September 30, 2006

A dance step too far

We all have moments of extreme discomfort about political correctness; school curriculums that ensure students go through an entire education with no knowledge but lots of opinions and a dead-set devotion to relativism, in lieu of rigorous and objective thought; the beiging-down of the body politic; technology that invades every public and private space; the language and actions of obsufacation that have come to dominate all spheres of life.

Did you ever consider where this might all lead to in the West? Did you ever consider that your little John or Jane might miss out on the opportunity to grow up to be the next Rudolf Nureyev or Margot Fontane, because we continue to manufacture fear, competition, insecurity, distrust, envy – about everything – necessitating that we protect, sanitize and minimize endlessly (while, paradoxically, maximizing on consumer goods – the only legitimate area left unscathed by political correctness)?

No? Well, me either, but in Britain the next generations of dancers have been nipped in the bud before they could get their pointy toes off the floor.

“One problem is the virtual ban on teachers touching students. Child protection policies now mean that male tutors touching female dancers is ‘virtually prohibited’; students need a letter from parents in order to permit limited touching in certain circumstances; and classes must be observed ‘to make sure that there’s no indiscretion’.”

The likely star ballet dancers of the future, in Britain at least, are foreigners. Little Brit’s with a whim to dance will have to become accountants instead, where touching isn’t part of the training regime.


  1. Interesting Site, blogexplosion brought me here.

  2. Yeah the whole scenario is very fraught. The conflict between wanting to protect children, and setting them and their potential free. It's one of those fine lines between doing too little or too much.

    Erring too much towards 'setting them free' also entails the possibility of them being damaged, and endless self-recriminations ... "if only I'd said 'no'" etc. But in protecting, we may also stultify.

    A 'risk management' strategy seems the best way to go, mainly involving forarming kids as far as possible with the knowledge to negotiate the dangers. Still, it's a fine line.

  3. You have a point, but hand-wringing doesn't help either side.

  4. Don't know that anyone was hand-wringing Cube, I know I wasn't. It's an extreme and unforeseen consequence, that's all.

    Adults and children have to be so fearful and so distrusted / untrusting that teaching a bit of dance is suddenlty too fraught with danger? That's psychologically, culturally and socially perverse, is my thought.

  5. I didn't mean to infer that it was you doing the handwringing.

    I believe that moral relativism has fueled this litigious environment & it's not about to change until we are able to figure out some boundaries of improper
    behavior and punish those who go beyond them.

  6. I guess I’m seeing it as a confluence of a wide range of social, cultural and political shifts Cube. Many of which, while silly at first (ah, and didn’t we laugh?) have become entrenched and accepted as valid, real, normalized, which I find very disturbing. People have stopped questioning. They have lost the ability and confidence of their own judgment and comment sense. This has happened at the collective and the individual level.

    What this means for the young and next generations I’m not entirely sure, but from social commentary so far, and contrary to the cockiness and overt self-assurance of the generations X, Y and Z, we’re raising children with little strength or resilience, but lots of demands. Of course, that won’t be true for all, but it doesn’t auger well that the future business, religious and political leaders are being infantilized as a way of “protecting” them; essentially protecting them from growing up, protecting them from becoming self-sufficient, confident adults, who put something in, not just take.

    It’s a convoluted and multi-dimensional thing; and it ain’t good. I almost wish I could hark back to some “good old days”, but I wasn’t around in the 50’s! So it’s not a longing for some better time, but for whatever progress society has made over the decades, I don’t think these are the “better times” that they could and should have been – or more particularly the next couple of decades won’t be. So many things are derailed – not just the ballet!

  7. ... but hand-wringing doesn't help EITHER SIDE ...

    Sorry Cube, I must have missed something. What are the 'sides' involved here?

    Perhaps it's a 'generation' thing? I see Caz (have I got this right, Caz?) has identified Gens X/Y/Z - albeit not all - as in need of something, perhaps 'guidance'. Perhaps from us Boomerz? - God help Gens X/Y/Z.

    Rather than there being 'sides', the issue is, or should be, the trend in successive generations towards eliminating 'risk'. Essentially we're all risk averse, although many challenge this tendency in highly controlled and basically artificial settings (e.g. extreme sports).

    The litigiousness of the risk-averse does help make the world a 'safer' place. But to some extent, as in the case Caz outlines here, the elimination of risk can also limit opportunity.

  8. Essentially I think that "we" (and I use the royal "we" here, since my child-raising is complete) are letting down the new and future generations. We have and are constructing a reality that is convoluted, warped, artificial and limited. This has to effect the way the young 'uns see and act in the world, and limits their emotional, psychological and intellectual development. (If that makes sense!?)