I love music. Always have…
Love to sing.
Love to listen to a good song.
Love to hear an instrument in the hands of someone who has devoted their life to learning its every nuance.
I can’t say that I love to dance. I have danced, but not well. Never really had the confidence to do it well. I suppose that is because it was always considered sinful in our household. Dancing would lead to lust and lust to sex. Simple path. Not so simple in reality. As with anything else in life, it isn’t the activity itself that leads to trouble; it’s the fool doing it.
Dancing is rather difficult to target as an “evil” activity anyway. It’s as natural an act as breathing. Watch babies when music is played. They can’t sing yet, but they can sure sway and bounce around! And many can find and follow the rhythm of a song faster than an adult can.
Good dancing is mesmerizing. I admire the beauty of ballet. I like the precision and grace of ballroom dancing. I even respect the skill of hip hop and jazz. Gary and I often watch “So You Think You Can Dance”. However, there are limits to what I can watch without being offended by the sexual connotations and trashy costumes. I literally turned off “American Idol” when they recently featured Lady (?) Ga Ga on their show. Gag!
In recent years I’ve slowly but surely become more sensitive to the dark side of music and dance. Just as there is a vast chasm of difference between prescription medicines and street drugs, there is an ever-widening gap between music/dance to entertain and inspire vs. music/dance to entice and corrupt. I suppose I’ve noticed the difference because of my close association with little children and their parents.
I’m always the last to hear of any online controversy so I guess it is no surprise that I’m only now learning of the argument over the Pomona, CA dance troupe’s rendition of Beyonce’s disgusting dance routine. The idea of scantily-clad eight-year-olds performing her routine breaks the heart of this grandmother, and I’m sure I’m not alone. However, as I read the comments of other people I noticed that most of the confrontations are about the performance. I think we should back up to the real problem.
How does an eight-year-old even know that Beyonce exists?
How does an eight-year-old learn her dance routine?
How does an eight-year-old obtain a costume like that?
The answer is simple: with the help of an adult. We are the problem, and the solution.
Each week I load kindergarteners into their parent’s cars to go home. At least once a week I hear something playing on the car radio that is offensive to my ears and I wonder why young children are listening to it. Each week I have at least one child try to sing some inappropriate song to me. And don’t think for a minute that all of them are related to love and sex. There are some catchy tunes that talk about shooting and stabbing and killing. Each week I hear things on the playground that children shouldn’t know, and most are related in a song. Each week I see children mimicking sexually explicit dances and I have to stop them and gently tell them that their dances are not appropriate for school. It seems to get worse every year.
We have always known that children learn things quickly if they are connected to music and movement. We exploit that constantly in education. We sing the alphabet song and chant our numbers and belt out the class creed. We make up little hand movements and dance steps to go with information we want children to memorize. If we could create a good song and dance move to teach algebra we would do it! Unfortunately, children are also learning some awful things about the world through the medium of song and dance.
There aren’t a lot of things within our control. But I think that what a young child sees and hears on television, the car radio, iPod, computer, or movies should still be under parental supervision. Someone has to draw the line between entertainment and the devil’s tools. That someone should be an adult.