Dance dads banned from rehearsals

A blanket ban on fathers attending dress rehearsals at their daughters’ calisthenics club has hit a sour note with some parents.

Melton Calisthenics Club posted signs last week asking fathers not to attend the rehearsals because of a lack of changing facilities at its hired venue.

The club, which operates from a converted factory in Reserve Road, confirmed fathers were not allowed to attend rehearsals because costume changes were done “in the open” in the auditorium.

But the father of one young dancer, who asked not to be named, said a ban on dads was not the solution.

“I understand why fathers wouldn’t be allowed into dressing rooms and I’m not disputing that,” he told Star Weekly.

“I just think the kids need to be using changing rooms. I guarantee that not everyone, women included, would feel comfortable dressing in front of each other out in the open.

“My daughter enjoys it when I come to support her at rehearsals. The kids just want to show their parents what they’ve been working on.”

Another parent said she was angry her partner was being discriminated against.

“I fully support protecting the dignity and privacy of women and children, but this is discrimination,” she said.

“Not every man is a predator. My daughter loves her dad attending her dancing performances.

“What about single dads who have no choice but to take their daughters? I’m so disappointed they have made this decision.”

She said the club was not prepared to pay extra to hire screens or dressing rooms for rehearsals.

A spokeswoman for the club refused to be drawn on the issue but asked that concerned parents speak to her directly.

Calisthenics Victoria states that all dancers, boys and girls, should wear body suits to avoid incidents of unwanted attention.

The association also acknowledges on its website that fathers share an equal interest in supporting their children.

Melton dad Paul Falzon’s son, Aiden, attends DanceSport Westside.

“All the dads are made to feel welcome here and there are a lot of us,” he said. “It’s important to us as dads to be able to support our children in what they’re learning.”

Wolfgang Wessner’s four children all dance at DanceSport Westside.

“Why shouldn’t dads be allowed to come to rehearsals?” he said.

“These are our children and some fathers don’t have a choice.

“Dads are in the changing rooms after footy training and kids get changed in the carpark after games.

“Should we ban mums from footy grounds? What’s the difference at dancing?”