The Modern Dance

Kenneth R. Joines

Claremore, Okla.We are now living in an era wherein almost any form of recreation is available to our boys and girls. Some of these pastimes are educational and some are not. Some are physically beneficial, and others are not. Then there are those that fall in both of these categories that still are not conducive to Christian living.

Dancing seems to be about the most popular form of recreation for almost all social and civic clubs. In fact, most of such clubs and organizations can hardly have a meeting but that dancing is the final epitome. Too, dancing is being infiltrated into our public schools and many children and uninformed parents are made to believe that all have to participate. Since dancing indubitably has such a hold on the thinking of most people, what shall we do? What should be our attitude toward it? Let us consider a few facts about the modern dance and hope that it will contribute to our formation of a scriptural opinion of the same.

First, let us be reminded of the fact that reliable psychologists tell us that atmosphere or environment has considerable bearing upon the kind of a personality we form. The room in which the dance usually takes place is almost void of light. Indeed, many times not even enough by which to recognize many in attendance. This gives the participants a sense of being alone and unseen. The music which characterizes such gatherings is of such nature as to stir the baser emotions of men and women. What an opportunity for the devil to, do his work!

The bodily position taken by dancing partners is also worthy of note. The man holds the lady (?) closely while she relaxes and there in that dimly lit room they move to the rhythm of this "tavern-tempo" music. In an article in the Ladies' Home Jourrial magazine I am told that this statement is made: "Many couples performing these dances should have a marriage license before stepping on the floor!" Can any doubt that this is an awful truth?

The nature of the modern dance is of such make-up as to cause rational people to know that it is one of the works of the flesh named in Gal. 5:19-21. "Lasciviousness" is defined in Webster's dictionary as: "Tending to produce lewd emotions!" Now, if the modern dance can possibly be anything but lascivious in nature, then pray tell me what is it! I'll tell you, if a man held another's wife as closely anywhere but on the dance floor, he would get such a load of buckshot as to cause him to die of lead poisoning!!!

All the drinking, lewdness, broken homes, murders, divorces, etc., that go with the modern dance is enough to convince most anyone who wants to live right that it is sinful!

Just why are there so many divorce cases growing out of the modern dance? I'll tell you exactly why. It is because any honorable man isn't going to stand for "Tom, Dick, and Harry" to hold his wife close to him and paw around over her body with his filthy fingers? That's why it is! What kind of a man (?) is it who would say, "I don't mind another man holding my wife's body close to his and swinging and swaying to this heathenish music?" Just what kind is he?

Any man who says he can hold a woman closely, cheek to cheek, and dance and still not have impure thoughts is either a liar or a dead man! You who dance will not dare attempt to deny this fact. So why not stop it? NOW!

Young ladies, and young men; listen: If you want the love of another person, the kind of love that will grow and grow and be able to steady the tottery steps to the tomb, the kind of love that is still alive when the beauty spots in the face become transformed into wrinkles, then God help you to shun the modern dance!

It has been my observation that the holier a thing is the more wicked it becomes when abused. Our God has given us desires, drives and appetites and has sanctified these for good. God knew that humans wouldn't take on a sufficient supply of food unless we had a desire to do so. So he gave us an appetite for foods. God knew that man wouldn't "replenish the earth" with children unless he had a sexual appetite. So he inserted that in each normal person. I can think of nothing more sacred than the sexual drives in men and women. AND I CAN THINK OF NOTHING MORE WICKED, M0RE SICKENING THAN THAT PERSON WHO ABUSES THIS SEXUAL DRIVE! It is not to be tampered with. It is sacred. God gave it a purpose. And its purpose is NOT primarily for self-satisfaction. The Hebrew writer says: "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but the whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4). Let us use our urges, drives and appetites for God's purpose.

I could go on and on and prove many tragic facts concerning the dance, and yet there would be many church members who would still want to dance: and THEY'D DO IT, TOO! Then there are some Christian mothers who give instruction to their young daughter. Will a mother who is a genuine CHRISTIAN instruct her daughter in that which leads her to these dens of iniquity? However, some make a defense for the solo dancing by pleading that since no partner is necessary to hold tightly in one's arms that it is not sinful. Then let us concede for the sake of argument that a girl does a tap-dance and is wholly innocent as far as her own thoughts are concerned. The Lord said that it is adultery for a man to look upon a woman to lust after her, did he not? When a young lady is clad only in one of those "gownless evening straps" or such like and sways and gyrates before an audience in such suggestive movements she becomes the target of fleshly lusts of men who watch. Why, when Herodias' daughter danced before that audience she moved them to such a pitch of f renzy that Herod, a rich king, promised her something that any king in his right mind wouldn't think of promising -- one-half of his kingdom! No person can remain guiltless, who through his or her conduct influences others to do wrong. "But," a young lass pleaded to me last week, "you can't control the thoughts of others." I am fully cognizant of this. No one can completely control the thoughts of anyone else. There are going to be some men who will think adulterously even if all the women wear drapes suspended from a large hoop about the shoulders. BUT, it is absolutely unnecessary for any woman or girl to do these dances. So, when you do them or teach others to do them, you are unnecessarily causing others to commit sin.

The Bible condemns dancing in no uncertain terms. "Flee youthful lusts . . ." says Paul to Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:22). "Flee fornication . . ." (I Cor. 6:18). Paul cites lasciviousness as a work which will keep us out of heaven. Thus dancing is condemned whether it be solo or in partnership. No one can follow the Lord and dance. Christian living and the modern dance are so far removed from each other as to make it impossible to do both at the same time. We just might sum up this whole matter by saying, "A praying knee and a dancing foot JUST DON'T GROW ON THE SAME LEG!"

Truth Magazine I:10, pp. 10-11, 23
July 1957