After seeing a display at a local fete, I have written this letter to a local dance school. No accusations. Just asking them to consider a series of questions. Can't hurt to ask, can it? I should add that our dance school, with ongoing conversation and growing awareness about these issues, is brilliant.
Do you believe that creativity can be about anything? That songs, dance, art, can be about any idea or concept or situation?
Do you think that our culture has been presenting boys and girls in narrow stereotypes of what it is to be male or female?
Are you aware of campaigns to prevent the public sexualisation of children, and the work of action groups such as Collective Shout and Kids Free 2B Kids? Are you aware of books such as Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Culture; Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism; Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls; Princesses and Pornstars: Sex, Power, Identity; What’s Happening to our Girls: Too Much Too Soon, and Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging our Children and What We Can Do About It? Are you aware that the current standard in the children’s dance industry is implicated in these public discussions?
As a dance teacher do you believe you have a responsibility to protect the innocence and modesty of children? Do you believe you have a responsibility to present children in a flattering manner?
Do you use songs from CDs that contain a warning sticker? Do you play these songs in front of primary school children? Are the dances performed by the older students suitable to be seen by the younger students? Are the costumes suitable and flattering?
Are you aware that many families are concerned with current standards at dance schools, where raunch seems to be part of the accepted dance culture? When families leave your dance school do you ask them why? Do you think that positioning yourself as a respectful school that explores a full range of ideas, emotions and situations in dance, and uses a wide range of music and costuming ideas, might bring in more customers?
If you hire your hall from the local church would you be comfortable inviting the local minister and his family to your dance concert?