Posted: Jun 15, 2014 8:30 PM
New York is raising a new generation of club kids — and none of them have hit their teen years. Fuzipop arranges dance parties for kids at exclusive New York nightclubs. Their mission is to cater to kids who have an interest in and appreciation for dance music, but their execution involves Champagne cocktails sharing a VIP table with kiddie cups.
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The allure of a good dance party

"Turn it up, please?"

At some point during our car rides, one of my kids will ask that question. When we're listening to music at home, the volume creeps louder the second I leave the room. With each increase, their singing voices grow more emotive, their dance moves more interpretive. I spin them around, jump and shimmy, and all of us manage to soothe bad moods and celebrate good ones with our spur-of-the-moment dance parties.

Play dates here sometimes end with a dance performance, moms an appreciative audience for amateur choreographers and movement lovers. We listen to pop and dance re-mixes and '80s-synthesized tunes. I appreciate the mood-lifting power of music, the cathartic nature of letting one's body find release in the beat of music. And when I need a break, I grab a diet soda, a glass of water or a coffee that needs to be reheated in the microwave for the 14th time of the day.

The skinny on kids at clubs

I don't, however, splash a bit of vodka in my cocktail shaker or tip chilled Champagne into my glass. Fuzipop! is giving adults and kids the opportunity to combine the fun of a child-friendly dance party with the ambiance of an adult nightclub. Their events — both public and private events are available — set up camp in an adult hotspot, during the daylight hours when nightclubs normally shutter their doors. The family dance parties are designated for kids ages 6 to 12 and their parents.

Business Insider talks a little more about the parties, including the not-so-family-friendly visual of a cocktail table littered with both Champagne glasses and juice boxes. A child DJ spins the music, while kids dance and adults belly up to the cash bar — drinks aren't included in the event's cover charge. LED favors fill the dance floor, like any self-respecting rave, and a parent even talks about the event being somewhere for adults to blow off steam.

Why family-friendly club events are an oxymoron

Fuzipop! ascertains that they're supporting the fine arts and providing a safe haven for kids interested in music. That rationale sounds perfect on paper, though most parents I know support their kids' music-listening habits — even if it means listening to the same songs on repeat for an entire month. Unfortunately, the execution of their supportive musical environment involves toeing the line between adult events and family-friendly ones.

Modeling responsible alcohol use has its place in parenting, but welcoming elementary school students into a club environment makes it difficult for kids to understand the lines drawn between "kid" partying and "adult" partying. With lights dimmed, glow sticks trailing through the air and baselines pounding, I'm not sure I would be able to differentiate between a kids' afternoon in and a girls' night out at one of these parties — except for the ages of some of the club's patrons.

With DJs, large numbers of parents, alcoholic beverages and disco balls, is there really much of a difference in the environment?

What can go wrong with kids in clubs

As an '80s child, I grew up hearing the heartbreaking story of a — very — young Drew Barrymore drinking and smoking alongside adults at clubs. Many child stars of this generation who tangle with impropriety — Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber come to mind — were fixtures at adult clubs well before their 18th birthdays, which is still three years before the accepted drinking age in the U.S. Fuzipop! isn't suggesting kids come to the hotspots during evening hours to dance shoulder-to-shoulder with adults, but with DJs, large numbers of parents, alcoholic beverages and disco balls, is there really much of a difference in the environment?

Untangle the connection between dance parties and drinking

With birthday parties on their services menu, it's clear that Fuzipop! is looking to fill a niche for parents who are tired of throwing parties at home or at standby locations like open gyms and bounce houses. If the operators truly want to develop a generation of kids who appreciate music and dancing, they can restructure their events to turn up the lights a little on the dance floor, darken the ones behind the full bar and encourage families to mingle in an environment more appropriate to a first-grader than a troubled-ingenue-in-training.

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