Several weeks ago an article came out on several news outlets about current abuse in children’s dance. I’d advise you to get some tissues out while you take a few minutes to read it. It’s awful.
This was my response to the article on social media: “Break The Floor Productions, a Los Angeles dance industry powerhouse, breaks my heart. Young dance students are groomed for sexual abuse and silence. Afterward, their dreams are tossed away by adult predators who move onto the next victim. Until caring adults unite to stop the explosion of sexual abuse in children’s dance, the joy of age-appropriate, healthy dance cannot shine.” Mary Bawden, Founder of DA:NCE
It’s time. Time for personal dance interviews that put a face on sexual abuse outcomes from the evidence-based research about harmful, hypersexualized dance for children. We’re compiling personal stories that will help the culture to understand the seriousness of harmful dance trends for children. Below are 2 researched outcomes. There are many more:
- Hypersexualization in dance for children with adult costumes, choreography and music have negative outcomes researched by the American Psychological Association: Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, Poor Academic Performance, Promiscuity, Teen Pregnancy, Higher Risk of Abusive Relationships, Higher Risk of Pornography Use, Unable to Identify Sexual Abuse, Mismanagement of Social Networking, Promotes Rape Culture, Promotes Objectification of Females, Relationship Wounding due to Constant Comparison, Co-Dependence, Desensitization. Unfortunately, this can include an increasing number of hypersexualized boys.
- Brain research shows that children who are exposed to adult sexuality before it is age-appropriate suffer cognitive and academic harm affecting brain development: the basal ganglia(increasing reactive impulses) and the pre-frontal cortex(decreasing self-control).
Friends, there’s been a cultural shift in children’s dance from healthy educational dance to harmful, hypersexualized dance in adult costumes, choreography and music. At younger and younger ages. The shift to harmful dance is destroying the art of dance as it abuses children. Today, through the influence of the internet, the media, and CSAM(child sexual abuse material) which is connected to the pornography industry, adults have to make informed choices when they choose a dance studio for their child(or grandchild or neighbor or student). Actually, let’s simplify the problem. It is the job of adults to make healthy personal choices and to supervise healthy choices for children: sleep, food, activities, you name it. DA:NCE is here to provide you with the tools you need to supervise those decisions for children in dance. Our mission is to educate the public about the long-term trauma that accompanies the complexity of negative outcomes when children are made into mini-adults dressed in adult costumes, moving in sexual choreography and saturated with adult themes in music.
That’s why we want to shine a spotlight on this problem. That’s why we’re interviewing courageous victims of dance abuse through ‘Share Your DA:NCE Story.’ That’s why we need you to help us. The on-going interviews started this spring. So let’s get started. Let me introduce the DA:NCE team that handles the interviews:
DA:NCE educator, researcher and TV interviewer Mikaela Gray-Beerman. In May 2021, she wrote an insightful newsletter article for DA:NCE titled ‘The 2021 Grammy Awards Performance and the Sexualization of Children’. You may also recall that Mikhaela interviewed me about harmful children’s dance for a TV show in Canada.
DA:NCE film-maker Neal Thibedeau. A long-time member of our team who is an AFI(American Film Institute) graduate. He traveled with me to Washington where we interviewed experts at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Coalition Summit in 2019. In February 2020, we released a film with these interviews educating you about the differences between healthy and harmful dance. Take a peek at a few of our video resources created with Neal’s touch:
- A 6 minute trailer that gives an overview of DA:NCE
- A 20 minute video interviewing national experts
- Two short clips with experts(many more are on the website): clip1; clip2
Now onto 3 women who have bravely stepped forward for interviews. It will take time to edit the footage for DA:NCE use. You’ll begin to see partial interviews in the fall. Thank you Danielle, Jaime, and Frances. These stories will help you understand what the future holds for children who are not protected from harmful dance. I am also including a link to the articles that these courageous women wrote for the DA:NCE newsletter in past issues.
Danielle Freitag: The Dance of Innocence Restored
Jaime Logan’s story in the article about volunteering for DA:NCE
Frances Carr: From Tapdance to Lapdance
As I leave you, let me share a reminder about restoring the wonder of childhood dance through the vehicle of a song ‘She Loves to Move’. At DA:NCE we’re going to show you how. More on this next month(SO Excited to give you the scoop).
Help DA:NCE keep children’s dance healthy by exposing harmful dance to educate adults through ‘Share Your DA:NCE Story.’
Please feel free to email us with your DA:NCE story. We’d like to hear from you anonymously or personally.