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Twerking: The Sexualization of Young Girls in Dance

By Leslie Bryan, CSUSB Theatre/Dance Faculty The greatest joy for me as a dance educator is to help students find the movements from within and to explore their own sense of aesthetics in the art of dance.  For the past 20 years, I have been a lecturer in the Theatre Arts/Dance department at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) teaching dance education courses for pre-service teachers.  The courses focus on the pedagogy and technique of how to implement dance in public school classrooms.  We explore how to be inclusive in decisions of who gets to dance, how to add depth and scope to dance lessons and how to develop future dancers and patrons of dance who will value and respect [...]

By |2018-12-16T20:52:07+00:00December 16th, 2018|

A Christmas Card in Listening

A Christmas Card in Listening incarnates hope into my soul. Last Christmas I wrote about noise pollution.  It’s a year later and now I’m pondering the opposite of noise. Quiet. I often listen in silence so I can hear my heart. And God’s voice: ” 'Faith comes from hearing(listening), and hearing through the word of Christ' (Romans 10:17)." I’ve also learned that "listening" faith grows my ability to hear other people: “to look not only to my own interests, but also the interests of others” (Phil 2:4). In DA:NCE (dance awareness: no child exploited), personal hearing has gone beyond myself into advocating for the best interests of children. Initially, a Christmas card in listening started an organic journey of my own [...]

By |2018-12-14T21:04:54+00:00December 7th, 2018|

Gobble, gobble, gobble: Dance Coalition Newsletter

Gobble, gobble, gobble!  Ps 118:1  "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever." I can’t believe that November is already here. It’s turkey time and I’m getting ready to host my extended family at the annual Thanksgiving feast in 2018. Through the years, I’ve enjoyed a lot of memories around this holiday. Here's a gobble, gobble idea: I make homemade gingerbread turkey cookies and have different icing colors available for each person to decorate  their individual table place card. After dinner, everyone eats their place card. At the gathering, my husband and I also oversee a gobbling contest that ends as everyone shares their personal expression of thanks for the year. This year I give [...]

By |2018-11-03T10:07:11+00:00November 2nd, 2018|

NDEO Connections, Knowledge and Leadership: ‘Children’s Dance: Educational or Sexualized’

What a wonderful national conference this NDEO(national dance educators organization) gathering turned out to be. Hats off to the NDEO board who worked so tirelessly to make the conference possible. An additional thanks to Kristin Kusanovich (past president of CDEA, lecturer in the department of Theatre and Dance at Santa Clara University and Kusanovich Dance Company), Susan Gingrasso (NDEO board member, CDEA member & presenter, DEiP’s practical resources column, and Associate Director of the Language of Dance Center), and Jennifer La Curan(Chair of Dance and Co-President Irvine Valley College, CDEA) for supporting me to speak on 'Children's Dance: Educational or Sexualized' at the NDEO national conference. Let me share a few flavors of what happened in La Jolla from Oct 4-7. [...]

By |2018-10-16T18:59:02+00:00October 11th, 2018|

Ebook Release: Healthy or Harmful Children’s Dance

              How can concerned parents or concerned adults know if their child’s dance studio teaches healthy, educational dance or unhealthy, sexualized dance? The answer to this practical question is clarified in a free ebook that I have written. ‘Healthy or Harmful Children’s Dance’ combines my last 4 DA:NCE blogs into 4 chapters. Look below to see the breakdown. The New Trend in Children’s Dance: In some dance studios around the nation, there has been an increase in sexualized, objectified movement for children under 12. In this article, we explore what concerned parents, grandparents and dance studios can do about it. How to Pick a Healthy Dance Studio: We understand the benefits of healthy dance. So, now, [...]

By |2018-10-03T16:41:52+00:00September 1st, 2018|

Hypersexualization: How to educate a dance studio with the DA:NCE Toolkit

            Time and time again I hear from concerned parents, grandparents, dancers and community leaders asking what they can do to raise education and awareness around the harmful effects of adult costumes, choreography and music for children. While many of you have probably seen children’s dance that disturbs you, perhaps you didn’t know what you could do about it. This blog focuses on providing a solution to this challenge with the hope that you’ll join me in educating dance studio owners and instructors about the harm hypersexualized dance imposes on children. If you’ve been following along, this blog is the last in a series designed to help you know how to find a healthy, age-appropriate [...]

By |2018-10-03T16:43:03+00:00August 1st, 2018|

How to Avoid a Harmful Dance Studio

Last month I described what to look for in a healthy, age-appropriate dance studio. Now I’d like to travel in the other direction and discuss what defines dance that harms children. Let me refresh your memory. When I use the words harmful dance, I am referring to dances for children that are hyper-sexualized with adult costumes, choreography and music. It's unhealthy dance. If you didn’t read last month’s blog, take a minute to read the APA report on the sexualization of girls to discover the negative outcomes that accompany sexualized movement for children.   First, it should be obvious that all dance studios are not created equal. You, the parent or concerned adult, must investigate a particular studio and determine [...]

By |2018-10-03T16:44:06+00:00July 1st, 2018|

How to Pick a Healthy Dance Studio

Once a year most studios plan a dance recital to celebrate a year of student maturity, growth, and technique in their dance classes. It’s a lot of fun when children present the joy of what they have learned coupled with wonderful music, artistic costumes and age-appropriate choreography!  Woo-hoo! I just got back from Alabama where I enjoyed the dances that my 2 grandchildren participated in. I’m bustin’ with pride. Yes, it’s recital time and because I get lots of questions about end-of-the-year presentations, I thought that I’d share some pointers on what to look for in a healthy, age-appropriate studio versus what to observe about a studio that is unhealthy. When I use the word unhealthy, let me clarify. I [...]

By |2018-10-08T12:53:34+00:00June 1st, 2018|

The New Trend in Children’s Dance

The art of dance Have you bought flowers for that ‘special dancer’? Each year I enjoy the dance recital of my two granddaughters at the Dance Foundation. At their most recent recital, their dances were titled ‘Whispering Wind’ (ballet), ‘Enchanted Rain’ (ballet), and ‘Trumpets and Horns’ (tap). It was a wonderful time to celebrate how the positive aspects of dance have affected them. Research shows that dance classes develop advanced skills in creativity, problem solving,  communication, risk taking, high ordered thinking, and social awareness. A young Mary Bawden Then nostalgia. I’m taken back to personal memories about MY June dance recitals. One year I was a ‘4th of July’ dancer; the next year I was a ‘Nightingale’ [...]

By |2018-10-08T12:55:00+00:00May 1st, 2018|

Cultural Awareness in Children’s Dance: A Need for Reflection

Wow. What a wonderful conference was put on by The National Center on Sexual Exploitation(NCOSE) in Washington DC from April 4-8! My husband Richard attended the Summit with me along with Elizabeth Knight who posts social media entries on behalf of DA:NCE and Soul to Sole Choreography. It was the first time that we met face to face😊 Elizabeth is the owner/founder of Aplomb PR in Wisconsin and I highly recommend her services. It was a joy to share time with Elizabeth and Richard, have their support, and then be present to hear the many speakers at this incredible event! Before I share about DA:NCE and my speaking at the conference, can I challenge you with some personal reflections? In [...]

By |2018-10-08T12:59:33+00:00April 16th, 2018|