Shall We Dance? Part I

dancing.jpgA short survey early on this frosty morning:

If you grew up in the Church of Christ, or some other conservative evangelical denomination, were you allowed to dance?

If not, did you dance anyway?

And lastly, if you have children of dancing age, do you allow them to get out on the floor and shake their little boo-tays?

I’m just asking. And yeah, you can bet I’m heading somewhere with this.

Shall we dance? In Part II, we shall see that some Church of Christ kids already have.

  1. Hal

    I danced when I was young, but was not raised in any church, much less a conservative “no dancing” denomination. So, there was no apparent contradiction in my life.

    However, I did enjoy reading an article in the paper this past weekend. It was a feature story on a local couple that have been married for 40 something years. It highlighted their years together as a couple to include how they met and what they did on dates. It mentioned that their dates were mostly going dancing at the Country Club here in town. It also mentioned that they have been members of a local Southern Baptist church since before they dated. It just goes to show you, that dancing really does lead to intimate activities – they’ve had three children!

  2. Chad

    I never went to any dances, just wasn’t anything my group of friends was into. My brother went to most of the high school dances. I remember the first time he went he asked a girl from church and her family had to have a “summit” to decide if she could go. They let her and after that it seemed like a non-issue.

    I think most of the teens in our congregation have been or would go to a dance. It is certainly nothing that is preached about, pro or con.

    Church of Christ born and raised. Of course we are in the NW so I don’t know if it counts 100%.

  3. Donna

    Yes…I danced anyway. One time at a homecoming dance I was dancing with my now husband. It was a slow dance…and suddenly I realized what the fuss was about. That other shaking your booty stuff….it was nothing.

    My kids were not restricted. At least the dances were chaperoned. Unlike parked cars….

  4. Jeff Slater

    Everybody sing…..

    “We could have danced all night,
    But we were Church of Christ,
    So we went parking instead…”

  5. Nancy

    Was forbidden, did dance anyway… Kids are too young to have asked for permission to go to a dance, but we dance around the house all the time….

  6. Stoogelover

    Went to dances. Never danced because I never knew how. But I noticed in churches of Christ that dancing was equated with foreplay … unless it was done on skates! Same moves, same music, dame atmosphere. But on wheels dancing was a Sunday night youth event with all the blessings of the church.

    Old joke: You know why coC people refuse to have sex in public? For fear someone will think they are dancing!

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    “…dame atmosphere.”


  8. Richie

    [Hope family doesn’t read this blog]

    Wasn’t allowed to attend school dances until junior year of high school. Then, was allowed to, but only if agreed to “not dance.” Believe me, if anyone saw my moves, they had no worries.

    I went to clubs in college and grad school (heathen state schools) on occasion and danced at friends’ weddings. My parents would not be thrilled.

    I won’t have a problem with my offspring attending school dances. Before they’re 21 (and presumably under any control I have), I’d strongly discourage any clubs or the like. Not the best environment, regardless of the dancing.

  9. JRB

    I grew up in the CoC with dancing parents. I danced and danced and danced, with their blessing, even on stage in High School and on dates and club functions at Harding. “I am shocked! Shocked! to find dancing at this club function!”

    I gave a Wed. night lesson to the church in high school about prom, about going to prom and the virtue of being in the celebratory world alongside other Christians. I anticipated some retribution for confessing to prom from the pulpit, but instead got called down by an elder’s wife for including Baptists and Methodists in my general Christian-friends category.

    It’s a funny world, ain’t it?

  10. Mike the Eyeguy

    JRB–funny ha ha or funny queer? How dare you confuse those other “religious people” with real Christians!

    Okay, I’m loving these anecdotes, jokes, etc. Not quite big enough for a statistically significant sample, though, so keep ’em comin.’

    Come on all you Mayfair CofC people, I know you’re out there, so get busy ‘fessing up. I already know what you do anyway.

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Looks like that video of KC and the Sunshine Band singing “Shake Your Booty” (someone else posted it, not me) has been removed by You Tube for a “terms of use violation.”

    The Dance Police are everywhere.

