Once upon a time my late mother wanted me to become a ballerina. Although I was armed with a little natural talent I think it was a dream of hers to be able to dance as she was confined to a wheel chair day in and day out. Don't get me wrong; I loved to dance and still do but I had issues with choreography probably stemming from a continual problem of always wanting to do things my own way.
At each recital there seemed to be a problem between myself and the ballet teacher of not performing some of the dance moves correctly. To this day I can remember the teacher scolding me for a skipping step gone wrong and messing up the dance line. Over and over she made me do the steps until finally I broke out in tears vowing never to go back.
Walking home after class the teacher drove by and asked me if I was okay. I nodded my head and quickly ran down the street hoping she would leave me alone. When I got home, there she was sitting on the couch speaking with my mother, who took it upon herself to promise that her daughter would have the steps right. The next week at ballet class my mother sat in the United Church basement and both she and my teacher made sure I got it right.
There is no doubt in my mind I was probably in the wrong for not listening, but both teacher and mother were concerned, and that goes a long way. Unlike the new train wreck TV show I have watched a few times with a dance teacher called Abby Lee Miller on Lifetime; I think their moves in the end were positive.
Lifetime is the station I go to when I want to be mindlessly entertained with 'chick' movies and Project Runway. The TV network that supports women has finally lost me with their reality show called Dance Moms. After watching three back to back episodes I have no idea why someone would watch Pittsburgh dance instructor Abby Lee Miller abuse little girls or why the stage moms allowed their kids to be there.
If you think Toddlers and Tiaras is bad, Dance Moms makes the reality pageant show look like the Mickey Mouse Club. I wondered how long it would take for people to finally take notice of how ridiculous this show is and finally the media noticed with the episode "Topless Showgirls." The controversial episode aired two weeks ago when Miller instructed a troop of 8- to 13-year-old girls to simulate toplessness and perform a burlesque dance complete with Gypsy Rose Lee father fans.
Abby Lee taught her students a "classic" burlesque fan dance in flesh-toned bras to create the "illusion of nudity." The children were advised over and over to act hot and told to dance like men "can't afford" them. "Let them think you are nude and completely topless!" dance instructor Abbey Lee Miller continued as she argued with parents that the girls were completely covered and that it was therefore harmless.
Of course several young girls were not happy at the prospect of appearing naked onstage and their mothers cringe at the skimpy costumes, but the show goes on, and the girls perform at a children's dance competition.
"I guess all the girls and I feel kind of nervous because we feel kind of naked," said Chloe, 10, before stepping out to dance in front of the less-than-impressed judges.
If a mom or dad yelled at their child in public like Abby does on the show child services would be called. This show is no different from Toddlers & Tiaras and I don’t understand why any mother would take their child to a dance instructor who has never been a dancer. Their mothers are also equally responsible by allowing this bully to push them around and use them as her dancing pawns.
I do believe the time has come to put a stop to all these shows exploiting little children in such a sexual manner. They’re kids for heavens sake and the parents on the show should have taken their child’s hand and marched them straight out of there and never returned
A Lifetime spokesperson confirms that, after airing the episode, the network decided never to air it again and not to make it available on iTunes, Amazon, or MyLifetime.com. I am really disappointed in Lifetime as I have always thought of it as a network who portrayed strong women but should I really be surprised?
What's next? A Lifetime movie of the week called: "I Was a Toddler Stripper!"
Linda Seccaspina 2012 for Zoomers Canada