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Dance classes and modesty, moves you are uncomfortable with etc


Zebra
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I am having a bit of an internal struggle with my 13 year old dd's dance classes after seeing her recital.   It wasn't her classes necessarily, but the older classes.   There were some, for us, cringe-worthy costumes and moves.   It was disheartening and kind of upsetting to me.   Not because the dances weren't good, or because I think kids shouldn't be dancing like that.  Only because I do not want MY dd moving up into those classes and dancing/wearing costumes like what I saw.  I mean no judgment to other parents who have different opinions and comfort levels from mine when it comes to dance.   

 

The background is, from ages 8-12 my daughter was doing modern and tap at a lovely studio, and we had absolutely no objections to anything.  The costumes were great, the dances were great, the recital was wonderful every year.  The studio closed, and we moved on to a bigger and different studio.   We specifically went with a non-competition studio, and I knew things would be different from what we were used to.  There were good and bad changes.  I knew enough to avoid hip-hop classes because of our personal views, and we signed dd up for modern, tap and jazz.  

 

At the recital, my feelings about hip-hop were confirmed.   The dances were great, honestly.  High energy, they looked fun, the kids did a great job, but just NOT for us.   There was one song that kept repeating, "touch my body" and the dancers kept, running their hands up and down their bodies.   I am just not comfortable with things like that.  But, I expected that from hip-hop classes.  However, the jazz dances surprised me.  Some of the jazz stuff seemed, outright s*xy to me.   Really short tight outfits, and some real, I can't even adequately describe them, moves I am very uncomfortable with.   It looked very burlesque-y to me.   

 

I guess my question is, are there certain styles of dance that tend to be more "objectionable" if have concerns about modesty (or however you want to phrase it).   Or is it really more the studio that dictates the flavor of what's acceptable?

 

 

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That's pretty typical of both styles and I think it's less of a studio issue and more your comfort level, honestly. Especially in hip hop, I'd expect a fair bit of gyrating and suggestive moves. Jazz, it depends on the music but I'd say a fair number of routines I've seen are pretty saucy, too.

 

Tap, clogging/Irish/highland, some modern, ballet, ballroom - all better choices if you tend toward the modest side in costuming and choreography.

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I have found that my son's studio that focuses on ballet, character, contemporary, and tap has much fewer provocative moves and less revealing costuming than my daughters' which includes jazz and hip hop. So it could be style OR studio in that situation I guess.

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The Amish would not approve of the costumes my dd wore for the recital, but I thought they were fine :laugh: .   One was basically a really tight short sparkly dress with an open back, and the other was a gold leotard with a see through black thing over it.   DD wore bright red lipstick and blush, and her tap class danced to a Run DMC song.  The naughty bits of the song were omitted.  That was all fine with me.   I don't feel like I am overly conservative about this stuff, although who knows.  It's really some of the moves that bothered me, not the costumes as much.

 

When I saw jazz as a class I thought, "Oh that's like tap, dd will like that" and maybe the problem is that jazz is a bit "saucier" than I thought.

 

We are thinking of switching her from jazz to contemporary next year.   The other funny thing is, the modern she took this year seemed more like ballet to me, whereas contemporary we saw at the recital as more like the modern we are used to.

 

It's all very confusing  :confused1: .

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I have been to dance recitals before where certain numbers were extremely provocative, so I understand where you are coming from. The dance moms I've talked to have said that you have to specifically look for a studio that leans on the modest side of that is what you prefer.

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We go to a studio that is modest. I am pretty conservative and nothing in music, costumes, or dancing would make me bat an eye.

 

Our studio does offer "hip hop" but it is really just a high energy, acrobatic type of dance with some fist pumping and dabbing and lots of cartwheels and head stands. It is fun and great exercise but it is really a challenge for the studio to come up with appropriate music every recital. They don't even have a class for the older girls because it actually comes off pretty silly. I honestly think any studio offering true hip hop is going to be pushing the limits of what some folks feel is appropriate for kids.

 

I think you might prefer studios that don't even offer hip hop. The more conservative studios around here just don't have it. I think it is really hard to do a conservative hip hop and not have it come off looking goofy.

 

I think jazz can go either way depending on the studio. Ours is not saucy or anything I could call inappropriate or suggestive. However, I think the style of dance is just going to look more suggestive when you put teens with womanly bodies on stage doing the dancing.

