Please tell me what you think of DD's recital costume - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 5 and takes beginning tap at a local dance studio, the only one in town. Back in October the notice came out regarding the spring recital. My DDs costume was $48 which is a lot of money for us but we scrapped it together and purchased the costume, sight unseen. The recital is May 18 and the costumes were sent home today. You can see by the picture that it is a very short raincoat and what you can’t see is the green bikini underwear that came with it. My DD looked down at herself as she tried it on and said “Are there shorts too?” and when I said no she said “So I am going to be dancing in my underwear on stage?”

I am appalled at how short these costumes are. I feel that they are completely inappropriate for children of this age. I try very hard buy clothing that does not sexualize my girls and now I unknowingly spent too much money on a costume that I feel, does just that. On top of the length issue, vinyl raincoat is so thin that it feels as though the snaps are going to pull right through the “fabric.”

I would like to hear others opinions of this costume, as I know many of you have DDs in dance and it is recital season. If others also feel that this costume is unacceptably short, how would you recommend responding? I hate to pull DD out of the recital after she has put in so many hours of practice but the look on her face when she asked about dancing in her “underwear” tells me that the costume makes her feel self conscious which I don’t think is healthy at all.

The studio owner is the recital organizer and is not a child-friendly woman. Our DD LOVES dance and our reason for putting our DD is tap was because the tap teacher is a young, fun, college student. I do not know specifically who chose the costumes.

Thank you for your insights.
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#2 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:19 PM
 
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This is EXACTLY why I pulled my DD out of dance. Her costume was tacky, expensive, cheaply made, and completely inappropriate for a 5-yo. I was not the only parent who felt this way, but the studio owner firmly let us know that SHE chose the costumes, that we had no say in the costumes - and then tried to convince us they were "cute".

I don't have a pic (b/c I was pissed off enough to quit right then and there) - but basically the costume was a tuxedo jacket with tails, over a white-bibbed leotard and black fishnet tights - and a black sequinned cap with a huge ostrich feather. Ugh. They're little girls, not fricking Rockettes.

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#3 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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It wouldn't bother me or seem sexualizing at all but I have a long relationship with dance (ballet and modern) and a bodysuit is no more covering than a pair of green underwear when it comes to covering the bottom half and no one complains about a bodysuit which is the standard uniform. Depending on the underwear (small boy short style for example) the underwear could be covering more than the bodysuit would. If your daughter's uncomfortable in the costume maybe you could talk to the instructor?

Because your daughter is fully covered on top and bottom (and more than she would be in a regular bodysuit) I'd be fine with it. On the topic of price, yeah often the costumes are very cheaply made for what you have to pay. That part bites.
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#4 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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I wouldn't be bothered by it either. Dance costumes, as mentioned previously, often involve a bodysuit and your DD's costume would appear as if she was wearing a bodysuit beneath the jacket. It's not sleazy and covers way more than a swimsuit would.

The only thing that would bother me is if DD felt too uncomfortable to dance in the costume, I would speak with the instructor if that were the case.
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#5 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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the costume was a tuxedo jacket with tails, over a white-bibbed leotard and black fishnet tights - and a black sequinned cap with a huge ostrich feather. Ugh. They're little girls, not fricking Rockettes.
But that's way more adult than a raincoat with polka dots. The costume in the photo looks like something I see toddlers and pre-schoolers wearing while playing in their front yards this time of year. I think it was the preferred outfit of son and his friends from about 3-5 years of age, rain or shine. Nothing adult or sexualized.
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#6 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:27 PM
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If the recital is May 18th, it is too late to get different costumes, even if you could persuade the teacher to choose something else.

I fear there is nothing that can save the outfit from a certain degree of ugly (and it takes a lot to fail to flatter a kid as cute as your dd) but I think you should tell the teacher that your dd is uncomfortable in the costume and add something to help with that. How about wearing her regular dance class leo under the outfit?

In the future, I would demand to see a picture of the costumes chosen before paying. Obviously, with a group of children you can't expect the teacher to honor your preferences on every issue, but the studio should be respectful of parents' feelings on issues like modesty and age-appropriateness.
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#7 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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First thought: Your daughter is adorable!

Second thought: That was $48!?! I can't afford dance, I guess.

Third thought: Whoa, that's ugly.

Fourthly, I think it's pretty standard for dance classes. The tightly "done" hair with lots of product, makeup applied heavily (for the age of the person). Costumes that are one step scantier than usual. It's all about 150% of normal.

I think it's alright in the right environment - one of showing off the movements of a healthy, beautiful, nature made, exercise driven body. It's not okay in terms of showing off sexy legs and looking hot and being attractive to the opposite sex. That's all about the parents and teachers at the school.

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#8 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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How about wearing her regular dance class leo under the outfit?
That's what I was thinking too. It may make her DD feel better though as far as covering her up (her mom's concern) it won't do more than the underwear does. Most people seeing the costume are just going to assume the kids are in green leotards if they see any of the green underwear at all.
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#9 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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Could you talk to the owner about the girls wearing real shorts -- you could offer to find appropriate matching shorts for all the girls. I guess you would need to talk to the other moms first.

