You want my daughter to wear WHAT?!?!
And dance to WHAT song?!?!
These are words you’ll never hear at our dance concerts, or from our performance team parents. Likewise, you’ll never hear songs with swearing or suggestive lyrics in our performances, nor will you see our dancers performing choreography that’s inappropriate (no twerking here!) Wanna know why?
Respect and safety is one of our key values at Bayside Dance, and part of that relates to how we costume our dancers. We RESPECT that (in most cases) our dancers are children and as such, dress them appropriately. We RESPECT that even if our dancers are more mature, our audiences are often families with younger dancers who idolize the older dancers and want to wear what the “big girls” wear, so again, we dress them appropriately.
We also have a commitment to executing all our classes with safe dance practice, which includes age appropriate choreography, music and costumes (and wearing tights!).
Don’t get us wrong–we’re not prudes. If you’re dancing as a professional, sometimes the context will require a particular costume (we’re thinking showgirls at the Moulin Rouge, for example). But in our opinion, it’s NOT ok for dancers as young as ten to be dressed in black underwear, with knee high boots, grinding on stage, with pouty expressions. It’s not the dancers’ fault – they don’t know any better! Teachers need to lift their game, adjudicators need to call it out and parents need to demand better protection for their students.
Because fundamentally, kids are kids for such a short time. They have so much time to dance like a grown up! For now, as custodians of their dance education, it’s our job to help them cherish their childhoods and develop their love of dance with a sense of joy and fun.
Kaitlin Hague is the Director of Bayside Dance, holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Dance) and a Master of Arts. She is a passionate dance educator, journalist, adjudicator and choreographer. When she’s not dancing she’s enjoying the beautiful Bayside lifestyle and spending time with her two dogs, daughter and husband.