Deciding Between Ballet or Hip-hop Lessons for 10Yo, Is Hip-hop Too Racy?

Updated on August 15, 2012
C.J. asks from Fort Worth, TX
22 answers

ok my beautiful 10yo had ballet lessons since she was 3 until she turned 7; after that she tried swimming and now we are back to finding after school activities for her.

I like that she likes to try new things and keeps at them a good while (at least two years) before trying something different. For budget reasons I can only afford 3 lessons for her, one sporty or arts lesson, one musical instrument and one dancing lesson.

I would love for her to retake ballet after so many years and she was on board but took an interest into hip hop instead after watching a video of hip-hop choreography.

I know I will sound like the biggest prude but seriously I swear I'm pretty open in general, however the hip-hop choreography seems a bit too racy, meaning the moves are sort of sexy? I don't want to come across as insulting the dance because honestly I'm not, the girls looked very fit and athletic and having fun.

However ballet is sooo elegant and beautiful, I remember my daughter's recitals with such joy. I don't want to push my daughter into doing something that is my choice but I don't want her to do something I might be uncomfortable with.

Am I worrying too much? Do you think the athletic benefits of ballet surpass hip-hop? or am I over thinking (as usual sadly...)

Thank you mamas!!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much everyone! I decided to postpone hip-hop lessons for later when she is older. Right she is doing a combination of tap/jazz/ballet and she is loving it! she tells me that this class is better because the other ballet lessons made her toes hurt so I took that into account since I want her to have fun too.
Good luck and God bless your dancing princesses!

I also wanted to add that I listened to some hip-hop songs and even though the rhythm is really catchy I do have a problem with a few of the lyrics as some of you warned me lol, I also notice that my daughter is not high energy but more low energy and likes more of a quiet environment so, even though I don't think ballet is slow at all, I do think ballet practices are more low key than hip-hop in general.
anyways thanks again I loved reading you all's responses :o)

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answers from Seattle on

Have you watched so you think you can dance on fox? The hip hop dancing they do is one of the harder styles, and fantastic! No way it's racy or suggestive, and I'd hope the teachers don't portray this to the kids theyre teaching. They should use radio versions of songs and keep moves about dance.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Are you serious? Yes you are worrying too much. There is no need to worry. They are only dance classes. lol. Have you asked her which class she would prefer to take? Sounds like you are not a fan of hip hop music. You have to like the music in order to like the dance. And it just depends on the kid. If she is good at ballet and enjoy it then continue the ballet lessons. But if she can keep a beat and enjoy hip hop music, do the class! She will definitely enjoy.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

I know there are a couple of Christian dance schools in the North Fort Worth area. See link below for one of them. I do not know much about them, but I discovered them when asking around about dance schools this summer for my daughter. Several moms at my church said they took their girls there to avoid the racy costumes, dancing, & music. Maybe this would be a good compromise. There is some super cool Christian hip hop nowdays. I was skeptical until I heard it, but it's really good.

P.S. You are not worrying too much, it's our job to overthink these things :-) I took ballet for many years & the part I do not like is the unhealthy body image it creates. Not to mention the ugly toes you get after dancing on pointe for a few years.

Good luck!!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Others will talk about the dance itself. I don't know enough about hip-hop to comment. However, I want to mention the music. I've been to dance recitals of elementary girls and was disgusted by the songs that the teacher chose to have them dance to. Adult themes in the lyrics - totally inappropriate to be watching a child dance to. It really ticked me off, I have to say.

Anyway, I just wanted to voice that.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I say ballet., without a doubt. The two don't even compare.

In ballet she will not only learn the elements of dance, but she will learn poise, posture, self-confidence, grace and gain physical strength and agility. What she gains from ballet will last a lifetime.

The athletic benefits of ballet far surpass other forms of dance and movement. That's why they have football players in ballet classes!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hip hop is FAR more athletic, although less grueling (no anorexia required, and your feet don't bleed- ballerinas have to have EXTREMEpain tolerance- but hip hop is FASTER. It's like sitting down doesn't hurt, but try sitting over 60seconds. Ballet is an ENDURANCE sport and it's Incrediably difficult and painful. Hip hop, on the other hand is more 'athletic'... It's half gymnastics and half dance.

YouTube or Hulu 'Legion of Extraordinary Dancers'

It's a semi- storyline celebration of dance... ALL kinds. Hip hop, break, ballet, modern, techno, Irish, swing, ballroom.... ALL kinds... Most with their own 'episode' and all thrown together.

Thing is... Dance, to me, is Dance.

The SAME arguments you hear about hip hop today were the arguments you heard about ballet as little as 50 years ago.

