Father daughter dances are special events. They bring the community together and more importantly; they help make it possible for fathers and daughters to get to spend quality time together. It is a chance for them to dress up and learn lessons in how to carry themselves as young ladies and it is a chance for their fathers to show them just how they should be treated. There are countless reasons why such events can be a positive experience for a young girl. However, opponents of father daughter dances often bring up the fact that some girls end up being excluded because they have no one to take them. The reality is that some girls don’t have a father or father figure in their lives. However, there is another reality as well. For some girls their father, although not a current fixture in their home, is a permanent fixture in their lives despite the fact that he is incarcerated.
An article by the Washington Post gives an account of young ladies ages 6 to 16 years of age who visited their fathers at the Richmond City Jail. The girls were all dressed up and ready for a special occasion. Some of them nervous, some not liking where they were — all of them there to dance with their daddies.
For a few hours on this Saturday afternoon, the incarcerated fathers will be allowed to take part in an American tradition, the father-daughter dance. “A Dance of Their Own,” thought to be the only event of its kind in the country, will be held in the jail’s small, windowless multipurpose room.
This particular dance is an example of the “alternative father-daughter dances springing up around the country amid growing concerns that traditional father-daughter dances are exclusionary.” While the debate on father daughter dances will continue, talk to a little girl who has attended one or look a photo of a daughter and her dad and there is often no denying that for her it is a memory worth having. As for the fathers, for some, particularly those who are incarcerated, the opportunities they have to bond with their daughters are few and far between.
“People may think it’s crazy to have this in a jail,” says Woody, 67, a veteran homicide detective. “But it builds respect. You wouldn’t believe what it does for these men’s confidence to dress them up. So this dance can have a ripple effect.”
The event is taken very seriously and in preparation fathers even attend a fatherhood class prior to attending. The idea to have a dance in jail came from the understanding that even the daughters of fathers who are in jail still need their fathers. For more on this story visit the Washington Post.
BMWK — What do you think of a father daughter dance occurring in a prison?