  12. Darlene

    Dancing – NO!! I would have been labled a heathen back in the day. It was the “…avoid every appearence of evil…” and “…bad company corrupts good morals…” speech. And of course, I wouldn’t want to cause anyone to lust. But like that tune we sang a few post back, we went parking instead. That was when drive-in movies were “safe”, according to the church folks I knew growing up, including my parents. I do remember my Sunday school teacher (you know, the all-girls teen class on dating) used to tell us how terrible it would be for us if Jesus was to return again and find us at a school dance! We’d burn on the spot for sure! Oh, I almost forgot… I was allowed to do the square-dance portion of gym class, but was “excused for religous beliefs” from swimming. Square dancing was co-ed, but swimming was just us girls. I don’t get it either.

    Today, my daughter (17 and will be attending Harding this fall) loves to dance and knows how to dance, very well, and I have allowed her to go to school dances. It’s different today than it was back in my school days. Girls will get a bunch of their friends together and go to the dances, without guys. They have a blast dancing and just being together. Alot of my daughter’s male friends don’t go to the dances because they don’t like to dance. My son never went to any of his school dances, just his senior prom.

    Dancing at Harding?? My daughter will be so thrilled! But I won’t tell anyone, k?

  13. Chad Gardner

    Who would have thought dancing would ever break out on the stage of the Benson auditorium at Harding (Spring Sing not included)?!

    Here’s a video of a bunch of Harding students rushing the stage during a concert and swaying their hips from side to side. My favorite part is where Harding security tries to prevent the sinners from dancing.

  14. Chad Gardner

    Nevermind… I’ve been neglecting my blog reading the past week. I’m way, way behind the times and just realized the blog-roar that’s been going on regarding the RR concert.

    As an alum… I was proud to see the students take the stage.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy


    Our stories are, ahem, eerily similar. All except for that last part about not swimming even with the same sex. That was allowed in Virginia. Of course, I grew up in a “liberal” congregation. 🙂

    Like you, I have three sons who can “busta move” but good. In fact, they’ve been known to, as Will Smith would say but certainly not me, “git jiggy wit it” right there in front of the TV when I’m trying to watch a Duke game.

    Kinda hard to hold them back. Make that impossible.

  16. Mike the Eyeguy

    Chad G–you’re stealing my thunder dude! 🙂

    That’s alright, go ahead and watch it everybody. I’ll break it down tomorrow.

    As an “old dude” and someone who’s supposed to act responsible all the time, I can understand some of the admin’s concern.

    But as an alumnus, I’m like you–proud like a papa!

  17. Terri

    I was too afraid to ask if I could go to a dance in high school. My high school didn’t have dances because the principal was CoC, too. My brother went to his prom and it was no big deal.

    In college… yeah, dancing was all the rage and I was so glad that I had spent my Saturday’s dancing with American Bandstand! If there was a dance anywhere near… I was there!

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    “My high school didn’t have dances because the principal was CoC, too”

    Sorta like the mafia sounds like.

    Yeah, your brother getting to go sounds par for the course. Guys get all the breaks, even if they don’t deserve them.

  19. rejoyce

    I’m a little late on my blog reading, but thought I could answer this one, too.

    I was raised C of C and was not allowed to dance. As a child I remember sitting on the stairs in the gym while the rest of the class square danced. I also had the joy of hearing a sermon from Ruell Lemmons on how attending the prom led to pregnancy. (Thus the Junior/Senior Banquet at church on Prom night. Anyone else have one of those?)

    I danced around the house all the time when I was a teen, and eventually danced in public, too.

    We’ve never told our kids that they can’t dance, and our younger two have both been to homecoming dances and banquets where they have danced. It’s not an issue for us. I’m not sure it is for my parents anymore, either, come to think of it. I’ll have to ask.

  20. Mrs.white

    I wondered over from some lame blog…

    I grew up c of C, but in California, which is different from Southern c of C’s in more ways than one. Dancing was okay with my parents, but we kept it on the down-low from my grandparents. That is, until my wedding, when I insisted there be a dance floor and DJ (my brother, who kept it tasteful). Mom was worried about the reactions of several people, especially my grandpa. One of the best moments of my wedding day was when my brother started playing Dean Martin and my grandpa walked over and asked me to dance. The moment still brings tears to my eyes. Later on at the reception, he shook it in the conga line.