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I think it depends on the studio AND the style of dance. As for jazz, it sounds like your daughter's class was in modern jazz

when you were thinking more lyrical jazz. Even ballet can be questionable (sadly) depending on the studio. A more conservative 

option is classical ballet as opposed to modern ballet or fusion. Clogging and Irish dance are pretty conservative. As you look at 

different studios, ASK questions about the classes: what type of music will they be listeing to? Who's the singer (that will give you A LOT

of insight). Do they have an idea yet on costumes for the recital? One thing I loved when my daughter took ballet is the teacher just gave

them guidelines of what the costume should look like and the parents could go out and buy them. Sometimes the instructor even had costumes

the kids could borrow! (OT but related to dance, I think the money most studios expect parents to pay for a one-time costume is outrageous,

especially with all the money you've already poured into the dance lessons!)

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No experience, but I agree that there are some dance routines and costumes that are just inappropriate for minors, and cringe-worthy even for adults who weren't looking for a cabaret show.  I've seen moms proudly post their 9yos' routines and I'm like, wow, not in a good way.

 

I hope you find what you are looking for.

Edited by SKL
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No suggestive moves in our jazz or hip hop classes. I think it depends on the studio. Our studio only has three competition teams, which are invitation-only and you can turn it down. I'd give competition studios a second chance. Maybe talk to the studio directors about your concerns and see if you can watch upper level recital videos.

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Our boys attend a studio that is owned and run by a lovely woman who is loudly Christian (prays prior to recital, etc.) and caters to her Bible belt area. 

However, even in her studio, hip hop and jazz are noticeably "saucier" than the tap, ballet, modern, etc. Less "saucy" than at some other studios, but still saucy.

 

But, if costumes bother you, even the tap costumes for the older groups were, what I would peg as, saucy -- tight, sparkly, and themed. But so were the modern and contemporary costumes once we're talking advanced enough to be performing as part of the company. 

 

I don't personally have a problem with it -- and I like saucy. It's fun for us :)

 

I think, to go more modest, you may have to find a studio that is more purely ballet. We have studios in our area that are ballet studios "with sides" -- but all kids start in ballet and ballet is the main focus; tap, contemporary, etc. seem to only be offered to help the children in their ballet classes.

 

 

Edited by AimeeM
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It sounds like there's some room for compromise though... they offer different styles and some of them are better from your perspective. And I think it's important to remember that to the kids, shaking your hips is literally just shaking your hips. There's nothing suggestive about it until someone puts that on it.

 

I agree that competition studios aren't necessarily bad and you should reconsider any that are in your area.

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Honestly, we experienced this at my granddaughters' recital recently. I'm not really that conservative when it comes to things like music and clothing (I mean, I do draw a line at being super scantily clad in public - I don't need to see your private areas), but some of the dances are just too seductive. I feel like we shouldn't really encourage young girls to be "sexy." I just think we have enough issues with them growing up too quickly as it is, and there is enough of that in the world that I don't think we need to add to it through something that should be innocent, healthy and fun.

 

FWIW, my dds wanted the girls in a classical ballet only studio, but it's an hour away and for their first year, it just seemed like more commitment than necessary. Should they stay in ballet next year, that's likely where they'll be headed.

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I guess my question is, are there certain styles of dance that tend to be more "objectionable" if have concerns about modesty (or however you want to phrase it).   Or is it really more the studio that dictates the flavor of what's acceptable?

 

In my experience, it's the studio.

We've been through 3 dance studios over the years. One was definitely cringe worthy in their costumes and moves, no matter the style of dance. Usually their rec classes weren't as objectionable as their competition classes.

 

The other two studios were very family friendly in their costumes and moves, no matter the style of dance or level of class. I liked these studios much better :)

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Some dance places where I live have moves that I do not consider appropriate, and that I do not think an adult would perform unless performing in an adult entertainment club. There are plenty of places that are more appropriate. I would look around and pick a different studio if I saw that going on, even if at an older level since my child would be there eventually.

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One of (but definitely not the only) reasons we opted for Scottish Highland dancing.

 

:-)

Anne

My MIL is from Scotland, and she's in her 90s now, but she can still do a shadow of the Scottish Highland dancing, and she looks great and happy and sweet doing it.  I love the cultural dances of different people.  

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I really hate that stuff.  It's just so inappropriate for young girls.  I have a friend that posts her daughters routines and photos, and I find some of them really over the top - I've seen strippers in outfits that were pretty similar.

 

My son's ballet studio does also offer classes in jazz, modern, hip hop, and sometimes other styles, and I am really happy that they are never skimpy or inappropriate.  One thing is that we don't ever buy costumes, they belong to the school, and that may make a difference - who wants to share what are pretty much someone elses underclothes?

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It is possible to have highly technical, well-choreographed, non-provocative dance routines, even in teen jazz and hip-hop. The problem is when the people running the show just don't even think in those terms.

 

My kids go to a studio that has an optional comp team, and is not ballet-centered. I am modest and conservative, and there was not a single dance in the entire recital weekend that I would have not been okay with my kids performing. The costumes and music were all appropriate. And the dances were amazing.

 

It can be done. Are most directors and teachers willing to make the effort? From the discussions that pop up here frequently, it appears not.

Edited by musicianmom
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I would pick a different sport unless the studio owner and teacher can guarantee an agreed upon level of appropriateness. And, that won't happen. Try a ballet only studio, a YMCA, a performing arts school as part of a church, community theaters, etc. I know you mentioned there are no other options, but, do a last check of unlikely places.

 

One of the most Christian studios in our state was the one who showed up with a pole prop two years ago. It was supposed to be a mast on a ship, but, it was a pole. In my years as a dance mom, I watched as tights, long flowy skirts, and one pieces disappeared. I watched as two inches of midriff showing became a foot of midriff showing. I watched as butt cheeks hanging out became the norm. I watched as hardly no one knew what body tape was to suddenly needing two rolls per competition. The only good thing that has happened is the return of long skirts this past year at competitions. Hopefully, this marks the return to sanity.

 

DD17 and I made sure her thoughts about appropriateness was honored. But, we both got lax toward the end. The desire to win and a lack of backup from the other parents curtailed our better judgment. I will not be posting some of the winning numbers on Facebook, that is for sure.

 

But, holding her own paid off in many ways. For example, in one of her hip hop solos she wore no makeup, her One One Six sweat pants and a Mario Brothers sweatshirt. That scored platinum or double platinum everywhere she went. She also did a break dancing duo in an Addidas sweat suit that scored as well. She won her first grand national championship in long pants and a long sleeved pullover in a tap number. Part of her success was just being different. Even judges must get tired of one skimpily clad kid after another lifting her leg above her head with only a thin strip of cloth preventing arrests and jail time.

 

I really have no idea how things got so bad in the dance world. It seemed to change just enough each year that parents were complacent with the new looks and moves. Each year an added inch of cleavage (or future cleavage) became the new norm. The lack of appropriate music sure doesn't help either. I cannot imagine any parent from my childhood tolerating it.

 

The good thing about the costume skimpiness, or maybe Dance Moms, or maybe just a trend in the industry itself is the added emphasis on conditioning. Many of these kids call themselves power dancers. The tricks in hip hop and break dancing, the lifts in the other genres, and the exertion required for the faster numbers and holds for modern numbers is requiring muscular, core strong athletes. These stronger kids get fewer injuries.

 

Sorry, rambling. I just wanted to say, I am shocked, too. And, I was dumb enough to let my kid participate.

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We are at a conservative studio where the costumes and moves are all modest. Sometimes hip hop dances at the studio are a little saucier, but not bad. Costumes never show bellys and most have sleeves. Our teachers just believe kids should be kids. They tend to do all styles in a more musical theater version. Love it. Don't know if we could ever find a studio like it anywhere else.

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We've been at two studios. Both of them are deliberate about making the dances and costumes age appropriate. At the first one (mainly a ballet studio), the tap and jazz program was led by a Christian woman who told all parents outright that she only would choose modest outfits and teach non-sexy routines, even though she ran a competition team. Our current studio is a pre-professional ballet studio attached to a professional ballet company, but they do teach jazz, tap, and modern as well. All routines and costumes are tasteful and age appropriate.

