Perhaps by now, you’ve seen the viral video of this ballet recital featuring a line of, what appear to be, four year old girls. In case you haven’t seen it, and can’t watch the embedded video above, these young ballerinas, are dancing to the song “Broadway Baby.” While everyone else is delivering the dance moves, in and out of time, there is one little girl dancing, flailing and tapping to the beat of her own drum. There are moments when she does the previously rehearsed choreography; but for the most part, she’s clearly doing her own thing. I will say, despite her abandoning the choreography, she does manage to stay in line the whole.
I came across the video earlier this week when my sister found it on Facebook. We watched and had a hearty laugh. Beyond the comedic aspect of it, we admired her creativity, her fearlessness and all of that boundless energy.
Naively, I thought that everyone who watched the video would feel the same way. But… I was wrong. As the video has garnered more and more attention, I’ve been shocked and saddened to find that quite a few people watched what I found to be an adorable little girl improvising and saw a girl that was unruly and disruptive.
On Yahoo, the racists came out. I won’t highlight any of their comments here because frankly, any time a story features a black person, even if that black person is four years old, there will be people attempting to hurl racial slurs and make hurtful, often dehumanizing, blanketed statements about black people all over the world.
But I was shocked to find disparaging comments about this child on Jezebel, a site dedicated to promoting feminism and rebuking the status quo.
One commenter on Jezebel wrote:
“As a mother with a little dancer just this age and a former children’s theater director I have to say that children like this can be a nightmare. She does not seem like a child so caught up she doesn’t realize what’s happening, she’s obviously seeking attention. The hardest part for me is when she’s trying to engage the little girl next to her and trying to get her to act out too. Some of these girls take this very seriously and have worked for months on this routine. What may make for a cute video out of context makes for a dance class where this girl is being disruptive and causing trouble by not listening. There are times when the respectful, proper thing to do is stay in line and do what everyone else is. A chorus dance is not the place to be a star. You are only pulling attention and being unfair to the other girls who are supposed to be having their moment too. Save it for a solo.”