We grew up not dancing. I was Conference Baptist, and my husband was Assemblies of God.
The problem with dancing for Evangelical Protestants is that most dancing is done in places and at events where alcohol is served, and many Evangelical Protestants didn’t (and still don’t) go there.
Also, much of the “modern” dancing meant rock music, which was also something that was frowned upon. The first “contemporary Christian musicians” (e.g., Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman, etc.) had a dreadful time gaining acceptance, and local contemporary Christian musicians were often escorted OUT of churches that they tried to enter. I was there. I remember those times. They were awful.
In case you’re wondering, all the wedding receptions I ever attending in our Conference Baptist church, including mine, were alcohol-free. Even the wealthy people in our church held their children’s wedding receptions in the church fellowship hall. The wealthier people had more and fancier food than regular folks, but there was no alcohol. And of course, no DJ or band, and no dancing.
And these receptions were delightful. I think it’s tough on families to have to put out thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for a reception with food, bar, and music/dancing. We had great fellowship with all our guests, and the reception only lasted about an hour–back then, weddings weren’t an all-day thing for invited guests like they are today. I actually hate going to weddings now because I know that I’ve killed an entire day just standing around in dress clothing. Ick.
However, some Evangelical Protestants did learn how to dance. And ballet was always allowed, so a lot of families got their little girls (and sometimes little boys) involved in lessons.
My husband and I never learned to dance, and it is a social skill that we regret not learning. A few years ago, we enrolled in Arthur Murray and tried to learn some basic ballroom dancing, but I had a terrible time. I just couldn’t get it. The instructor would show us how to do a maneuver, and I could not imitate it. I just couldn’t translate what he or she was doing into my body!
Even the simplest steps were beyond my capability, and it was frustrating for me and my more-graceful husband. Some of the problem had to do with my osteoarthritis in the knee–just doing those simple steps truly HURT me, and I was terrified that I would twist something or fall and sustain a more serious injury. But some of the problem was because I simply don’t have a “dance sense.” I play piano for dancers, but I can’t do what they do. I think that “dance sense” is something that is developed as children grow up, and since no one in my family danced, I didn’t develop that sense.
It’s like “card sense.” Neither my husband and I are capable of learning any card games–we’ve tried! But we don’t “get it.” And yes, you’ve guessed it–we grew up not playing “sinful” cards!
So I gave dancing up. I was very disappointed, because I was hoping to at least learn enough to do a real “dance” at a wedding reception (which is the only place we ever have an opportunity to do a waltz, since all the nightclubs do nowadays is rock music). But it is not meant to be in my case.
My husband has continued to learn ballroom dancing with his ice dancing partner. They take classes off ice. He is much more coordinated than I am, and better at picking up the dance steps.
And both of my daughters can dance. My younger daughter is not very good at it and her husband doesn’t dance at all and has no interest in dancing. But my older daughter is very good at it after many years of ballet training. She can learn ANY dance, and enjoys going out dancing with friends.
So the cycle stopped with our daughters! :)
And interestingly, the lead adult character in my skating novels is an expert ballroom dancer. I think it’s wishful thinking on my part, I know. He’s also the best shot in his organization! Sooooo cool!