 

So you can find such studios. A ballet studio that offers other classes may be a more conservative option than a multi-discipline studio with a competition team. It may be hard to find in some areas.

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I personally think you could make a small fortune in most cities in the US offering a modest dance studio, and not just for religious people.  We are not religious and the costumes we see on 4 year olds at the city carnival (where local groups perform) or wherever else have led me to avoid dance as as a sport.  Nope, not doing, nada.

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That stuff bothers me too;  it's just so unnecessary.  I do think it's quite typical for those types of dances, but there are places that do a better job of keeping it nice.  We were lucky in that I did notice some classes ahead of my girls' classes that were like that, but by the time we got to that age, the instructor listened to our opinions and was much more careful about moves, songs, and dress.  She did seem to cater to the particular families involved, and there were a lot of us who felt the same way!

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We've had no problems with our Russian style (Vaganova) ballet school, but then again I think the hip hop and modern dance studios in town also do a good job of providing beautiful, non-provocative dance. Don't think there is much demand in our town for the racy stuff.

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I personally think you could make a small fortune in most cities in the US offering a modest dance studio, and not just for religious people. We are not religious and the costumes we see on 4 year olds at the city carnival (where local groups perform) or wherever else have led me to avoid dance as as a sport. Nope, not doing, nada.

Me too. We're atheists and we're appalled at the trend of making four year olds sexy.

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It sounds like there's some room for compromise though... they offer different styles and some of them are better from your perspective. And I think it's important to remember that to the kids, shaking your hips is literally just shaking your hips. There's nothing suggestive about it until someone puts that on it.

 

I agree that competition studios aren't necessarily bad and you should reconsider any that are in your area.

 

I think everyone around here knows that I'm not conservative at all and the last person to get worked up about stuff like this. But even I was taken aback at some of the routines I saw online when I was checking into dance schools because dd was interested a few years ago. While young kids certainly don't find the moves suggestive, I'd question the judgement of an adult dance instructor who thinks it's okay to have little kids twerking and hip thrusting. :blink: Some of them really do go WAY beyond hip shaking. 

 

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We go to a studio that is modest. I am pretty conservative and nothing in music, costumes, or dancing would make me bat an eye.

 

Our studio does offer "hip hop" but it is really just a high energy, acrobatic type of dance with some fist pumping and dabbing and lots of cartwheels and head stands. It is fun and great exercise but it is really a challenge for the studio to come up with appropriate music every recital. They don't even have a class for the older girls because it actually comes off pretty silly. I honestly think any studio offering true hip hop is going to be pushing the limits of what some folks feel is appropriate for kids.

 

I think you might prefer studios that don't even offer hip hop. The more conservative studios around here just don't have it. I think it is really hard to do a conservative hip hop and not have it come off looking goofy.

 

I think jazz can go either way depending on the studio. Ours is not saucy or anything I could call inappropriate or suggestive. However, I think the style of dance is just going to look more suggestive when you put teens with womanly bodies on stage doing the dancing.

 

Our studio's hip hop is also very athletic - not sexy at all.  I suppose that is because it is 75% boys?  

 

Jazz on the other hand...  This year's show was all decent enough except one jazz performance by the teenage girls - they actually whipped off their skirts during the performance and were using chairs and tables as props for sexual positions.  It's hard to understand how that was considered a great idea - and it is hard for us to see how parents want to actually see their kids performing that way.  Their costumes (once the skirt was ripped off) were like the black sexy stuff at a lingerie store with fishnet sockings and garters.  

 

In trying to figure out how to make it all work for our family (years ago), we went with just the classical ballet program that follows the international Royal Academy of Dance - they dance to classical music, have certain moves to learn, and it is very well structured.  In our studio the non-competitive ballet sometimes has suggestive songs, and does not necessarily have as professional teaching, so the kids aren't as polished in what they learn.  

 

Good luck.  Our studio was quite modest when we started 7 years ago.  Many of the things they do still are, and the classical ballet program is just what we thought it would be, but whoever choreographs the teen jazz competitive stuff has had some doozies two years in a row.  The younger jazz groups do moves I am not particularly fond of, but nothing too over the top.  

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I appreciate all the answers so far!

