Well folks, we prayed for Mike last month; now we need to pray for Mary as she learns powerpoint. I’m not kidding–at 66 years of age, here I am, trying to figure out what to do.
I’m working on a presentation that will highlight the research regarding the importance of teaching age appropriate choreography to children(aligned with age-appropriate costumes and lyrics) under 12. Very few people in the arts are speaking out about this important topic. It’s creeped into the dance environment on almost every level. In fact, the culture is saturated with the hyper-sexualization of men, women and children in magazines, TV, movies and media outlets. It is not isolated to dance. Experts from many fields say that they consider our culture to be ‘pornified.’ We are in ‘a public health crisis’ that is not going to go away. The outcome is terrible for adults but even worse for children.
When it is complete, the powerpoint presentation can be down-loaded from soul to sole choreography.org so that anyone in the country can use it to speak about this topic in their town, dance studio, or educational setting. I care deeply about children. Do you? Every part of my heart knows that it’s time to educate the public about this issue so that we protect our youngest citizens. Take some time to look at the issue as it was reported by ABC news:
The irony is this. Used properly, research shows that young children who take age appropriate dance have enhanced self esteem. Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., used paper dolls to assess self-sexualization in 6- to 9-year-old girls. Sixty girls were shown two dolls, one dressed in tight and revealing “sexy” clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up, loose outfit. Lead researcher Christy Starr and her research adviser and co-author, Gail Ferguson, looked at factors that influenced the girls’ responses. Most of the girls were recruited from two public schools, but a smaller subset was recruited from a local dance studio. The girls in this latter group actually chose the non-sexualized doll more often for each of the four questions than did the public-school group. Being involved in dance and other sports has been linked to greater body appreciation and higher body image in teen girls and women, Starr said.
“It’s possible that for young girls, dance involvement increased body esteem and created awareness that their bodies can be used for purposes besides looking sexy for others, and thus decreased self-sexualization.”1
Like all the arts, dance is a beautiful gift that God has given to his people! And like all the arts, it can be misused and distorted because of poor educational knowledge or evil motives. On the other hand, with appropriate intent, it can be used to glorify God in dance ministry as well as the culture at large with transcendent significance.