The dance groups at our school are pretty popular. We’re lucky that we have the teachers who are prepared to teach these groups in their own time, and that they are so well supported. We are even having a special dance showcase night where the dance groups will perform and individual dancers can perform solos or their own performance pieces in small groups (Matilda is doing a ballet solo to Sleeping Beauty).
However, there is still a problem with the choices of the male teacher who takes the senior boys dance group. He has been teaching the boys a dance to Sweat, by Snoop Dogg and David Guetta. The dance includes an appearance by a young girl. The whole idea is just wrong wrong wrong. The teacher has been told by the head of the dance program to change the song, but the problem remains that the teacher thought it was ok. He originally wanted to use an Eminem song, but edit out some lyrics. Still wrong.
I know someone who works for the Dep’t of Ed Arts Unit, who says that if a group wants to perform at a State performance, they must submit the lyrics to the song. This song would not pass. Some schools run the lyrics by the Principal before beginning work on the dance. I think this is what we need to organise.
But the point I want to write across the sky is this: if the children think the song is about one thing, but the audience knows it is about sex, that is exploitation. That isn’t respectful. That isn’t ok. And I’m not prepared to let that happen.
I need to have a chat with the dance teacher, or ask that the head of the program or the Principal explain why choosing to dance to songs about sex (and the stereotyped depictions of gender, power, and relationships), and have children perform those dances in public, is wrong. But I also need to approach this carefully. Wish me luck.