The grainy high school dance video is striking.

A teenage boy dances behind his winter-formal date, hands on her hips,
thrusting his pelvis against her while she hitches up her satiny gown
and bends at the waist. Another couple dance facing each other, their
bodies enmeshed and their hips gyrating in a frenzy. A boy approaches
a third couple, nearly sandwiching the girl between him and her
partner.
Teenagers call it “freaking,” a style of dance made popular on MTV.
Educators call it simulated sex and say it has no place at school
dances.

I’m not usually one to come down on styles of dance. I love dancing. I’ve been dancing since I was 3 years old. I’ve done everything from ballet to tap to jazz to hip hop to swing. I love it. Any time I hear music, it’s like I can’t help but move my feet. (Which can get pretty embarassing when you’re dancing in the ice cream asile by yourself at Marsh.) But I digress.

“Freaking”, as it is called, is not dance. Dance is about expressing yourself and the only thing being expressed by this type of dance is “I’m horny and I want to get it on.” Even it’s alternate names, “grinding” and “the nasty”, tell you all you need to know about this way of “dancing”. I witnessed this type of dancing when I was in a club with my friends about a month ago. These two girls were freak dancing with these guys. Being quite possibly the only sober one there (I was the designated driver for the evening), I got to witness first hand just how silly it looks. If you aren’t in the moment, sex looks pretty darn silly and if you aren’t drunk, freaking does too.

“Some students say a crackdown on freaking would discourage them from attending school dances.
“I wouldn’t go,” said Chelsea Walsh, 15, a sophomore at Aliso Niguel High. “It would be boring. How else do you dance?””

I personally would like to see ballroom taught in public and private schools today. There is something very civilizing and dignifying about ballroom dance. It takes effort and skill that freaking doesn’t require. It requires you to know and be comfortable with your own body. It teaches boys to lead and gives women the chance to choose to respond to them. And if it’s done well, it can be incredibly sexy. Much more so, I think, than a horny guy thrusting into some girls’ butt.

I don’t know if it would be possible to put ballroom dance into schools required curriculum but I do know that my kids will be required to take it somewhere. Bumpin’ and grindin’ isn’t dancing. Some horny guy moving against me isn’t dancing. Next time I go to a club, I’m wearing a sign that says “Do not hump. Real dancing only.”

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