Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Dance Troupe Offends the Public

A controversial dance performed by Robert Morris University of Chicago, has some mental health advocates infuriated by the lack of sensitivity to those with mental disorders. The troupe's unruly hair, dark raccoon eye makeup, combined with short straitjackets had parents outraged. Chrisa Hickey, a mother of a 16-year-old son who suffers from a schizoaffective disorder, made a complaint after seeing a picture online of their attire. After witnessing her son go through a complete psychotic break, she did not find the dance entertaining but rather deeply offensive.

Thankfully the university's president, Michael Viollt, agreed that the costumes were inappropriate and will not be worn again. Future costumes will have to be approved by the same committee that approves the sport teams' uniforms. Viollt will attempt to increase sensitivity toward people with disorders through the educational curriculum at Robert Morris.

Robert Morris's dance team has recently issued an apology and Waunakee High School's varsity dance team made a public apology before their performance at a state competition along with a change in attire.

The reactions to Robert Morris's and Waunakee's insensitive performances indicates that there is a growing effort to eradicate the stigma of mental illness. Attempts to educate the public will eliminate the perception that those affected by a mental illness are not "one of those people", but merely one of us.

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