As far as looking like she's wearing a leotard -- well, I wouldn't let my daughter wear just a leotard!

My DD (4) takes gymnastics and EVERY GIRL in that gym, from the 2-year-olds through the college girls, wears velvet gym shorts over their leotard. Leotards without shorts are considered gross by everyone -- girls, parents, and coaches.
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#10 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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I don't find that any worse than seeing them wear the leotards that they wear to go dancing in.

I have 2 dds in dance and their costume is a leotard with a boa with feathers. around the neckline and the straps. The colors are vibrant.

I've been in dance and our costumes were covering as much as our leotard did when we went for our lessons.

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#11 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by loveandkindness View Post

As far as looking like she's wearing a leotard -- well, I wouldn't let my daughter wear just a leotard!

My DD (4) takes gymnastics and EVERY GIRL in that gym, from the 2-year-olds through the college girls, wears velvet gym shorts over their leotard. Leotards without shorts are considered gross by everyone -- girls, parents, and coaches.

Dancing and gymnastics are totally two very different sports, you can't compare what they wear because the needs are so different.

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#12 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Looks pretty tame/typical to me. Dd's recital costume is shorter

I'm SO not into the whole recital thing... sigh... but this was the best studio that actually HAD a dance class for 3 yr olds... and my silly goose really wanted dance classes this year...

Next year we switch to the real academy. Where they wear leotards and tights- NEVER skirts or shorts over...

-Angela
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#13 of 67 Old 04-21-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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Next year we switch to the real academy. Where they wear leotards and tights- NEVER skirts or shorts over...
A real academy is so much nicer and you get away from garish recital costumes. Once I was old enough to switch to a proper school the recitals ended and it was a relief. As a dancer I wasn't into the recitals. At the end of the year parents could come and watch our class; just floor and barre exercises in our regular pink tights and black leotards. It always felt more dignified because there was never an attempt at cuteness.
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#14 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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I think it's cute, and not at all sexualizing, though I'd be ticked about paying $48 for it. I agree with the idea of letting her wear her leotard underneath if it makes her more comfortable (I'm guessing that coat is itchy and most of the girls will wear something under it.)

My dds are both wearing more traditional outfits (here's a link to one:
http://www.costumegallery.net/products.asp?ID=2523 and the other: http://www.costumegallery.net/products.asp?ID=2532 ) Neither cost as much as $48. But the other studios in town are known for dressing their little dancers like tarts, and our studio is kind of a haven from that. Could you ask around and see if there's a studio with a reputation for being a bit more modest?

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#15 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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A real academy is so much nicer and you get away from garish recital costumes. Once I was old enough to switch to a proper school the recitals ended and it was a relief. As a dancer I wasn't into the recitals. At the end of the year parents could come and watch our class; just floor and barre exercises in our regular pink tights and black leotards. It always felt more dignified because there was never an attempt at cuteness.
Exactly. It's where I went... but they don't start until 4 and dd begged and begged for dance this year I figure one year of silly recitals and costumes doesn't hurt as long as they have fun

-Angela
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#16 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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I think the costume is inappropriate, but I'm pretty conservative as far as clothing. This is exactly the reason I have been hesitant about dance for dd (who is now in ballet)--I feel that so many of the classes for young kids have costumes and dances that are, if not sexually suggestive, just not age appropriate.

If it were me, I'd pull dd from the recital. She sounds like she is just as uncomfortable as you are with the costume.

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#17 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I apprieciate all of the comments so far. In response to a few:

Quote:
zeldamommaCould you ask around and see if there's a studio with a reputation for being a bit more modest?
Unfortunately this is the only studio in town


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SandrineI don't find that any worse than seeing them wear the leotards that they wear to go dancing in.
That's just it...its a tap class so they don't even have to wear leotards. DD often just goes in whatever she has been wearing all day before class. For other dance classes at this studio for children DD's age the girls are expected to wear leotards, tights and a skirt.

There is one boy in DD's class...I can only assume he will be wearing pants rather than bikini unders under his ugly raincoat.

We are absolutely done with dance...the real question is whether or not she performs in the recital or we pull her out before.
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#18 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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Most tap classes here they wear leotards... Maybe it's a regional thing?

I say if she wants to do the recital- let her- it's a good closure to the class. If she doesn't want to do it- let her skip it.

-Angela
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#19 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 01:37 AM
 
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Yep that is a typical legnth of tap outfits. I have pictures from the 70's to prove it. ............That is an ugly rain coat though.
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#20 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by spero View Post
I don't have a pic (b/c I was pissed off enough to quit right then and there) - but basically the costume was a tuxedo jacket with tails, over a white-bibbed leotard and black fishnet tights - and a black sequinned cap with a huge ostrich feather. Ugh. They're little girls, not fricking Rockettes.
Wow... the dance costume you described was also my uniform for work as a cocktail waitress at a gentlemen's club, minus the feather (we had fedoras). Totally inappropriate for a little girl. Jeez, it's inappropriate for ME!