(Personal joke; people complain about how 'short' the clothes are in hip hop... But leotards arent even 'short'!!! And check out Cheer. Shorter skirts than hip hop! Gymnastics, even more so... No tights NOR skirts. Swim, ditto But those people -These Days- just don't even see. Cracks me up)

Anyhow... As mom, the choice is yours.

In PRACTICE, though, most hip hop dancers wear track suits. Or at least track pants. So they don't get floor burn as they're learning tricks.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

My almost 10 year old daughters hip hop class was awesome. It's just a different style, my daughter needs high energy. Slow dance was not her thing. She did it just for fun and she likes to dance. I didn't think it was too sexy at all.
PS - for my daughters dance recital, they wore jeans, sneakers and a green t-shirt with jewels all over it (not hoochie at all) and the higher level class of girls (much better dancers) work sparkly hot pink tank tops with black baggy sweat pants and sneakers.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Hands down Ballet! It is such a beautiful art form. I havent found a child who participates in Hip Hop dance around here, that she is not required to look like a street walker. I am not saying it doesnt exist, just havent seen it.

This is actually a HUGE issue for me. I hate to see young girls looking like they are 20!

Again, Ballet is beauty and talent to me.

*I wanted to add, I think its funny that Ballet would be considered slow dance. Ballet takes great strength. Way more than hip hop.

*Again adding, **IM** uptight? Now thats funny. No, my daughter wont look like trash as long as I can help it. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

It's hard to answer. I think you need to check out the school. Watch some hip-hop classes (more than one). See what the teacher's attitude and the other students' attitudes are, and listen to the music that is used. I think it will help you make up your mind.

Ballet is deceptively athletic (it's so beautiful you don't usually realize how strong the dancers are). It takes as much strength and discipline as other styles, even though the moves are different from hip hop. A lot of dancers in many genres have gotten their basic foundations from ballet.

A lot of this will depend on your daughter's own preferences, of course, and her preferences may depend on what her peers think... but, since you're paying for the lessons, you have every right to have some input. If it's not comfortable for you to support, your daughter needs to understand and accept that. Maybe another year....

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answers from Norfolk on

I can't stand hip hop.
It looks like it's one small step away from pole dancing but then I don't like watching any age bump and grind much less kids.
(Besides the activities you mentioned, have you considered taekwondo?)
Everyone's got an opinion on what is too racy and what isn't.
But YOUR opinion is as good as the next persons and YOU get to draw that line for your family.
If hip hop is not your style, there are many other dances out there - tap, ballet, Irish Step dancing, clogging, etc.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

There is a higher chance that if you go the hip-hop route, that you will most likely have issues with the content in the music, the suggestive moves and/or the outfits. It's practically a given and it's a real shame. I have yet to see any studio handle this in an acceptable and age-appropriate way. = /

You can always talk to the teacher to feel out where (s)he is coming from when it comes to hip hop choreography. You could also ask to see pics of costumes from past programs, also. I think if (s)he gets defensive about it, I'd have some red flags. If they seem to be understanding and accommodating, maybe try it for a year and see for yourself.

I hope it works out! It's a shame when kids have to miss out bc of poor judgement on behalf of the adult instructors.

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answers from Washington DC on

My son loves to dance and he just completed a couple of months of Hip Hop Dance dance this past year. I think that you should go and see what the teachers are doing with the kids and go from there. Chose a dance studio that is rational to the fact that they are teaching kids, and that fits your quilities. I can tell you that my son never did any sexy moves, and the girls that danced with him didnt either, they were appropriate moves for 7-8 year old kids and they danced at the recital to Justin Bieber's Never say Never, and the song was edited so it was not the entire song so if there is something racy in there I totally missed it! So I think you should be cautious but just find the right fit and let her enjoy dance! Not sure what you are asking about the athletic benefits my son's dance teacher had him doing front flips when he found out he could and put them into the dance recital routine along with another girl who could flip also there is no surpass its all dance and great challenge!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would suggest you visit with the teacher about what kinds of music she chooses and how she lets the girls dress...our girls hip hop teacher does not allow anything more than Disney type music, stuff you'd hear on the Disney radio channel.

The girls were working on a routine to music by Selena Gomez last spring. They were tight fitting shirts under their hoodies, soffe football capri's and their hip hop split sole sneakers. They take the hoodies off so the teacher can see their abdomen muscles working while they are going through their warm ups.

She was on a couple of Broadway musical tours with Disney and she is a wonderful Christian person. I trust her to do tasteful actions and to not allow ANY unbecoming actions.

If you do not know these teachers then tell them you want to see them do a class or two before deciding.

Ballet will most likely get her more scholarship offers to college but she may like the rhythm of hip hop better.

If she wants to take both drop something else. I would keep the musical instrument because I was a band kid and loved every minute of it. I also loved every minute of choir. If she's in school she gets her instrument lessons free through school. During band class. That would be the cheapest way to go and then she can do two dance classes that should be affordable.

