they rebel and strike back, taking their freedom and your relationship with them, if your going to stop your children enjoying themselves in a non-hostile enviroment like dance than dont complain when your child hates you later in life, it is your fault you were a crappy parent.

Like all you idoitic mothers seem to be stating I agree “LET CHILDREN BE CHILDREN.”

Vanessa May 24, 2010, 4:58 PM

I think it’s sad that we live in a society where inappropriate comments, outfits, and sexual content is exposed to our children. When was it okay for people to cuss on television? What is the deal with these music videos and booty dances? I hate to think my 2 month old daughter will be exposed to all this because there is only so much I can do.

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