Letters from the Issue of August 1, 2002

Just because you can shake it doesn't mean you're a dancer.

Become a Dancer in Three Easy Steps

Pump some iron, add some silicone, climb into a cage: After reading Ashley Fantz's article about nightclub dancers ("Dancing for Dollars," July 25), I understand why the public in general has such a misconception of dancers. I am a dancer and belong to one of the top-ten best companies in the U.S., according to Dance Spirit magazine research. And we're right here in Miami, a company more than a decade old of 33 professional dancers who work all year long and have done shows, performances, music videos, television events, and so forth all over the United States and abroad.

I was appalled that go-go, cage, and bar entertainers were called dancers. They might like to think they are, but they're not. Those of us who are real dancers have dedicated our lives to perfecting techniques and styles, practicing every day. Dancers are trained professionals, just like athletes, who have very difficult schedules and make lots of personal sacrifices.

In our world, Hot Jam founder Pamela Canellas is a joke. These are the people who have prostituted our profession, and in doing so have hurt our image and reputation. It takes more than a few hours at your local gym and a visit to a plastic surgeon to call yourself a dancer.

Personally I don't have anything against what they do or how they go about it. I have a problem with what they call themselves and how the public is misled.

Ophelia Kawko

New Century Dance Company

Miami

So This Dancer Walks into a Bar...

I may be from Ohio but I know trash when I see it: Is Ashley Fantz kidding us? I believe the quote from her story was: "We are real dancers. We put on a real show. Anyone who sees us knows that." I've seen these girls perform. I may be an out-of-towner but I didn't see dancing or a show. I saw trashy girls in trashy clothing shaking tits and ass. They have no idea what real dancing is.

As a classical dancer of seventeen years I am offended at the thought of being put in the same category as these quasi-strippers.

Tonya C. Davis

Lorain, Ohio

Allow Me to Explain the Race Issue

It's not about bigotry, it's about crime: Kathy Glasgow's story about Hialeah Gardens ("The Hialeah Gardens 'Darkie' Problem," July 25) was just another predictable, politically correct piece regarding blacks being picked on. At least we now include Hispanics in the equation as they join forces with non-Hispanic whites in a massive conspiracy to hold down blacks. Sure.

Will the real issue ever be addressed? I am positive former Mayor Gilda Oliveros did not want large numbers of blacks wandering into Hialeah Gardens. The people of Miami Beach do not want large numbers of blacks either, particularly during the yearly black beach party. Is this racist or is it based on the statistical fact that blacks are far more likely to commit crimes than other racial groups? It is obviously the latter.

This situation will never change until blacks reduce crime substantially in their own communities (where they are also most likely to be victims of crime). If the weekly Soul Night skating event in Hialeah Gardens catered to, say, Asians, do you think the mayor would have made it an issue? Of course not. It is far easier to talk about alleged discrimination than to address an epidemic of black crime, bad schools, and criminal hip-hop culture. Please, whites cannot even go into many areas of Miami-Dade without getting killed, and everyone knows it. Why no big articles about that?

The unfortunate response in Hialeah Gardens and countless other places is the result of the anticipated unruliness of black crowds. Some of this anticipation is exaggerated, but much is based on statistical facts and experience. Why run from this issue all the time?

I would love to know in what all-black areas New Times writers live. Or is it yet another case of people lecturing others while somehow making sure not to actually live with blacks in any real numbers or send their kids to predominantly black schools. It is because of this double standard that nothing truly gets accomplished regarding the race issue.

Bob Macron

Brooklyn, New York

The Everglades: 50 Years of Blunders

We're working hard, but fixing it will take time: This is in response to Mike Clary's article "God's Eye on the Sparrow" (July 18). We commend New Times for in-depth coverage of this issue.

The Cape Sable seaside sparrow is a classic "indicator species" for the health of the overall Everglades system. In 1989 Congress recognized flaws in the current water-management system in South Florida and authorized an expansion of Everglades National Park to include the northeast Shark River Slough. This was not done just for the sparrow but rather to correct past mistakes in failing to protect this critical area, an area vital to restoring the biological abundance and diversity for which the park was established and for which it is internationally renowned.

We are nearing the completion of acquisition of the lands authorized by Congress to be protected as part of the park. More than 50 years of the current water-management system have artificially driven water to the west, through a set of four large gates. This has dramatically changed water levels in the far western Shark Slough and, in the process, done harm to the sparrow population living there. In addition, by keeping the eastern area dry, suitable habitat for the sparrow, as well as wood storks, snail kites, and various wading birds has also been compromised. The 1989 Act recognized that mistake and provides a remedy.

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