Unethical behavior, disrespect, and possible plagiarizing in competition dance. Surprise!

This week in Minnesota, several teams at the state dance competition accused one of the top winning teams of plagiarism. The winning team had copied costumes, music and a bit of choreography. They claim they were "inspired" by the other team. Many people believe they plagiarized with a few changes around the margins. Instead of filing a complaint, other competition teams stood on the sidelines and held hands in objection. Those teams were disqualified. Seems to me neither behavior was appropriate.

I entered my daughters into dance programs when they were in preschool. I remember going to my first competition dance as an at home dad and seeing little girls with almost nothing on running around wearing huge hats filled with fruit. Carmen Miranda wore way more clothing than these first graders. After hours of watching thousands of dancers and hundreds of moms push and pull and cajole and scream, I called my wife in disbelief. Who would do this to children?

Why would anybody pay thousands of dollars to a studio with a damaged floor where kids got injured year after year in over training on a bad surface just to win a trophy? Why would a parent spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to an out of town dance organization to come in for a few "rock star" hours and try to teach thousands of kids on a dirty, carpeted ballroom floor? Why is hazing with ropes, kitty litter, and assorted other shaming techniques allowed in any environment - especially a so called education one?

These things arise, because the system is pervaded by back stabbing and gossip and cheating and lying and child abuse and theft. The world of crazy dance moms and unethical dance instructors does not just exist on television. It is real. Leaders in the industry need to name it, take decisive action, and stop it. Which is exactly what the state high school league needs to do in this instance.

We eventually found a couple of good schools with quality, ethical environments. My advice if you chose to participate is the following: keep your head tall, smile and wave at others no matter the drama, be respectful, walk away from the bad behavior, and role model healthy attitudes for your kids. I did the best I could at protecting my children. I hope you can do the same.

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As the dad of two daughters, I've never understood the fathers who rarely show up or don't attend their daughters activities: not one soccer game, dance recital, or swim practice. Why have a child? It might not be your interest, but it is theirs which makes it yours. Just because you are male and she is female, doesn't mean you should use historical social norms to excuse your participation in the raising of your child. Three years ago I had a heart attack. I missed my daughters' dance show. Even though I had attended 90% of their activities, I decided I was never going to miss another performance or game. After all, I didn't know how much time I had left. None of us really do. Upon further reflection, I decided it was more than that. So, I came up with a list of positive things a dad should do with his daughter before she leaves the nest or in my case goes to college.

  1. Hug your daughter and tell her you love her. Multiple times. Daily.
  2. Attend every open observation, practice, game, recital, etc. Give her flowers. When appropriate.
  3. Let your daughter paint her bedroom when she is older. Buy her good brushes. Throw them away. Don't cry.
  4. Ride with her while she drives the car. Don't criticize her driving. Compliment her at least once.
  5. Create a painting together. Hang it in the living room. No matter what it looks like.
  6. Find a sport to do together once in a while such as fishing, soccer, hiking, etc. Give her some tips. Then just be.
  7. Buy her a cell phone. Program your number in it. Title it "24/7 Availability".
  8. Bake her a birthday cake. Frost it. Looks don't matter.
  9. Buy her a puppy or a kitty. You won't regret it.
  10. Have a tea party with the dolls or the stuffed animals. At the small table. In costume.
  11. Go swimming with her. No matter your body image.
  12. Paint your toenails with her. At least once. When she is young.
  13. Go to a double feature. Romance movie followed by a science fiction flick. Cry at one of them.
  14. Share hot cocoa and toast with her late at night. Dunk the buttered toast. Listen.
  15. Take pictures of her doing things. Before she is too old to say no.
  16. Go shopping with your daughter and buy her a dress. Don't look bored. Treat her to lunch.
  17. Take her to the daddy daughter dance. Get a corsage. Buy the campy photo.
  18. Tell her you are proud of her. Be specific. Several times a week.

I'm sure there are others, but this list works for me. It covers art, sports, shopping, creativity, conversation, love, food, admiration, security and empowerment. We have so little time on this planet that dads shouldn't let history, established social behavior or society dictate what they can or cannot do with their daughters. Live a little. You may want them to fly home to the nest some day.

Copyright BartzPeterson LLC DayParentDad.com
Shared painting with my daughter. Yes it is in my living room. Copyright 2014 BartzPeterson LLC DayParentDad.com.

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