    Now tell me what about any of that could be labeled sinful?

  21. Mike the Eyeguy

    rejoyce–I’m betting that they’re boogying away. I’ve seen what goes on at those Senior Centers.

    Mrs. White–Sniff, sniff…that’s beautiful.

    To answer your question (as if it needed it): Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  22. kelliott

    grew up coC as did my parents and grandparents and yes, we all dancing. . My kids, Hardings students, also dance. Had dance floors at both weddings this summer.

    rejoyce has got to be from Austin if she grew with Brother Lemmons preaching at her too! 🙂

  23. caseylew

    I DID NOT DANCE at my prom and regret it. It would have been fun and would have made a good memory. Didn’t want to make the church look bad, though. And yes, we went parking instead. Also in high school, 2 other C of C friends of mine went w/me to see “Footloose” and we left the theater, charged and pumped and drove down a dirt road, got out and danced the night away. Oh yea, one friend was a boy and one was a girl. None of us had sex that night as a result of dancing or watching a movie about dancing.

  24. Lisa E

    I grew up in a conservative C of C family – no dancing, no “mixed swimming,” no shorts, etc. My daughters take ballet now, and I can tell it gets under my mom’s skin. My spouse also grew up in a conservative C of C, but evidently they had no problem with dancing – except skill (hee-hee).

    Was this a 50’s phenomena – my grandmother told me that she never had a problem with dancing, until my mom started going to Harding Academy in Memphis (in the 50’s) and found out it was wrong.

  25. Carolinagirl

    Some time during my sophomore year of high school, my parents said it was okay to attend dances. I think it was a wise decision on their part. If kids grow up being secluded from the real world, then the aspect of “free will” is taken away.

  26. Mike the Eyeguy

    kelliot–4 generations of CoC dancers! I’m impressed.

    caseylew–I too have such regrets. But it’s not too late to make amends. I saw “Footloose” at the “Rat Hole” (aka “The Rialto”) in Searcy. We didn’t break it down in the aisles in 1984, but there sure was a lot of foot shuffling going on.

    Lisa E–as that early church quote shows in the next post shows, the angst over dancing goes back quite a ways. I think early Christians, thinking that Jesus return was imminent and surrounded by Greco-Roman decadence, felt comfortable and justified in shunning and shielding themselves from their culture.

    Well, it’s been 2000 years now. Do we baton down the hatches and cordon off ourselves in an evangelical ghetto, or do we turn toward our engage our culture and try to engage and redeem it?

  27. Mike the Eyeguy


    It’s hard, as a parent, to know when to hold on to the leash and when to let it out a little. Like yours, my parents were wise in not holding on too tightly.

  28. Jenny V

    I was raised CofC and was allowed to attend my public high school dances, as well as Cotillian Club. Surprising, considering my mom was raised c o n s e r v a t i v e C of C. (but my dad didn’t go to church, so there was no pressure there…)
    The dances were chaperoned, planned, themed events.
    I have an 18 and a 16 yr. old. They go to a Christian High School that doesn’t host dances. But there are non-school sponsored dances (I planned the last one!) that they go to and my daughter’s gone to her friend’s public high school one, some of which are better than others here in St. Louis… (some come drunk, bump and grind stuff, among other horror stories…. we are good friends with a principal, so are ‘in the know’)

  29. Mike the Eyeguy

    JV–at Number One’s public H.S. principals, teachers and even the Huntsville PD are on hand at student dances to make sure that the “bump and grind stuff” (nor alcohol) make an appearance. I’m sure it still happens some, but I know for a fact that offenders, if caught, are yanked from the floor and sent home, followed by varying degrees of detention and suspension.

    And all that from a so-called “evil” public H.S. 🙂

  30. Jenny V

    Yes- our local public schools have police dogs at the door, police and staff as well… interestingly, a teacher friend in the public schools shared that that they’ve just made a new rule for our district’s school dances- all lights must remain on, no snow dances and music—more country and old school- less rap. Can’t say they don’t try to keep it clean….

  31. Mike the Eyeguy

    Old School is cool!

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