Unfortunately, OP, marsupialmom is right. That is standard for a tap costume. It's something I'd have no problem with DD wearing, but I'm fairly liberal when it comes to that. However, what concerns me more is that your daughter has expressed discomfort with the length. It shouldn't matter what we as adults feel about it; we're a bit jaded by age. But when a 5 year old recognizes something about an article of clothing that makes her feel uncomfortable with the thought of dancing around in front of people? I'd definitely bring that up with the studio owner.
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#21 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 03:12 AM
 
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i would not let my daughter wear that. a leotard under mighte work but i'm not sure..........
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#22 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 03:24 AM
 
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I think tap costumes are generally very short. i can't believe you only paid 48 bucks, I have 3 kids in 4 classes and their costumes are 78 each. I think i'm gettin ripped off! I have one in a raincoat outfit this year, but it came with a leotard, hangs to the knees, and has a hat and shoe cover boots with it.

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#23 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 06:33 AM
 
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There is one boy in DD's class...I can only assume he will be wearing pants rather than bikini unders under his ugly raincoat.
You can bet he won't be wearing green underwear! I remember in my tap classes there was usually a boy or two and while our costumes were always ruffled, satiny, sparkly (and often tacky) leotards and some type of headpiece, the boys' costume was always long pants and a real hat, not some silly carboard tiara or headband.

As for the picture, your DD is very cute! The raincoat is awful, but you already know that. I would not be happy with that costume but in your place I'd try to do whatever would bother my child the least. If she doesn't want to do the recital, I wouldn't. If she did I'd put something a little more comfortable under her costume and not worry what the megalomaniacal recital director has to say about it.
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#24 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 08:06 AM
 
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how do the other parents and girls feel? if they also feel uncomfortable maybe you could get together and suggest adding some tights to the costume, after all the girls will not perform their best if they feel inhibited.
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#25 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 08:57 AM
 
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I had the same problem with a 3 yr old dance class. Weirdly, every other parent thought I was the freak for not wanting to put make up and a slutty off-the-shoulder/too-short/feather-boa outfit on my child. As for your particular costume, I don't know... it's kind of differently bad than I was expecting. I would say if your daughter feels naked, it's not the right outfit. How about a pair of black boy-shorts/bike shorts?
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#26 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 10:27 AM
 
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The thing I like best about little ones is that you can say - oh, the recital is the same night as ... and then they know that they can't go and it's fine. If she'd be ok with that, it could even be the same night you were planning to take her to see Horton, or go to that mini-golf place you always wanted to check out. We did dance for 4 years and only once did we do a recital (the fourth year). Costumes are notoriously awful and ime inappropriate for little ones. We always bought the costume, because it was required, and one year the costume was actually pants and a tank top! They did a rap song theme. That's the only year she wanted to be in the recital. And she was 8yo. Other classes had significantly skimpier outfits, and they DID look cute on stage, even if they look completely out of character for such small people individually. As a group it comes together.

Anyway, not going to the recital is certainly an option, if that helps your dd - then she got the ugly raincoat (and panties?) for her dress up box. It's an option. You can always tell the teacher that dd was sick that day or something. Eh - it happens!

Angela - kudos for being somewhat sympathetic!

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#27 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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That is terrible! Completly inappropriate. As she is dancing, she will not be comfortable! I did dance for 5 years as a child and the ballet leotard was revealing as a bathing suit, olur recital costumes were age appropriate.

My sister and I in our ballet costumes. I am in the purple outfit. I was 9
http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m...a19/ballet.jpg
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#28 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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If she really wants to do the recital, I'd buy her green bike shorts so she won't be self-conscious and you won't have to cringe at the thought of her dancing in just undies and a fugly raincoat.

Underpants are completely different than a leotard.

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#29 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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Bike shorts--or those 100% cotton knit shorts that K-mart starts to sell this time of year--probably wouldn't even show under that raincoat and would be a lot more comfortable for your dd. They're very often on sale for under $5.

When I first started teaching--university--one of our students created a music/theater piece in which he asked his performers to wear speedos and bikinis. I was really proud of one of the young women for speaking up for herself and saying she wanted a more modest option. So they found one, that still fit with the piece. My point being, it's good for girls to learn to speak up for themselves and their bodies, and have that honored; and it's likely you can find a compromise, especially if you talk to the actual instructor. There may be other parents with similar concerns.

Or just do it.

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#30 of 67 Old 04-22-2008, 12:22 PM
 
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I think it's cute, but I have a daughter who would happily dance around in the nude in front of a bazillion people. She's not at all modest, and I'm really glad for that.

I would just encourage your daughter to think about all the fun she'll have showing off her dance moves on stage, and talk about how excited you are to see her perform. Of course, if she really doesn't want to do the recital, don't make her . . . but hopefully she'll come around.

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