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Apr 13, 2015

Competition Gone Too Far?



In the past, I have had no affiliation with nor any knowledge about dance competitions. I've grown up doing performances for the Maine community with the Maine State Ballet school and  eventually the Maine State Ballet Company. The closes thing to a competition that I have danced in myself would be our annual recital. Dance competitions are foreign waters to me, but waters I have recently took to exploring.
Teaching both for Maine State Ballet and Center Stage Performing Arts, I've learned and continue to learn how to work in two very different environments. This year I choreographed my second competition piece, a ballet mini routine of five young ladies. For three competitions my nine and ten year old pupils were adorned with ivory and scarlet tutus, pink tambourines, and swirling Spanish curls. I was fortunate enough to be there for two of the three competitions as they did not conflict with my own run of performances (we're in the middle of a run of "Le Corsaire" currently). It was very exciting to be there for the girls and the whole ordeal did remind me much of a recital, so it wasn't all that foreign at all, really.

I may not be an expert of dance competitions, but I do know a thing or two about performing and its quality. What I'd like to discuss with you today, dear readers, is your opinion on a specific video:
 

 
 
Firstly, let me just say that these are some incredibly talented kids. Like... Crazy talented. That being said, these guys are eight... Let me just repeat that to be sure you heard me... They're eight years old.

Their formations are clean, their ala-seconde turns incredibly synchronized, and their movements in general were hard hitting and exciting. But, in all honesty, I think the line was drawn just before the gyrations, booty-shaking, sexual movements, and even the scanty costume. Why do eight year olds need to be moving like that? Why do we need to sexualize children? I'm just trying to imagine seeing my younger sister moving that way when she was their age and I can't help but think that I would feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Now, this is a conversation piece. So please, am I a prude and just haven't kept up with the evolving world of dance competitions? Or is this a bit over the top? Post a comment below to get the conversation started!

All my best,

Rhiannon P. -

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