 

I want to reiterate that that there are NO other options for us.  I'm not against competition studios or ballet studios or whatever.   I only mentioned the non-competition thing because people told me locally that they tend to be less "saucy".   Which I actually think may be true based on other things I have seen.  We are on our fifth studio at this point.   We tried 2, almost gave up, found Goldilocks and spent 5 years there.   Last summer I was devastated, because I knew we weren't going to find a good fit.   I went on a massive hunt, I posted on boards and contacted people and everyone I talked to who know about our previous studio told us there wasn't anything like it around.   That we weren't going to find that situation again.  And I am not looking for that magic scenario again, I just don't want over the top butt-shaking type stuff.  

 

There were 2 studios I didn't try, one because it was too far away and I am not convinced it's any better than ours.   It costs half as much so it is tempting.  And the second studio I ruled out because you have to do competition team, and we just can't handle that schedule.  So, I tried another competition studio that was closer to us before the one we are at now.   I was wary for several reasons.  But, they couldn't even get enough kids together to run ANY of the classes my daughter wanted to take.   No modern, contemporaray, jazz or tap.  So, we went with our last option.   It hasn't been horrible, there have been good points.   But.  

 

There is not a "Christian" studio anywhere near here, it's actually a laughable thought in this area.   I am not looking for a "Christian" studio but I would have tried it by now.  The ballet school only does ballet classes.   If dd just wanted to do ballet, we would probably be all set.   I've actually looked into the local, "go to high school part time/do dance part time program".    Which is also not an option for us.

 

I have exhaustively googled, talked to people, prayed, pulled my hair out, done a rain dance.....there are no other options.   We are currently going to a studio that is the most expensive in the area and that is a pain for us to get to.   

 

I wasn't going to explain all this, but I don't want people to think I haven't bent over backwards, and that I am not trying.    Or that there are some magical options out there I haven't considered  :lol: !   

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I personally think you could make a small fortune in most cities in the US offering a modest dance studio, and not just for religious people.  We are not religious and the costumes we see on 4 year olds at the city carnival (where local groups perform) or wherever else have led me to avoid dance as as a sport.  Nope, not doing, nada.

 

Yeah, I don't think it's mainly a religious thing.  The owner of the studio we use isn't religious - they just don't think it's a thing to dress minor teens in order to be sexually provocative, nor younger kids to mimic that. 

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I hate when the boys are dressed in a totally cute and appropriate pair of shorts and shirt and the girls have the midriff tops or something... It seems so unfair.

 

This is so baffling to me.  They wear comfortable clothing and shoes (I have 2 boys).  Meanwhile the girls wear all kinds of crazy uncomfortable get ups and shoes (not always though). 

 

The recital we went to was a really good mix of things.  They had a number, for example, where the mostly girl group was dressed in chef pants/coat.  Definitely not uncomfortable or revealing. 

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This is so baffling to me.  They wear comfortable clothing and shoes (I have 2 boys).  Meanwhile the girls wear all kinds of crazy uncomfortable get ups and shoes (not always though). 

 

The recital we went to was a really good mix of things.  They had a number, for example, where the mostly girl group was dressed in chef pants/coat.  Definitely not uncomfortable or revealing. 

 

Yes.  But you know, I feel like people are often a little inconsistent with this

 

It is a thing in our society that girls clothing is often designed to explisitly sexualize, sometimes at quite a young age, and so the young girls aren't even really aware of it - it just seems normal and pretty or cool.

 

Boys don't face the same pressures.

 

And yet any time there is a discussion of why school dress codes seem to struggle so much with girl's clothing in particular, or why young men would be affected by seeing girls presented as sexual objects all the time, this is ignored, or attempts to control that kind of pressure are presented as an attempt to oppress and sexualize girls.

 

We are telling young girls all the time that their clothing choices are not reflective of sexuality, they can wear what they want, and so on.  So, no wonder many of them, and some adults, believe it. 

 

This kind of hyper-equalization in dance is what you get when you combine that with a competitive situation where people are trying to make an impression and push the envelope.

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Yes.  But you know, I feel like people are often a little inconsistent with this

 

It is a thing in our society that girls clothing is often designed to explisitly sexualize, sometimes at quite a young age, and so the young girls aren't even really aware of it - it just seems normal and pretty or cool.

 

Boys don't face the same pressures.

