After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Call Me Crazy; Age Appropriate Dancing

Last night on Dancing With the Stars two pairs of children danced a jive in appropriate costumes, the little girls not tarted up in high heels or sexy outfits. They were great and no doubt will be professional ballroom dancers very soon. But I've seen other child ballroom couples performing and dressing as little adults while dancing in high-stakes, high pressure competitions. And it always makes me uncomfortable.

Does anyone else have a problem with children pretending to be adults? Kids dancing adult moves in skimpy outfits, and little tykes competing in beauty contests? Adults think miniature versions of themselves are cute, and they are, but I feel sorry that often these kids are on the growing up fast-track. (The recent controversy about "skinny" jeans for toddlers had more to do with price and designer labels than passing for 18!)

When I was a child taking dancing lessons, my teacher did not allow any girl under 18 to wear fishnet stockings or slit skirts in the recitals. I thought it was silly at the time, and probably seems ridiculous in this day and age, but now I understand.

Ok, I'm conservative, but neither do I think tango is a dance for children. The tango is sensual with the implied motive of "conquering" the partner with the dance. Why should a child dance it, especially with an adult partner?

And there's more, dear reader, sorry. I also am very uncomfortable watching a father dance a steamy tango with his daughter (Los Copes), a mother with her son (Los Pugliese), or a brother and sister (Ayelen y Federico). I know Fred Astaire danced professionally with his sister Adele, but there was never anything sensuous about their dancing.

Fred & Adele Astaire

Maybe in Argentina anything goes when it comes to steamy dancing.

I was very surprised when I first arrived in Argentina to see how popular belly dancing, or Odalisca, is--but mostly with little girls. In the Middle East it is a dance for mature women, and star performers can be up into their '70s. Call me a prude, but I would never let my young daughter put on a seductive revealing outfit and shake her hips at men. I've seen ten year olds acting as sexy as some of the starlets on Bailando Pour un Sueño. And then people are shocked at teen pregnancy, sexual promiscuity, and early marriage.

Let's let children be kids. Teach them folk dance, contemporary, acrobatics, gymnastics, tap, or, after eight years of age, classical ballet. Social ballroom classes, such as Junior Cotillion, give confidence and teach etiquette to preteens. Learning to dance is healthy and an investment in future happiness. Let's just save the sensuous adult stuff for later, along with dance competitions and contests. Childhood is short enough.


a Broad said...

Not so much in BA ( because I am not around it here) but I remember in the States, age appropriate was a forgotten idea when it came to young children.
The age inappropriate dressing, the trashy dressing whatever the age ! Little girls go from being little bitty girls to being women looking for guys .. before they are 12 !
I totally agree with everything you have posted ..

Nancy said...

Los Copes. Oh, yes. GD Creepy. So creepy that several women in Miami turned down his direct request for a dance at a milonga.

Elizabeth said...

Cherie, I just cannot stand to see little girls in beauty pagents and/or dressed in provacative clothes. It is sad, and you have to wonder how clue-less are the parents?
And I have seen a couple of YouTubes of father-daughter tango that sort of creep me out, but I decided it might be a cultural thing?
Kids need to be kids.

jacky said...

I couln't agree more with what you said in this post... I even get angry on this subject...

mario said...

Wow, I'm so glad that you said all of the above... I feel sooo creepy when I watch one of those Father/daughter fact I don't watch.