Dancing the tango (and others) immoral?

I had just read that Pope Pius X declared dancing the tango to be immoral and required Catholics to mention it in confession and do penance for it. It subsequently said that the dance eventually grew too popular to outlaw and I guess the Pope began to allow it. Can someone please explain this further to me? Pope Francis said he used to dance the tango with his girlfriend, and I don’t see how a dance can be considered immoral. I can see how the lust that could possibly be caused by the dance would be sinful, but that depends on the person. Was the Pope stating that dancing the toga was intrinsically immoral, or was it more of a binding and loosing thing where the Pope banned it but then allowed it (being that it’s NOT intrinsically evil).
The link above also states how dances such as the waltz were condemned by papal bulls. Are these things actually true? I don’t see how certain movements of the body can be considered intrinsically immoral, but, once again, I can see it being sinful if it is used for lustful purposes. I’m not really a dancer so this doesn’t affect me that much, but this seems to go against Christian freedom. So my main question is: did the Pope consider these dances intrinsically immoral, or did he just bind it on the faithful?

The boundaries seem to be pushed all the time. Sizzling and sexy are most often words heard on TV dance competitions. The age limit is also being moved down if anyone has seen the wildly popular 12 year old Maddie Zeigler with a leering Shia LaBeouf in a cage:
Provocative sexuality sells, that is just a fact. The near 300 MILLION views, most of them approving, testify to the abysmal level of popular taste.

I dont think it’s the dances (or music, or clothes, whatever) that are intrinsically sinful; it’s the context in which they take place. By the standards of today (or by the standards of several centuries ago) the tango is relatively tame but still when danced with great passion is still very exciting and intimate. In the time of Pius X, the first years of the 20th century, consider that for a woman to show her ankle in mixed company was pretty scandalous. Fast forward to today and even clothes, dances, music of the 1960s are comparatively tame. Rewind the clock a bit and it was not remotely a scandal for Queen Anne of Great Britain to show her breasts (though I don’t believe she made a habit of it), and yet (as in the 19th century) ankles were a no-go area.

I don’t think (I certainly hope not) that Pius X was condemning the tango for all time; his statement is a reflection of the sensibilities of his age.

Given that Pope Francis held a “tango mass” in St Peter’s Sq for his birthday last December, I think we can assume it’s safe once again to tango as far as the states of our souls are concerned.

So we’re talking about a real life FootLoose. Dancing is fine as long as it doesn’t involve a bunch of men throwing money at an attractive woman as she tires to go the wrong way up a firemans pole. Or the grave’s of your enemy’s.

The concept of immorality varies from person to person. Concerning ballroom dancing in general, and the tango in particular, I can speak only for myself. I don’t dance, but if I were to try to dance a tango, I would be so concerned with getting the steps and moves right that I would have no spare computational capability in my brain for thinking sexy thoughts.

That’s doing; what about watching? Again, I can speak only for myself – I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars. Too many half-nekkid wimmins :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you’re probably right. I don’t see how a dance, unless it is used for sinful purposes, can be evil. My guess is that he banned it for the Church (and later lifted the ban) by using his power to bind and loose, rather than declaring it intrinsically evil. And as you said, the fact that Pope Francis had a tango mass seems to make it pretty clear. The only people I saw really criticizing him were the sedevacantists.

I also found that it was Pope Leo XII, an extremely conservative pope, who banned the waltz, but he only did this for Rome as a temporal ruler, and it was not binding on all the faithful. One of the things I’ve always loved about Catholicism is how they recognize that sins, rather than things, are evil. For example: alcohol isn’t bad, but getting drunk is; sex isn’t bad (in fact it’s good and sacred), but lust is; art works that contain nudity aren’t bad, but when used for lustful purposes (such as porn), it is bad. I always thought the same logic would extend to everything so I want to make clear of this.

I have read and heard that the tango has its origins in the houses of prostitution in Buenos Aires. I think during that time it was used similar to “exotic dancing” of today.

You can see why it was banned.

As it moved out into the mainstream, it became more tame.

Thanks for that info, that makes more sense. One thing that came to mind was twerking: a dance like this has a lot of potential for a near occasion of sin when done around men, but you can’t say that it’s intrinsically evil, because then you would be saying it would be evil to do if you were just doing it by yourself or around friends as a joke.

There are varying levels of strictness. I don’t see anything wrong with a woman in a long dress slit up one leg dancing with a guy in a tuxedo with a rose in his teeth. These outfits, in my opinion, are appropriate, and dancing far apart, with their hands held at arms length doesn’t seem anything vulgar to me. It’s when the women twist themselves, and move in ways that are obviously distastefully and extremely vulgar-looking that is wrong and immoral.

Come to think of it, there’s a tango in our upcoming Huntsville (AL) Brass Band concert – “La Cumparsita.” Anyone wanna come and dance? :smiley:

I think our parish had a Tango club not long ago.

As long as it’s not the Lambada. The forbidden dance! :smiley:

I like to dance and I surely hope that never runs afoul of the wrong people. The waltz is so conservative I find it hard to believe it was actually banned at one time. I also enjoy foxtrot, cha cha, swing, salsa and bachata. Love to watch good tango dancers but I still have two left feet with that one. Anyway, I strongly recommend group lessons in partner dancing for the socially awkward and shy among us, especially singles as it’s a good way to socialize with the opposite sex without the pressure of dating. The men get taught leadership and frame, and how to assert them; the women are taught styling and responding to a man’s leadership. The two are complementary and when they work well, it looks great.

To the poster above who thought he’d be all about the steps, wait until you get good at some dance or other, you won’t be thinking about your steps then, you’ll be able to pay attention to your partner and have a good time while you’re on the floor with her.

Idk about the history you referenced, but immediately thought of this:
According to Mark 6:21-29 a daughter of Herodias danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of his birthday, and in doing so gave her mother the opportunity to obtain the head of John the Baptist.

Dance is powerful. It is something all cultures and religions have participated in. Like all of Gods creation (God created dance) mankind can use dance for good or bad. I seriously dought the intentions of our beloved Pope danicing the tango were bad.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.