I was both amazed and appalled by the level of controversy surrounding the dance devotional of Sept. 17. People wrote in that it was immoral. Professors walked out of the devotional and yelled at the ushers (as though the ushers had anything to do with it). How did all of this come about? What exactly did these people find offensive? Was it the blaring music played by the Ballet Company? Or perhaps the immoral circles traced in the air by the Modern Dancers? Maybe the costumes worn by the Folk Team were too revealing.
No, the center of the complaints was one number by the Ballroom Company. Let’s take a closer look at the “offensive material.” Costumes were one issue. Apparently, the carefully-designed costumes that completely covered the dancers were more offensive than the tight, midriff-revealing outfits worn by women on this campus every day. Music was another issue. I also was offended that a Madonna song with completely clean lyrics would be played, when at BYU dances they can only get away with “Genie in a Bottle.”
Movement was perhaps the real problem. I can see how spins and hip action, which take incredible concentration and control, not to mention time and effort to develop, would be more immoral in nature than the “freaking” that happens at on-campus dances or couples making out on the DT couches.
But all of this aside, there is one yardstick by which we can measure the true ludicrously of offense taken by some individuals. He is our own beloved President, and member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy, Merrill J. Bateman. Surprisingly enough, he did not walk out of the devotional. He did not write a letter or article condemning the ballroom company. In fact, he, in conjunction with other church leaders, sends this ballroom team all around the world as representatives of the University, the Church, and as
missionaries to the world. And in this capacity as representatives, the team has been remarkably successful. In addition to building BYU’s reputation as a quality center of art and higher education, team members and directors have been credited with bringing people to the gospel and to the Church, through dance.
I submit that the offenses pretended by some are merely manifestations of a prideful and self-righteous attitude. Perhaps these individuals, if they desire to attend devotionals sanctioned by a general authority, could check their hypocrisy at the door.