Wisconsin High School Bans Suggestive Dancing

Filed under: Opinions


If you grew up in the '80s, movies like Footloose and Dirty Dancing were both an indelible part of your coming of age memories and the soundtrack of your life. Who can forget what fun it was to watch Johnny teach Baby all the sexy dance moves she was missing out on before her family arrived at the Catskills resort?

Which is why I had to chuckle when I came across a story about a Wisconsin high school banning "dirty dancing" and the predictable student protests that inevitably ensued. "It's our way of culture now. It's how we dance," complained one sophomore.

In the classic high school musical, Grease, dirty dancers were eliminated from the American Bandstand contest with disapproving glares and angry taps on the shoulder from the adult chaperons who also served as judges for the televised dance competition at Rydell High. I always wondered how the flamboyant, middle-aged looking Cha Cha seemed to skirt elimination at every turn.

Today, Cha Cha would have been caught, along with those pesky mooners, as school officials at Menomonee Falls High School have installed multiple security cams in the gymnasium to help identify dirty dancers.

Parents and teachers complain that today's high school dance moves resemble sexual foreplay or simulated sex. "Grinding" and "freak" dancing (a move where one partner backs his/her backside into the other partners crotch) are the norm. Students say that security cams and busybody chaperons are infringing on their constitutional rights. Meanwhile, school districts struggle to walk the fine line between mollifying parental demands for standards of conduct and decency at school-sponsored events and inviting an ACLU lawsuit from potentially litigious grinders and their parents. The debate bitterly divided a small town in Texas and the made-for-movie controversy landed on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

So, what's a parent to do? No one wants to be the killjoy Puritan preacher-dad of Footloose, and yet, I had to admit that after watching the school dance footage from the Milwaukee news channel that covered the Menomonee High controversy, I wished that my 10-year-old would never leave the fourth grade. I also felt a lot more sympathy for my own mother who, much to my embarrassment, was known to peek into windows of my high school dances to make sure everything was kosher.

If you troll the comments sections of news stories about high school dirty dancing bans, opinions range from, "Aw, come on, you forgot what it was like to be young," to students who say they actually want the school to enforce standards because the explicit dancing made them uncomfortable. One parent suggested the following:

"If you want the kids to stop this, all you have to do is have a dozen or so adults and faculty join them on the dance floor doing the same type of 'grinding' they are doing. The kids will be horrified. 'Grinding' would go out of style faster than the 'Macarena.'"

Sage words, indeed! The only thing more certain than teenagers pushing the envelope, is their universal disgust at the realization that the adults they think they are "shocking" were once hormonal teenagers themselves. A prank like that could make chaperoning your teen's next school dance a lot more interesting.

Related: Dance Yourself Slim, Should You Shield Your Child from Pop Culture?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.