The need to protect children from the harmful effects of hypersexualized dance, in adult costumes, choreography, and music is greater than ever.

Mary Bawden • Founder of DA:NCE

About DA:NCE

Our goal: To bring awareness and education to adults in order to stop the hypersexualization of children in dance.

Meet our founder – Mary Bawden

Dance educator and author Mary Bawden received a BA in modern dance from UCRiverside, a MA in worship (emphasis in dance) from Hope International University in Fullerton CA, and a California secondary teaching credential. She also led the dance ministry at her church for over 20 years (starting Soul to Sole Choreography in 2003), and wrote a book focusing on an educational approach to church dance ministry (Dance is Prayer in Motion). Recently, Mary has noticed that the culture around children’s dance has moved towards an unhealthy trend – the sexualization of children under 12 in adult costumes, choreography, and music. That observation translates into a desire to advocate for healthy, age-appropriate guidelines to protect children and the art of dance. In 2016, she founded DA:NCE (Dance Awareness: No Child Exploited) to create free educational materials for dance educators, parents, and concerned adults.

She has spoken at numerous conferences from NDEO (National Dance Educator’s Organization) to CESE(Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation) Summits in Washington DC. Mary has also been interviewed and written for a wide range of TV, podcast, and radio hosts. In 2019 one article she wrote received over 250,000 hits ( https://counterculturemom.com/the-scary-trend-in-childrens-dance/ ). Her organization offers many researched resources on the hypersexualization of children in dance including short trailers, videos with national experts, downloadable powerpoints, an ebook on ‘Healthy versus Harmful dance, a National NCOSE (National Center on Sexual Exploitation) Petition, and a DA:NCE newsletter.

Why is this such an important issue?

Children are becoming increasingly sexualized through dance at younger and younger ages. Studios, dance teachers, and even parents often unknowingly model their movement choices on what they see in the media culture. In many dance classes across the country, children are no longer taught healthy, age-appropriate dance. The ramifications of this are alarming: Recent research shows that most girls – as young as 6-years old – are beginning to think of themselves as sex objects. (Source)

A 2014 study found that children are starting the teenage years four years earlier than they used to. Meaning that girls aged 4 – 10 are engaging with teen culture and exhibiting hyper-sexualized behavior. (Source: Tiggemann, M. and Slater, A. (2014). Contemporary girlhood: maternal reports on sexualized behavior and appearance concern in 4-10 year-old girls. Elsevier: Body Image, 11(4), pp 396-403.)

Girls’ sexual development is being hijacked. The culture invites them to imitate the porn-style dance moves of their favorite stars. Yet, they do not have the emotional sophistication to understand what they are seeing and doing. (Source)

The effects of the sexualization of girls in dance is widespread:
• 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

(Source: American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from  http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx )

HAD ENOUGH? TAKE ACTION!

Parents and Concerned Adults

Parents and Concerned Adults

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Dance Studios

Dance Studios

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Media

Media

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Dance Educators

Dance Educators

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DA:NCE Mission and Vision

Children deserve to learn and experience the gift of dance in safe environments that do not sexualize them.
Children deserve to love dance, their bodies and themselves.
Children deserve to not be victims of sexual exploitation.
Mission: To bring awareness and education to adults in order to stop the hypersexualization of children in dance.
Vision: To promote the art of dance and its benefits to children by creating educational materials that allow for their safety and protection in all dance environments.

The Educational Objectives of DA:NCE

To protect children from hypersexualization in adult costumes, choreography and music, and to protect the art of dance
To create free research materials to give adults informed choices about the differences between healthy or harmful dance
To engage in respectful conversations about hypersexualization without shaming/demonizing adults or dance studios so that there is a path for reflection and changed perspectives
To communicate the hypersexualization of children in dance and its connection to the public health issue of pornography with bipartisan engagement

Supporters

Kristen Jensen

Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids.

Supporter Link

Dr. John Foubert

John D. Foubert, Ph.D. is Dean of the College of Education at Union University, Principal of Dr. John D. Foubert, LLC, and serves as the Highly Qualified Expert for Sexual Assault Prevention for the U.S. Army.

Supporter Link

Dr. Walter Dekeseredy

Dr. Walter Dekeseredy is the Director of the National Research Center on Violence at West Virginia University, Professor of Sociology, and the Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences.

Supporter Link

John-Michael Lander

As an advocate against male sexual abuse, John-Michael Lander is creating a voice through writing and speaking, as well as consulting and helping individuals and organizations identify the signs of grooming, manipulating, and stigmatizing of sexual abuse.

Supporter Link

Cordelia Anderson

Cordelia Anderson has an MA in Human Development (St. Mary’s University) with a focus on sexuality and sexual violence. Since 1976, Cordelia has been doing a wide range of work to promote sexual health and prevent sexual harm.

Supporter Link

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Patrick A. Trueman, Esq. (CEO & President)
Dawn Hawkins (Executive Director)
Haley Halverson (Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach)
Lisa L. Thompson (Vice President of Policy and Research)

Supporter Link

Donna M. Hughes, Ph.D.

Donna M. Hughes is a leading international researcher on human trafficking. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea. She does research and writing on women’s rights.

Supporter Link

Anne Blythe

Anne Blythe of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

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Dr. Nissi Hamilton

Nissi is an award-winning Human Trafficking Expert, a doctoral learner, a Veteran, a comedienne, a survivor of human trafficking, and a mother of seven.

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Collective Shout

Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls.

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Dr. Celina Pina Shemo

Dr. Celina (Counselor, PsyD, LMHC, LMFT), “the Ambassador of Emotional Health” is a counselor specializing in helping people overcome traumatic events…

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Dr. Brook Parker-Bello

Dr. Bello is the Founder and CEO/ED of the award winning More Too Life, Inc. an organization dedicated to ending human-trafficking…

Supporter Link

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