Talks about the hyper-sexualization of children under 12 in adult costumes, choreography and music.
Advocate for healthy, age-appropriate guidelines wherever dance is taught – to protect children and the art of dance.
Provides education and resources to end the sexualization of children in dance.
SonLight Dance (now known as Soul to Sole Choreography) began in 1994 under the direction of Mary Margaret Bawden.
Soul to Sole Choreography was formed as a California nonprofit charitable trust in the Fall of 2003 and is recognized as tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board.
In children’s dance classes around the nation, young children are learning to dance with choreography that hypersexualizes them and their bodies. These children have become covert victims of sexual exploitation in what used to be a safe place – the dance studio. Children’s dance is being distorted and the art form of dance is being hijacked.
As awareness grows, more and more dance educators, parents and concerned citizens are speaking out against this cultural shift toward normalizing the hypersexualization of children in dance.
About the Director
Mary Margaret Bawden felt God call her into prayer-in-motion at fifteen years of age soon after she asked Jesus into her heart as her personal Savior. Although highly trained in ballet, she found herself attracted to the varied choreographic approaches found in modern dance. As a result, she received a B.A. in modern dance from UC Riverside in 1975; for a short time after graduation, she became the dance instructor for Crafton College as well as Mt. San Jacinto Jr. College in the Southern California area. The arrival of her 3 children in 1976, 1978 and 1981 followed and changed her priorities in movement until her children grew older.
Soul to Sole Choreography placed in the non-professional finalist category of the highly acclaimed ‘Festival of the Stars’ choreography festival held in Palm Springs at the McCallum Theatre in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Shea New, the founder/director of the festival, stated that the choice for the fall festival finalists was ‘difficult due to the overwhelming amount of quality talent submitted.’ Choreography finalists included entries from Argentina, Florida, Texas, New York, Arizona, Nevada, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Alongside the educational movement foundation for worship ministry, Mary has taught choreography and/or DA:NCE materials for the National Sacred Dance Guild Conference, the CAHPERD(California health, physical education, recreation and dance) dance workshop, the Saddleback Worship Conference, “Raise the Barre” as well as the State CDEA(California Dance Educator’s Association) Conference and the NDEO(National Dance Educator’s Organization) National Conference.
In Redlands, California, God has used Mary’s love of prayer-in-motion to design scripture for women’s Bible studies, church services and Children’s Christmas musicals at her home church. Since 1995, the much of Mary’s time has focused on a book entitled ‘Dance is Prayer in Motion: Soul to Sole Choreography for Church Dance Ministry.’ The chapters include information on dance movement foundation, leadership, choreography tools, the 6-step choreography method, the rehearsal process, and a chapter for pastors who want clear expectations for setting up a dance ministry in their own church. Part of the written material also shares how God has given her a vision to structure movement groups so that everyone can learn how to choreograph with or without a movement background. In 2006, Mary furthered her education when she received a Master of Arts in Worship with an emphasis in dance from Hope International University in Fullerton, California.
From Mary’s point of view, prayer-in-motion must be purposeful and conceptually clear. Of course, clarity also informs her passion to communicate the benefits of dance for children so that they are not hypersexualized with adult costumes, choreography and music. Her background includes a California secondary and junior college teaching credential as well as many years as an inductive Bible study leader. She has been involved with Bible Study Fellowship, Kay Arthur’s Precepts Bible Studies as well as women’s bible studies at Trinity Evangelical Church in Redlands, CA where Mary and her husband Richard attend.