Dear Dr. Bill,
My daughter wants to have a dance for her “Sweet Sixteen party.” But my husband and I aren't sure if a dancing is appropriate for Christians. And we wonder if some teens will act inappropriately. What do you think?
Christians have very different perspectives on dancing. Some believe that dancing is a sin, while others believe that the bible celebrates dancing (at least in the case of worship). I don’t know what your particular denomination teaches about dancing, so I’d suggest you discuss that aspect of the issue with your pastor.
My own perspective is that there is no biblical prohibition against dancing in and of itself. The problem is that in today’s teen culture, social dancing has become extremely provocative. Many high schools have even banned certain forms of dancing, such as “grinding.”
I’d suggest that you discuss the dancing aspects of the sweet sixteen party with your daughter. Tell her that if you agree to allow dancing, she will need to agree to specific ground rules about the type of music that the kids will listen to and the type of dancing they will engage in.
For example, make it clear that you won’t allow any songs with suggestive lyrics. Also, she’ll need to clearly communicate to each of the guests that sexually provocative forms of dancing will not be allowed.
One way to avoid any problems at the party and have fun at the same time would be to feature some type of musical “theme” such as a 1940’s swing dance or a country square dance. The kids could dress in the appropriate style and you could hire a professional dance instructor to teach them the dance steps.
Regardless of what you agree to do at the party, your daughter needs to understand that since you’re footing the bill, you have the final say on what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Thanks for writing Maggie. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, just click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.