So much to share.

On June 12, 2021, DA:NCE released a new video resource titled Wholesome to Hypersexualized: What Happened to Children’s Dance? Perfect timing. 3 groups requested this resource when my schedule didn’t allow for me to speak to them personally. The film is 6 ½ minutes long and explains why I was called to found DA:NCE. It also includes remarks from national experts. What a wonderful group of committed, caring people! Please share the new video link within your personal relational circle. The goal: to protect children in dance from exploitation through hypersexualization in adult costumes, choreography and music. Friends, this is a grass roots movement that needs YOU. And courage.

At the same time, can I invite you to register for the NCOSE(National Center on Sexual Exploitation) Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation(CESE) Online Conference that is scheduled from July 20-24? It’s FREE. I continue to be impressed with the work that NCOSE is doing on behalf of child protection. They understand the growing trend to hypersexualize children through media exposure from movies, TV, and magazines to clothing, toys, dance, and the internet.  From this media exposure, dance students are interacting with online predators who abuse & violate them with unfiltered platforms like Tik-Tok. Look again at another new DA:NCE resource that was created with online child protection expert Charlene Doak-Gebauer. It’s toxic dance in a pornified culture.

Jonty Claypole BBC’s director of the arts says that “Dance is everywhere.”

If it’s everywhere, let’s make sure that ‘healthy dance’, not ‘harmful dance’, is everywhere. As I mentioned above, media-driven, internet exposure has saturated most of our homes and many of our dance studios. That’s why NCOSE invited me to present a talk explaining the differences between healthy and harmful dance at their upcoming conference; in my remarks, I communicate the connection between harmful, hypersexualized children’s dance and pornography (the 4th educational goal of DA:NCE). Webster’s dictionary says that pornography is the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement. My question to you: Why should children in dance be used to excite adults sexually? Who is benefitting from this relationship? Is the bottom line making money for the porn industry, using children for adult sexual stimulation, or valuing children? What is the motive behind the media message?

Truthful information can be hard to process. Researcher Brene Brown says: “I always bring my core values to feedback conversations. I specifically bring courage, which means that I don’t choose comfort over being respectful and honest—choosing politeness over respect is not respectful.” Let’s engage our peers with courage. Please pray for my pre-recorded talk to be understood and received internationally.

Now let’s shift our discussion.  I’d like to high-light some podcasts and articles that affect children in dance and actually, all children:

  1. The TikTok Story explains the disturbing things TikTok’s youngest users can be exposed to. Reporter Shelly Banjo and NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins explain the consequences of TikTok’s failure to safeguard its adolescent user base.
  2. Donna Rice-Hughes from Enough is Enough presents ‘The Internet is more accessible than ever.
  3. Here’s an article that reveals how internet sex predators are grooming children to engage in predatory trends with friends and siblings. Educate yourself.
  4. Tedtalk: Remembering Gary Wilson(1953-2021); Gary was a Tedtalk pioneer informing adults about the perils of porn.

As June 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to remind you of the value of educational dance by high-lighting  Jacques d’Amboise who died in May. He was a fine dancer and a marvelous dance educator. In 1976 he founded the National Dance Institute(NDI) to promote dance for children. At first the group only had 30 boys. As of 2021 the program had reached 2 million children(both boys and girls). I have a passion to promote and remember the power of healthy dance so that we are motivated to fight against the abuse and grooming in harmful dance.

Jacques d’Amboise teaching children to dance at NDI

Last but not least, DA:NCE is excited to sponsor the dance floor at the upcoming Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival. You may or may not know that when you dance, the flooring needs to be safe. It protects the feet and body joints of dancers so that they are not injured. I grew up in Redlands, danced at the Redlands Bowl, and attended many of the Redlands Bowl outdoor summer concerts as a child. These arts gatherings impacted my heart and indirectly shaped who I became. I invite you to look at their season and attend their online concerts. Enjoy!

Redlands Bowl Arts Festival

Next month: a surprise is coming!