 

And yet any time there is a discussion of why school dress codes seem to struggle so much with girl's clothing in particular, or why young men would be affected by seeing girls presented as sexual objects all the time, this is ignored, or attempts to control that kind of pressure are presented as an attempt to oppress and sexualize girls.

 

We are telling young girls all the time that their clothing choices are not reflective of sexuality, they can wear what they want, and so on.  So, no wonder many of them, and some adults, believe it. 

 

This kind of hyper-equalization in dance is what you get when you combine that with a competitive situation where people are trying to make an impression and push the envelope.

 

Yeah it sure is confusing.  I don't know what the answer is.

 

 

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I'm totally with you on the questionable dance moves, costumes and music in many dance schools. My dc danced for a year at a christian dance school. The costumes were great, as was the music and the movements. As an audience member, I could simply focus on the beautiful dance steps and cute kids, as it should be, IMO.  The owners and instructors of this dance school were very cognizant of choosing quality music, movements and keeping the costumes very simple. 

 

 

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There were 2 studios I didn't try, one because it was too far away and I am not convinced it's any better than ours.   It costs half as much so it is tempting.  And the second studio I ruled out because you have to do competition team, and we just can't handle that schedule.  So, I tried another competition studio that was closer to us before the one we are at now.   I was wary for several reasons.  But, they couldn't even get enough kids together to run ANY of the classes my daughter wanted to take.   No modern, contemporaray, jazz or tap.  So, we went with our last option.   It hasn't been horrible, there have been good points.   But.  

 

 

 

Well, you've done all your research, now you have to decide if you stick with the place you're at and just pick and choose the least saucy classes OR give the cheaper, inconvenient place a go.

 

Another wild card choice is to switch to exercise classes (like Zumba, aerobics, etc.) instead. Could you research what it would take for your dd to become an instructor? That might be something that would incorporate dance into her life without all the saucy hassle and give her some job skills she can use part time?

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I think everyone around here knows that I'm not conservative at all and the last person to get worked up about stuff like this. But even I was taken aback at some of the routines I saw online when I was checking into dance schools because dd was interested a few years ago. While young kids certainly don't find the moves suggestive, I'd question the judgement of an adult dance instructor who thinks it's okay to have little kids twerking and hip thrusting. :blink: Some of them really do go WAY beyond hip shaking. 

 

 

I agree.... but really, to me, it's not about being a Christian, an atheist, an agnostic or something else. Most people that I know, regardless of their religious beliefs don't want their girls doing the hip thrusting. I hate it when people act like it's a Christian value to care about that kind of thing.... it's not.

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Jazz on the other hand...  This year's show was all decent enough except one jazz performance by the teenage girls - they actually whipped off their skirts during the performance and were using chairs and tables as props for sexual positions.  It's hard to understand how that was considered a great idea - and it is hard for us to see how parents want to actually see their kids performing that way.  Their costumes (once the skirt was ripped off) were like the black sexy stuff at a lingerie store with fishnet sockings and garters.   

 

  There was one song that kept repeating, "touch my body" and the dancers kept, running their hands up and down their bodies.   I am just not comfortable with things like that.  But, I expected that from hip-hop classes.  However, the jazz dances surprised me.  Some of the jazz stuff seemed, outright s*xy to me.   Really short tight outfits, and some real, I can't even adequately describe them, moves I am very uncomfortable with.   It looked very burlesque-y to me.   

 

I'm no help re: dance styles, but it's hard to imagine why anyone thinks this type of thing is a good idea. This type of dancing would be a deal-breaker for me.

 

Have you considered Tae Kwon Do? We love it and the uniforms couldn't be more modest (and comfortable)! 

Edited by MercyA
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I feel like I need to see an example of this. Like, clothing for little kids being "skimpy" doesn't usually bother me unless it's plastered with weird messaging ("Daddy's little princess gets whatever she wants" and "I'm growing up to be a sexpot" kind of crap). None of the places my kid has danced has ever had anything that even remotely bugged me - even the studio he was at when he was little that had a kids' hip hop class. (Other ds's theater company is another story, but that's not dance or costume related... it's that they're insane... let's just not go there or I'll get off on a long rant about young people in their early 20's with questionable social skills starting theater companies).

 

So... anyone got a Youtube link of what we're talking here?

Edited by Farrar
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