As the mother of two young daughters I know dance classes are in our future. My oldest wants to start taking dance in the Fall, so I have been researching dance schools in the Rockford area to see which one works best for my family's schedule and budget.

In the midst of my dance school research I came across this video that stopped me dead in my tracks.

 

I may be new to this whole dance mom thing, but how can any parent of a young daughter be okay with this kind of dress and "dance"?!?

Women, young and old, have to deal with so much sexual exploitation these days, and I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to draw more attention to that fact.

The girls in the above video are 8 and 9 years old. What in the world is "dance" like that teaching them?  It sure as hell ain't confidence and female empowerment. I can't help but feel like any parent that allows their child to perform like that is just inviting some sick individual to prey on them. I'm sorry, but I just want to punch the dance teacher responsible for that performance, and every single one of the parents who allowed it to happen, in the face.

Sadly, sexual exploitation may be the new trend in children's dance, and experts are saying it is more important than ever to be an advocate for your child.

A dance teacher named Mary Bawden recently talked about this disturbing dance trend in an article on counterculturemom.com. Bawden said;

In many dance studios around the nation, there has been an increase in sexualized, objectified movement for children under 12. These studios/teachers often unknowingly model their movement choices on what they see in the media culture. I’ll label this cultural shift the difference between healthy, age-appropriate dance versus unhealthy, age-inappropriate dance.

What's a parent to do then? First off, do your research. Read their website to figure out what their priorities are. Look for videos of the school's past recital performances. Put stock in the referrals and opinions of other parents who have sent their children to that dance school. I am confident that I have found several dance schools in Rockford where worry about the sexual exploitation of my daughters will not be an issue.

The most important thing a parent can do though, is be aware. Know what your child is learning in class. Be present always, and I don't just mean be sitting in the waiting room while class is in session.

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook