Merry Christmas 2020 and Happy New Year in 2021! This past Christmas allowed me to enter into the joy of giving. How about you? Amid Christmas trees and gift-giving, I became aware of a special story by O’Henry called ‘The Gift of the Magi.’ When I was 10 years old, it captured my heart and made me reflect about the real meaning of Christmas. The story describes how sacrificial love should inform the way we share gifts: to go beyond our needs to see the needs of others. In 2020, it helps me to share Christmas presents with you wrapped in the right perspective.  To decorate your mind with Christmas joy, take a few minutes to listen to this wonderful short story

Because the O’Henry story is so inspiring, I want to share 4 gifts with you that come from a foundation of deeper purpose. First, a Christmas gift that invites YOU to share your DA:NCE story. Personally. Transparently. Authentically. Organically. We need to educate the culture about the differences between healthy and harmful dance so that adults can make informed choices. Most of us know the stories about healthy dance. The void involves harmful dance that probes deeply into dark, unspoken cultural wallpaper. Here’s a reminder of one part of a story shared by Danielle Freitag.

This invitation is everywhere on DA:NCE: our website, social media, interviews, blogs, and articles. When you come to share your story, we give you the option to share anonymously or add your name to your story. How does this happen? Go to the new landing page on danceawareness.com.

Now peek at a section from the invitation: “If you have a story you’d be willing to share, we’d love to listen. How did the experience impact you, especially now as you look back as an adult? What do you wish you knew then that you know now? By sharing your experience with us, you’ll be equipping us with powerful, real life outcomes that we can share with parents, dance instructors, and studio owners. These stories open eyes! Join our army of concerned adults and help us protect children from hypersexualized dance.”

Now for a second Christmas gift. I was invited to attend a webinar on current research behind the value of movement. Taught by Dr. Kelly McGonigal (who loves movement and teaches dance), it provided information based on a book that she released in 2019: The Joy of Movement. In this book, experts explain that movement (any kind) provides positive outcomes for mental, physical and emotional development. Research shows that movement goes way beyond physical ‘exercise’ (especially the kind that you hate); it actually provides hope to people, serves as an antidote to depression, and gathers what McGonigal calls collective community joy.  I recommend that you read her book. And just so you’ll realize the importance of her words, take a minute to read about Dr. McGonigal in an NPR interview.

As a third Christmas gift, get ready for a choreography resource that will help both trained and untrained dancers to create movement for whatever inspiration they have. Dance educators Helene Scheff, Marty Sprague, and Susan McGreevy-Nichols have just released Experiencing Dance: from Student to Dance Artist (2nd Edition- hardcover or e-book available; both versions have online materials that authors encourage you to request). I met Marty at a conference in February and immediately noticed her joyous spirit. She’s a featured dance educator with NDEO and will be teaching an online class this spring designed to offer participants experience with a system that can be used to teach basic elements and principles of choreography; it explores how to encourage self-expression through dance making.

And now (drum roll), here comes gift number four: Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker– a documentary released in 2020 just in time for Christmas. It’s a traditional, seasonal story told in an untraditional way. Gather with your family to view it😊

Last(unfortunately), some redemptive coal from the grinch.

The NYTimes released an article about Pornhub on December 4, 2020.  Pornhub is the largest provider of pornography in the world. In 2019 they had 42 billion visits averaging 115 million a day or 80,000 visits a minute.  The article describes the abuse perpetrated on adults and children that is increasing. It articulates the need to protect human beings, especially children, from abuse. Remember, harmful dance grooms children for abusive behavior by normalizing hypersexualization in adult costumes, choreography and music. There’s a clear connection between pornography and dance hypersexualization.

After this article was published, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation released an opinion article to reinforce the information found in the Times.

Because of these articles, visa and mastercard decided to terminate the use of their cards on Pornhub. Who said that things can’t change? As adults, let’s join together to get our priorities straight and defend the rights of children to be children. To help us, please share your DA:NCE Story or pass the invitation to someone who has one.

“Your work in dance awareness is so important in our world today. I admire your dedication, hard work, and tenacity to overcome fear to do your God-given work. Thank you for helping to save girls from exploitation.” Maryann Lacy 12.1.20

My next blog? Get ready to hear about the release of 25 DA:NCE video clips that you can share on social media.