Friday, January 22, 2016


Yesterday morning on my run, somehow we ended up talking about girls (particularly young ones) participating in organized dance.  The general consensus was that it wasn't a good thing.  They were required to wear their warm-ups at all times at competition if they weren't performing because their outfits were essentially inappropriate.  My friend was talking about how he pulled his daughter out when one of their routines (at age 8) essentially involved twerking.  I'm sure there are different programs in different parts of the country (and likely even in Dallas) that are perfectly appropriate, but from my running buddy's perspective as it related to his daughter, this was not. 

I'll also say for the record that at my last job, my coworker's daughter was super into dance (and then drill team) and somehow I got talked into going to one of her daughter's weekend competitions and I dragged my husband along.  His comment to me afterward was that he was concerned he'd been placed on some pervert watchlist for even being there.  He found the whole thing hyper-sexualized and inappropriate and he said if I went to another one, he was absolutely not joining me. 

But I actually wasn't writing about dance.  (I should add as a final point re: dance that I wished more than anything as a child that I'd gotten to take fun dance classes and wear make-up.  A few years of ballet in my early childhood weren't even close to enough to compensate for my awkwardness, and ballet wasn't "fun" or "cool."  When I got older, junior high and high school, I so wished I could have been on a drill team or something like that with all the cool and pretty girls, for which years of dance competitions was essentially a prerequisite.)

Anyway, my friend was saying that his daughter didn't really care that he pulled her out of dance.  She bounced into soccer and then gymnastics.  He said he guessed she wouldn't be in gymnastics long term because she just won't have the build to do well.  We discussed whether he'd try to get her to run and/or do cross-country or track at some point.  He said that really, it's all about what her friends were doing.  She's content as long as she's with them.  They're all doing gymnastics together now and she loves it at least as much as she loved the dancing. 

At that point in the conversation, I thought (and likely said) that I feel like I'm not that different from his 8 year old daughter -- the main reason I'm up and running in the horrendous cold (well, by my standards), in the dark, and at 5:15 in the morning, is because my friends are there.  And the main reason I go to boot camp with such regularity is because my friends will be there. 

I remember all those times my mom said something along the lines of, "well, if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?"  Ha, mom, maybe.  Especially if jumping off the cliff is something like bungee jumping.  Bottom line is that I feel very lucky right now to have an awesome running group and boot camp crew that keep me getting out there on cold mornings when all I want to do is stay in bed.  They take the place of the need for internal motivation AND they bring all those good things into my life that come with a strong network of friends from all different walks of life.  Feeling lucky.


  1. I know this conversation isn't about dance, but I find most of these dance groups and classes incredibly inappropriate and pointless. My tech's daughter, then four, told her mom that she'd rather not be in dance, because she wasn't sure she'd ever use it once she was a grown-up!

  2. Definitely agree on a lot of the hyper-sexualization stuff ... our boys have had friends who were in dance and gymnastics through the years, and the stuff was ... awkward to watch. And these same girls were also in karate with the boys and could absolutely kick butt.

    I get what you are saying about joining ... but if you turn the question around, would you NOT run at all if you couldn't do it with others?

    I know part of the whole personality typing stuff has to do with where you draw energy. I have become much more social through the years, but still am largely self-energized. So I run because ... well, because I run. :)

  3. I don't know much about the dance scene these days only that it has changed a great deal since I took dance lessons. I have seen some very uncomfortable photos and videos posted by friends on FB. I'm not sure I'd be so keen on my daughter doing some of those moves in those outfits at such a young age.

    Thankfully I don't have to worry about it. My son definitely prefers to join activities his friends are involved in, but he makes friends quickly so starting something new on his own is not an issue. One thing that I hear a lot is parents trying to identify their child's talent which at 7, 8, 9 is a bit ridiculous. Whatever happened to having fun, learning how to work as a team, or hone an individual interest, and getting out of your comfort zone to learn something new? I don't care for all the pressure on some of these children.

  4. I took a dance class in grade school, and the only reason I ended at one class is because I was really uncomfortable in the outfit. It was much more conservative than dance outfits are today, but I felt like I was wearing underwear and didn't want to be dancing around in front of people in my underwear! I really don't understand how parents can think those outfits are appropriate, but I imagine it's kind of parent peer pressure if all your daughter's friends are doing it? You are lucky to have running buddies for your early morning runs!