Video of Dagestani schoolboys performing in tutus sparks controversy
A joke of schoolchildren disguised as ballerinas outraged Dagestan
Based on materials from the “Caucasian Knot”
A scandal has erupted over schoolboys performing a parody of Swan Lake in ballet tutus during a graduation ceremony at a school in Makhachkala, Dagestan.
The video recording of the performance quickly took over social media, and the teenagers became a target of a real bullying campaign. Here are some of the typical comments that the video has received:
“It’s a shame, they must be sent away from Dagestan, immediately!” wrote in the comments.
“A disgrace to the whole Caucasus, to the whole of Russia!”
“They ruin the image of a man, a warrior, a true mountaineer!”
“Women are laughing but they should be crying.”
“Ugh, shame, shame, and disgrace. What are you turning your children into, parents? Are you Muslim or not?”
Some users tried to defend the boys, but there were significantly fewer of them:
“Shame on you if you take the comic dance so seriously”, said one of the users.
Local officials also responded to the controversial performance. Shamil Khadulaev, a member of the Public Chamber of Dagestan, described the performance of adolescents at a school holiday as “the first step towards the sin”:
“Even if it was a joke, we do not welcome it. Moreover, some of them hold each other, lift each other up in the air. In our culture, the only acceptable form of contact is shaking hands. Even a little boy is treated like a grown man here. We talk to them like adults”, Khadulaev explained.
Religious leaders have also spoken out:
“The Muftiate of the Republic decided to investigate the details of the incident which took place in one of the lyceums of Makhachkala. To this end, the school administration and parents were visited by the assistant to the Mufti Idris Asadulaev and the head of the education department of Makhachkala, Ali Sultanov. They discussed the situation and tried to find the best way to solve it”, the Muftiate of Dagestan said on May 25 on its Instagram page.
An employee of the lyceum told the Caucasian Knot that the audience received the dance prepared by the senior pupils quite adequately:
“Everyone in the audience understood that it was a joke. The kids just put on a musical. They are good students, morally stable, excellent students, activists. They constantly participate in competitions and Olympiads. They received prizes. We are all shocked by the response that their dance has received”, the teacher said.
Caucasian Knot discussed the current situation with a psychologist, employee of the Dagestan State University, Sergei Chepashvili.
“It’s always funny when men mimic women. Many comedy films, both American and Soviet, are based on this. Times change and everything is perceived in a different form”, Chepashvili said.
By parodying a ballet performance, children tried to draw attention to themselves, says Svetlana Anokhina, a well-known journalist and human rights activist in Dagestan.
“People either do not understand or do not want to understand. Maybe they just want something so outrageous that they can take part in the fight against it. Everything outrageous always concerns sex and the body. Everything else does not upset them”, the journalist said.
She noted that these people “want to react with indignation, but in all other areas they cannot afford to do it”:
“They do not control their lives, they are afraid of many things. Now, finally, there is an opportunity for them to join the common jubilation, a wave of outrage”.