Are you part of ‘the grumble’? That’s somebody who distances him/herself from a cultural or personal trend that is uncomfortable.

SILENT THOUGHTS: Maybe the problem will go away? Maybe we can solve it without addressing it?

Many adults don’t see what’s happening to children’s dance because of the creeping internet and media connection to pornography; that blindness normalizes the pattern and grooms the culture to accept it.  On the other hand, facing a negative trend shows that we can change abuse if we have the courage to identify it and name it. Even if it’s hard.

Drum Roll.

That’s why I’m honored to introduce you to a new DA:NCE trailer: Dance Studios & Children: 3 Survivors Speak About Hypersexualization. It weaves evidence-based research and personal stories into a powerful message about hypersexualized dance. It’s all about courage from Frances, Danielle and Jaime. Let me explain.

‘Solid information in any form is good…..”But that’s not necessarily enough.” A vivid, emotional story “can give that extra push to make it feel more real or more important.” If you look at the times somebody’s beliefs have been changed, she says, it’s often because of a story that “hits them in the heart.” ‘ (Source: NPR)

That’s why DA:NCE wanted to connect factual research about harmful dance to real stories of real people with survivors that were hypersexualized through a DA:NCE initiative called ‘Share Your DA:NCE Story’; that’s why we believe that authentic stories will touch people’s hearts and allow for cultural change in dance; it’s why we chose to interview Jaime Logan, Danielle Freitag and Frances Carr. They sound the alarm for a sleeping culture. These 3 survivors share stories to help all of us understand the problem of hypersexualized children’s dance in adult costumes, choreography & music because they personally experienced trauma and abuse in that context.

Mikhaela Beerman

These courageous women were interviewed by the Director of Special Projects at DA:NCE. Mikhaela Beerman, MEd, is an anti-trafficking advocate, researcher, educator, and consultant. Mikhaela is the host and community producer of a RogersTV television program and podcast on human trafficking called Freedom Fighters: Code. She also supports several different anti-trafficking agencies. Moreover, Mikhaela has been a dance educator for 14 years in multiple disciplines, and she has conducted research on the positive impacts of Creative Dance on children.  She is the Founder and Creative Director for an outdoor arts school for children that raises funds for charity. During the interview process for the video trailer, she asked inductive questions about a difficult topic that we need to shine a light on. No grumbles from Mikhaela. You won’t hear or see her on the trailer as she was edited out. But today I’m editing her in. We’re thankful that she is on the DA:NCE Team. 😊 You might also want to read a blog post she wrote for the DA:NCE newsletter when we first met her in 2021.

And let’s not forget our film maker, Neal Thibedeau. He was there to record the interviews on zoom. For the last few months, he has edited the footage and created a masterful trailer with a powerful message that ends with an invitation. We want YOU to ‘Share Your Dance Story.’ When you sign up, you can use your name or you can share it anonymously. We just want real stories with real people that are real survivors giving light to the real harms from hypersexualization. Of course, filming on zoom is not the same as recording in person. One day we plan to tell these stories by filming a few of them on location. On the other hand, the end result is a trailer with educational information that blends the research with authentic stories. And that’s the main point. Please share Dance Studios and Children: 3 Survivors Speak About Hypersexualization with your friends and family.

Don’t be part of ‘the grumble.’ We’ve been culturally asleep for far too long. Awareness & action can stop exploitation. Can I challenge you to send this trailer to 5-10 people in your relational world?

Coming up next month: A report on speaking, attending and exhibiting at the National SHAPE Conference in Seattle, Washington. Guess what I’m speaking on? Wholesome to Hypersexualized: What Happened to Children’s Dance, The topic is no surprise……😊