Dance is a means to expressing yourself, but has it gone too far? A lot of people are starting to think maybe it has. There are have been news stories lately that tell of the horrors of "front to back" dancing. (Picture the boy behind the girl dancing very closely together...)
Some high schools and junior highs have even forbidden front to back dancing at all dances including prom! In one big high school I read about, only about twenty people went to prom since everyone else protested the dancing rule. Is this really anything new and different? A look into dance history tells us it most certainly is not.
Those Naughty Dances
Sure, some dancing is obviously naughty – strip teases and pole dances come to mind. But is front to back dancing really that bad? If so, why is everyone doing it? What’s the big deal? Well, according to outraged adults, the front to back dancing is disgustingly sexual. The dancers are entirely too close together and many of the moves seem designed to "entice" thoughts and feelings that are entirely inappropriate for the dance floor-interesting perspective, but nothing new.
Almost every dance throughout history has come up against this sort of battle. Have a seat and watch Dirty Dancing if you don’t believe me. Right now the front to back dancing is a horrible thing. About ten or twenty years ago, grinding was the most revolting dance adults had ever seen. (Grinding was very close front to front dancing where parts of the dancers actually "grind" together.)
Before the horrible grinding, rock and roll was the enemy.
Elvis Presley did a bunch of hip shaking that caused girls to faint and parents to worry. Were teenage boys everywhere shaking their hips suggestively at their daughters?The irony is that now we’re worried about teenage girls shaking their hips at teenage boys instead. Rock and roll got a lot of attention as the new, horrible craze teenagers were subjecting themselves to. Ministers preached about it, parents worried about it, and kids loved it! (What else is new?)
Before the demon rock and roll, swing was already corrupting souls. Swing dancing was wild and carefree. Boys were throwing girls around and the giant steps, twists and flips exposed much more of the young lady’s undergarments than parents and other adults thought was proper. To really swing, you needed a good dress and a strong partner. The girl spent a lot of time with her dress flying up around her giving everyone a good shot of her legs and possibly even her (non skimpy) underpants. Shocking!
If you look back before the era of swing, there were naughty dances then, too.
The most popular (or least popular – depending on how you look at it) was the Charleston. The Charleston was a dance that involved a lot of flapping arm movements and quirky dance steps, so the girls that danced the Charleston where known as flappers.Flappers were also known for other shocking things beside their suggestive dance floor moves. They wore short skirts that came to their knees. They might be spotted with a cigarette and some even drank gin. The Charleston was responsible for much of the moral downfall of the day – just ask the grown-ups.
Naughty dancing goes back even father than that. The tango is actually a ballroom dance that started in South America but was made popular in Europe. It is a form of formal dance that involves close choreography and sensual moves. It was so outlandish and sexy the bishops of Europe even spoke out against it. It was just too sexy and was said to be responsible for the breaking down of morals in society – shocking, I know.
The Bottom Line
There will always be someone against something. Dance is no exception. For over 100 years dance has been blamed for any number of things including the lack of morals in young people today. In fact, the fury about dancing goes back even farther than that – some religions even outlaw it. But the fact of the matter is many (not all) of the people who feel so strongly that today’s dancing is horrible and wrong…were dancing some other horrible and wrong dance when they were kids. So dance, you naughty thing, dance!