Dance Routine Raises Eyebrows, Concerns

A national dance competition is creating a worldwide debate. A group of 8 and 9 year old girls perform at a high skill level, but the choreography is called 'too risque' by critics.

In light of the debate, Newscenter 11 talked to a local experts about how the genre is changing in society.

As a teenager, Mary Alpha Donnelly started teaching dance. As the owner and founder of Alpha School of Dance, she says over the years the art form has changed.

'The way you danced has changed a lot. I mean in my day you couldn't raise your hip. You couldn't do some of the things they do today," said Donnelly.

When it comes to the changes, Donnelly says she has mixed emotions.

'Some things better and some things are worse. It's hard to say," she said.

Child psychologist, Dr. Lee Lee Marlow says change does not have to be bad but it does need to be monitored.

'It's very important for parents to set the bar," said Marlow. "That's the responsibility of the parent because kids aren't going to set their own bars. That's why we have parents."

When I interviewed Dr. Marlow, at the time, she had not seen the video of the young dancers on YouTube so she could not comment on that case in particular. However, when it comes to children and maturing, she says in many ways they are now doing this faster than in the past.

"We've seen it happen before our eyes," said Marlow. "We know that frequent exposure to things make them more acceptable to us, and I think though, the biggest change at this point is parents allowing their children to do things that aren't acceptable by many people's standards."

With this in mind Donnelly says, as in years past, her students continue to win top honors in competition without being what she calls "too risqué." When it comes to children and dance she says it's a partnership.

She says the parent and the dance studio hold some responsibility.

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