Dancing (As long as it’s in a musical)

fredastairegingerrogersAsk any fundamentalist if dancing is a sin and you’ll likely receive a lecture on the sensuality and lust that is provoked when movements are set to music. The fact that a child of two will bop to the music of Sesame Street is seen as evidence both that the child has a radically corrupt sin nature and that Sesame Street is likely run by homosexual Communists.

Yet for all that, many fundamentalists enjoy a large amount of dancing, provided that the folks who are doing it are in a movie that is at least fifty years old or on the Lawrence Welk show. Fred and Ginger’s taps and twirls and Danny Kaye’s soft shoe routines are a staple of many fundamentalist video libraries. Time sanctifies all things.

There’s no doubt that those dances were much more genteel than the popular moves of this era. But can anyone imagine the uproar if ballroom dancing classes were offered at a fundamentalist college? Unless, of course, it’s in aid of a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. As one college music teacher explained “this isn’t choreography — it’s structured movement.” Well that explains everything then.

The fundamentalist proudly proclaims that “A dancing foot and a praying knee are not found on the same leg.” Unless that leg is part of a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

many thanks to James for the idea

15 thoughts on “Dancing (As long as it’s in a musical)”

  1. I’ve always heard it referred to as “coordinated stage movement.”

    Side note: for a real fireworks show, have a fundy of this stripe explain II Sam. 6:12-15. 😀 Was it *dancing*? Was it just jumping up and down like I did when the Phils won the World Series? Is the passage in support of or against the concept of whatever coordinated (or not) movement was taking place? Similar results can be had by starting a discussion of I Tim. 2:8 by asking whether it’s a Charismatic thing to raise one’s hands while engaged in spiritual activity.

  2. Having witnessed dancing in multiple plays and muscials put on at Tennessee Temple University back when it was fundy, I could not agree more with this flawed distinction.

  3. Maybe dancing is ok if the woman is wearing a modest dress? Where does that put ballet with all those tight costumes and immodest display of leg? I asked a fundie once if ballet was considered sinful, and he had no answer to that.

  4. My problem is that I will only dance after I’ve had a couple drinks of liquid sin. I really don’t like dancing a whole lot but my wife loves to dance. Why is that?

  5. I love the way a bodily response as manifested in dancing to jazz, rock, or other worldly musical styles is bad, but toe-tapping and clapping in rhythm to southern gospel is not.

  6. In church we NEVER danced in VBS or Sunday School, but “movements” were perfectly ok (never mind that some of them were very dance-like). And I’ll never forget my fairly hardcore IFB/IFBx school taking a field trip to see a ballet back in elementary school. Somehow that was perfectly ok – and it wasn’t even a 50+ year old musical!

  7. After dealing with my hard core, IFBx mother in law this week I needed a good laugh. She is the poster child of the extreme fundy movement & is quit vexed we waved good bye to the fundy ways.

  8. What about a post about fundies and their Bible covers? Seems like they all have them. I remember getting my first back in the day…can’t beat it!

  9. @ Lisa (July 29, 2009) said, “Where does that put ballet with all those tight costumes and immodest display of leg? I asked a fundie once if ballet was considered sinful, and he had no answer to that.” Actually my parents taught us that ballet was sinful, and I even felt guilty when at age 33 I put my four year old in a ballet class.

  10. My ladies’ youth group teacher put it this way:
    Dancing to praise the Lord is okay as long as it’s a guy (like David.) God is NEVER praised when women dance.
    If you do dance, it can only be with your spouse.

    I tried not to think about rule 2 when I took ballroom dancing with my father.

  11. I actually got to dance while I was a student at BJU. First, in our teaching physical education classes, they actually taught us to do a Jewish dance (I think it was called the hora). Also, when I was student teaching I had to go out of town with my sixth graders to an overnight retreat where they had square dancing and polkas. I did not know about that part ahead of time, nor did I know that the teachers had to start the dancing, then each go and grab one student partner after another until everyone was dancing. I participated fully and joyfully, and my conscience has never bothered me at all.

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