If she decides she hates one and loves the other then visit the idea of dropping one of them. I think if it's a recital year she should see them through to the end of recital but that would be up to you.

Every person who graduates from high school in our studio that applies for a dance scholarship to college gets a free ride, all bills paid full scholarship. They get them for ballet and other styles too. She will need to eventually take jazz, hip hop, ballet, tap, etc...she should be able to teach the younger girls when she is old enough to be an assistant teacher.

When the current teacher is out the assistant teaches the class. She is 14 years old and is very good with the girls. She is one of the best dancers in the studio. She works 3 hours per week helping the owner teach the little kids ages 3 and 4. Then she helps out in hip hop each class. She takes them through their warm ups and starts them working on their routines. The teacher is usually there and working on some new combination or ordering supplies. She is observing the class but the teachers assistant is working too. She earns the money for her own classes at this point.

Working as a teachers assistant is a great way to learn teaching skills and to pay her own way through the classes she wants to take. She can also earn enough money to pay for costumes, class outfits, and maybe even have a little bit left over if she works hard enough and will be there whenever she's needed.

Just a thought. Unless she's on the traveling competition team for her sport or is able to compete on a high level on her instrument I would focus on the one thing that could possibly pay her way through college.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

If it's a high quality school then the lyrics, costumes and dance moves will be fun but tasteful. My daughters are still too young to take specific classes (they're in pre-ballet right now), but at their recital last year we watched all the dances and were very impressed with everything. The kids were all having fun, fully clothed while performing skillful dance routines.

You need to talk to some parents of kids from the dance school and see if you can borrow recital tapes from previous years. That will give you a good indication of the kinds of steps and costumes your daughter will be involved with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

I agree w/ Dawn. I have attended a few recitals w/ terrible lyrics and clothes !

Talk to the teacher ahead of time and see if she is more on the conservative side.

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answers from Washington DC on

It probably depends on her personality. If she is more energetic, she might like hip hop

Have you thought about other types of dance? Perhaps gymnastics?

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answers from Honolulu on

How about marital arts, music, and art lessons?
That's what my daughter has done or still does, and she is 9 now.
She took hip hop when younger, then decided she wanted to try other things.

Her hip hop dance teacher, is a grade school teacher as well.
And thus, the songs/choreography was not, inappropriate.
BUT, yes, there is the fine line, per hip hop/choreography, that is more for older kids... because, the adults will watch it as they perform and they have the visual connotations of it, that kids don't necessarily think of.
So, just don't enroll her in something you are not comfortable with. ANd you simply explain that to your daughter. That is what I do. If you think it is inappropriate, tell your daughter and explain why.
But then again, some people think even the Hula... is too provocative. In Hawaii, many kids take Hula lessons. For example. But it is a different dance form.

I don't particularly like the Hip Hop dance gesturing either or the dress per young girls. But not all teachers, think, about the age appropriateness. To them, it is just a dance style. But it is, also part of the media culture too.

If you don't want her to do hip hop, just say so.
I am always open with my daughter... and we BOTH, discuss the aspects of it. My daughter is 9. I was doing that with her even when she was younger.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hip Hop can be racy, but doesn't have to be. I think it usually is because it is performed by young people. I think your daughter has reached the age where she is ready to spread her dancing wings. How about both? By the way, ever seen the dance movie Center Stage? That had some racy ballet!

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answers from Boston on

Hip - hop is so fun to watch. My son who is 13 can dance to hip-hop. The moves the jumps. Its very athletic. The music is upbeat and the kids love it. Not all hip hop is awful music. I happen to love hip hop because my son opened my eyes to something new that he loved. My bet she will have the work out of her life and tons of fun!



answers from Cleveland on

i peronally don't feel comfortable with the hip hop, the only way i might be convinced was if DD took the class but wasn't going ot participate in the recital which seems sort of pointless.

Personally if the choice was mine i would go with a ballet or tap, OR gymnastics. the hip hop is the only form i see grinding and spanking their booties.



answers from Dallas on

Hip hop is fun! I take it at a studio in Friisco where I also take tap. The moves we do are not as you have described at all. It is great fun to do. I guess it depends on the teacher. We take from a young guy, who is a fabulous teacher. You are in Fort Worth, so that won't work to get him. It is totally a fun way to get exercise. Our group contains young moms to my age; I am 71.


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is 9 and starting her 7th year of dance (4th competitive) now. She has done hip-hop since she turned 7 and was allowed to do it. So this is her 3rd year. She skipped out of ballet the years it wasn't required. Jazz and tap are her favorites though.

While some studio's can be very inappropriate, we chose a wholesome studio and the hip-hop is anything but inappropriate.

My daughter (and the rest of us) find ballet to be boring. She wouldn't take it if it weren't a required course.

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