Teaching Children Belly Dance
I love watching children belly dance. I think it’s a wonderful thing to introduce into their lives. It gives them a form of exercise and expression. It teaches them about culture. It can help girls to avoid the whole awkward teenage angst about body image and boost their confidence.
What I don’t think is appropriate is making them into little adults. The children have their own beauty. They are cute and can do things adults can’t do. It’s much better to let them express themselves in age appropriate ways where they can naturally shine than to make them into adults. What am I talking about? Flirting, skimpy costumes, and overtly sexy moves are not cute. They are not appropriate for children. It can make people in the audience uncomfortable. It sends the message to children that they are appreciated for their sexuality, which is self-esteem destroying.
Now, I know that cheerleaders and jazz dancers wear some incredibly flimsy costumes, outrageous hair and heavy make-up, and do some overtly sexual moves (shaking their butts in your face to suggestive lyrics, grinding, facial expression, etc). I don’t think that that is what we should emulate. I think they have it wrong. I think you can teach dance without having to ramp up the sex appeal. Just my two cents.