Real Life Sparkle Motion

Yesterday I went to my niece Ruby’s dance school performance. She’s only 2.5 years old, and has always (always, from the day she was born) loved movement and music so she absolutely loves her Tiny Tots dance classes even though she’s the youngest one in it (I think the next youngest is 3). My sister wasn’t so sure she was old enough to be in the performance, but was convinced to let Ruby do it. Just for the fun, no pressure. They were sooo unbelievably cute – forgetting the steps and waving to Mummy – but they all had a ball. The dance teacher didn’t really consider the littlies with scheduling, though, and they had 2 performances in the first half and another 2 right at the end of the 2nd half, so they were all a little fractious and tired by that point. Hayley decided to pull Ruby out of the second half, which was just as well, I think.

But the main reason I wanted to blog about this dance school performance is that it was far more fat positive than I thought it would be and blew the stereotype of whip-thin dancers to bits. (Yay!)

Firstly, the two dance teachers were both pear-shaped and plus-size (at least Australian size 18) and performed alongside the kids in a couple of routines.

Secondly, I was also struck by the diversity of size in the kids of all age groups, from slender to plus-size.

There was one little girl in particular who stood out in the junior competitive troupe (i.e. the ‘elite’ of the dance school – think Sparkle Motion). She was around 7 or 8, gorgeous, chubby and one of the best dancers there. She was obviously active and healthy and skilled – and flouting all of what the “Children’s Obesity” experts tell us about fat kids (lazy, inactive, uncoordinated, etc.). Her unselfconscious enjoyment of the dancing was marvelous to behold. I hope that she can grow up without the self-appointed body police affecting her self image or her enjoyment of what she is doing.

On the otherhand, though, there were some dances I questioned the appropriateness of. Like 8 year olds shaking their rumps to Lovely Lady Lumps. Or pre-teens in skimpy latex midriff tops. Who puts pre-teens in latex? The kids are far too young to be dressed in this way, on stage or otherwise.


9 Responses to “Real Life Sparkle Motion”

  1. 1 chaoticheartt Monday, 17 December 2007 at 8:33 pm

    This warmed my heart. Well it did until the last paragraph, I totally agree about those things being inappropriate.

    When I was a child I desperately wanted to do ballet. My parents wouldn’t let me because it involved a 20 minute drive each way and we lived out of town etc etc. Looking back I still don’t understand it because it wasn’t that far. Ballet was the only physical activity I ever wanted to do. I was interested in gymnastics but that was available in our country area. Once the ballet thing was knocked on the head that was it for me. I dabbled in swimming for a while but by then I was already an overweight child and I ended up quitting swimming club because I was the fat one. I often wonder if my whole attitude to exercise (not to mention my weight) would be different if my parents had let me do ballet. I am not bitter about it, I just wonder.

  2. 2 fatadelic Monday, 17 December 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Same. I wanted to dance and wasn’t allowed to. Somehow the activities I was allowed to do had more to do with my cousin’s preferences than mine since Mum and Aunty Gwen used to take turns drivig. And so I ended up at Nipperettes even though I was fat, self-conscious in my swimmers and hated sand, Netball even though I had no interest in the game and Marching Girls which bored me to tears.

  3. 3 zezebelle Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 12:00 am

    Awww. Your neice sounds so cute, but it’s a pity about the choreography.

  4. 4 amazonratz Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 5:44 am

    One way for girls of size to enjoy activities like this more is to have costumery that is more flattering to different body types. Unfortunately, by the time girls reach about age 11 or so, they are so self-conscious about their bodies that they drop out of spandex-mandatory activities like dance. This wouldn’t help with swimming, but would definitely make a difference in dance squads. Nice piece.

  5. 5 Lynne Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 9:47 am

    I took ballet for years and dropped because of my shape (at twelve I was no longer comfortable in leotards and tights). I always missed dancing, and was delighted when I discovered a Scottish class in college. These days I teach (kids no less, though none as young as your neice!), and “spandex” is a forbidden word :) And yes, the wee ones are ALWAYS the cutest!

  6. 6 Thene Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 10:47 am

    Hah, I had the same thing with ballet – I really wanted to do it when I was small, but my mother didn’t have a car and my father wouldn’t take me. When my mother got a car, I was a bit older and I got self-conscious and shy and said I didn’t want to do it any more. :(

  7. 7 exzede Friday, 21 December 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Your post reminds me of my two adorable nieces, age 5 and 4 respectively. They love singing and dancing. And they learn English on their own simply by watching cartoons on TV (our first language is Malay, by the way). Since they will attend kindergarten next year, their mom (my elder sister) worries that they will not make friends because most kids their age don’t really speak English (if at all). Anyways, I think, early exposure (to languages and what-not) always has it’s own benefit, don’t you think?

  8. 8 Irish chick Sunday, 23 December 2007 at 12:58 am

    I did ballet when I was a preschooler. I quit because during the recital I tripped and fell in front of the whole audience and they all started laughing at me! I know it was because it was adorable but then I just thought they were being plain mean!

  9. 9 Dextress Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 8:28 pm

    2.5 yrs is too young! must have been really cute. My daughter is almost 2 and she loves to dance as well. waving at mommy LOL!

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