Important words when I was growing up. Those words simply served as a reminder that there are differing opinions out there in the world and that not all opinions are relevant or helpful to your life. In fact – some opinions play fast and fancy with the truth. I think we need to expand a bit on that old saying – perhaps it should be “Don’t believe everything you read and don’t believe everything you see.” This last bit would apply to visual media – you know – the world of the editing where you can manipulate what you present. In the present world of reality TV – the word “reality” is a bit of a broad misnomer. Perhaps real in that the producers have provoked the participants into verbal outbursts and questionable behavior but not so real when you look at the sequence of events. Seriously – when was the last time you watched two people arguing and they stopped what they were doing to explain their feelings to you? Obviously there is a lot of staging and editing involved to manipulate how they are presenting their story. That’s fine – whatever – to each his own. I have no problem with this – although I do have a problem with how some of these programs are manipulating public perception about what I do for a living.
There is a current program about a dance school – specifically a competition dance school – that simply boggles my mind. I get how this program can be aired – people still slow down for accidents on the highway – voyeurism in our society lives on. And I get that the program features the stage moms from hell – having dealt with women like that my entire life – in fact – dealing with one right now. It’s sad how they never realize what they are actually doing to their children – arresting the child’s mental development. And I somewhat understand the abusive dance teacher having also had people like her in my life. You know – those people who heap abuse on you while using the excuse that they are “toughening you up for the harshness of the business”. Bull**** – that’s just an excuse for no self-control – and no imagination when it comes to teaching. No – what confuses me is how this obvious abuse of young dancers (by their mothers and dance teachers) is tolerated. It’s one thing that this sort of abuse happens – but to put it into mainstream media in the name of entertainment and not do anything about it? Seriously – I’m flummoxed.
I also have a problem with how it portrays my profession of dance teacher. Not all dance teachers are abusive. You know – it’s almost as annoying as the reaction I got from most men I met when I was younger. When they asked me what I did for a living and I said “dancer” – 99% of them said “exotic dancer?” Yeah – right – most exotic dancers you meet walk around with their feet turned out and keep their hair in a bun. So I would like to give some examples of wonderful teachers with whom I had studied with – who taught with kindness and understanding. Don’t get me wrong – these were not wishy-washy people – they were tough – they had high standards of work – but they valued the people (young and old) that they worked with. They are the example of what teaching dance was, is and should be.
Anneliese von Oettingen, David McLain, David Blackburn, Oleg Sabline, Meredith Baylis, Susan Toumine.