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If your daughter wanted to take dance such as jazz or hip-hop, what would you look for in a dance school to ensure she was not exposed to the video we've all seen this weekend? What standards would you like this dance school to adhere to?

 

(I'm trying to help out a friend who is a dance school director. She actually sent the video out to her competitive students' parents to give an example of what her program will not do, to help explain her philosophy. She wants to do a better job of educating parents and marketing her program.)

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My girls dance at a christian studio. They teach ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop, but the only music they dance to is classical or contemporary christian. The studio enforces a dress code that requires all girls wear a leotard under their dance clothes. If they choose to wear an outfit that would show their belly, it is covered by the leotard.

I had my doubts about christian hip hop but I have to admit I have changed my mind. I didn't understand how that edgy quality would translate without being inappropriate, but in the hands of the right teacher it is fabulous. There is a lot of strength in that genre, and when it is directed in a positive manner I have to admit I love it.

I think most studios would do better to remember that our kids should be kids.

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Most dance studios (I think) post pictures of the dancers in their costumes (i.e. class pictures) in the studio--that would be a good way to get a sampling of their costume choices. Also, you could go to one of their recitals--this would not only show how they choreograph their dances, but also show how they honor their top dancers, how the directors carry themselves (are they overly stressed or confident?), if the atmosphere seems supportive or competitive, etc.

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Oops--just read the rest of your OP. I think she could use her website to show clips of the dances from the recital, and have her dress code and behavior/conduct code available in the studio and on the website. An open house or informational meeting could help too, and how the dancers conduct themselves at parades and other community performances will go a long way. Word-of-mouth will take effect before long.

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A well-publicized and enforced dress code would be a good first step. "No bare midriffs" and "no booty shorts" (without tights underneath) would be the minimum. Stressing that the girls must wear cover-ups coming in and out of class would also promote a more serious atmosphere as well as emphasize that dance attire is for dance class, not everyday wear.

 

She also could require hair to be pulled back into a bun or tight ponytail for practice and performance. This is common in ballet schools but not, as far as I know, in other types of classes, but again, it would put the emphasis on the athleticism of the dance, not the flirtiness.

 

My final suggestion is that the teachers encourage the dancers to smile when they dance, rather than make seductive pouty faces. I am not describing that quite right, but you probably know what I mean.

 

The director also should make sure her teachers model proper attire and attitudes at all times.

 

I applaud your friend's efforts and hope some of this is helpful.

 

Terri

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If your daughter wanted to take dance such as jazz or hip-hop, what would you look for in a dance school to ensure she was not exposed to the video we've all seen this weekend? What standards would you like this dance school to adhere to?

After our last experience, I think I would take my first judgement of the teacher more seriously. I should've know that she would have my 6yo dd gyrating like a stripper after one glance at what she was wearing in her off time. If the instructer doesn't look serious then I wouldn't even bother pretending we were considering that studio.

 

I want to see old costumes (much easier if they're displayed). Do they look sweet or sexy? Sexy and I'm out the door.

 

Music should be completely 'G' rated. No sex, no violence, certainly no cursing.

 

I don't like that so much of this is superficial, but after dd's experience and how much that seemed obvious after the fact, I'm not even going ask about it if it looks like they're turning out actresses for adult movies.

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My girls took dance lessons for a while. I really didn't like some of the costumes which they wore. We did switch to another dance studio for just one year; the dress code there was much more modest.

 

If I were to have my girls do dance all over again, I would definitely check out the dress code, the music, and the type of dance.

 

Honestly, dance lessons were just not our "thing." Now two of them take karate lessons, and that has been much more beneficial for our family.

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With 2 young girls who have taken various types of dance classes. I think about the following things:

 

1. Dress code. For class and for recital costumes.

 

2. A statement about the types of dance moves that are taught to the kids.

 

3. Something about the type of music chosen.

 

4. Posting a typical dance routine or making the recital video available for viewing.

 

 

5. And make it known that they are studio policy. At the last studio we were at, dd's teachers were great. They did a cute jazz routine where they were the big bad wolves who chased off the ballet class of little red riding hoods that went before them. One of the other teachers tended towards more risque' costumes and moves.

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