How to look for signs of hypersexualization
Not sure if your child’s dance studio is teaching healthy or harmful dance? Here are a few actions you can take to find out:
Visit the studio during children’s dance lessons. The atmosphere should be loving and the communication to parents should be consistent and open. As a parent, you should be able to ask questions about any aspect of a dance class without feeling awkward. The environment should be welcoming!
Look on the walls for pictures of past recitals. Are children dressed in age appropriate costumes? If you are able to observe a lesson, what is being taught? Is the choreography true to the art form of dance, or does it seem sexualized and inappropriate for children?
Call or visit your local dance studio and ask to speak with the owner. Ask what the studio’s position is on teaching hypersexualized versus age-appropriate dance. A good question: “What is your philosophy about the use of adult costumes, choreography and music for children enrolled at this dance studio?”
Before enrolling your child in lessons, attend one of the studio’s dance recitals. This will take a little pre-planning, but it is one of the most telling ways to see firsthand if a studio teaches healthy or harmful children’s dance. Look at the finished choreography for older girls (and sometimes younger grades) that is shown during the end of the year dance recitals or at competitions. That will give you a clear visual understanding of the philosophy of that particular studio. Are you seeing hypersexualized movements/costumes/music anyplace in the choreography curriculum? What do the costumes look like?
Because the culture is normalizing hypersexualization, you can’t. It’s important to understand that, as the years pass, your child will eventually be influenced by the dance studio culture that they are a part of. Your child will also be seasoned by the older dance students and the leadership that they exercise.