Dance Moms: Demeaning to Dance?

Dance Moms: Demeaning to Dance?

So I try very hard to avoid criticizing my fellow human beings. It is not in my nature to be a critic. However, every now and then, I feel the need to express myself in a less-than-glowing light. For example, if ever I see even an advertisement of “Dance Moms."

Most of television owners in America have seen the commercials for the outrageous, somewhat exploitative, and definitely dramatic reality TV show called “Dance Moms.” It has found its niche apparently because it is now in its second season. However, when I have come across the show, I am always horrified. I am not exaggerating. I do mean that I am sincerely horrified and appalled that this show goes on and on.

Sure, you may think. That is taking it a bit too seriously. Reality shows are designed to hype up the drama. Why else would people watch in this new era of fake-as-heck “reality” television taking the place of honestly scripted shows? However, when children are involved, I think we all have to take a step back and make sure that things are done fairly and ethically. Yeah, that should be the case anyway, but it’s especially important when children are so integral to the show. Although she show may be titled to their “moms," these children are also its stars, and the drama that circles around with their overly competitive, trash-talking mothers revolves around them.

Dance is a serious craft for adults and even young adults who get to a professional level. It can be a serious hobby worthy of practice for many hours per day. However, it should not be a career for a little girl, and it should be something that is done for fun. You get the feeling from looking at these pained girls that, although they clearly do love dance, it is not a thing of joy as much as it is work and competition. When parents are comparing their children to the two “pets” of the teacher, it is reflected in the things the children then say. The girls then compare themselves to the girl who is the center of the attention and being called the “best,” and some of the mothers force the children to dance when they specifically state that they don’t want to do so. That’s not even to mention the teacher who can sometimes come off as partial and bullying.

It is my sincere hope that the drama on the show is staged. As unhealthy as faking this petty drama may be for the children, it is far better for them than the reality that they truly are capturing genuine treatment of children. If they are capturing how these girls are actually treated on a daily basis, it is a national disgrace in which we are culpable for not all calling the authorities on the dance moms for what they allow their vulnerable children to experience.