BYU Dances Keeping it Clean

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    By Rosalie Westenskow

    Students packed the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom late last Friday night, Jan.13 2006, at the university first dance of the semester, “Back in Style,” sponsored by BYUSA. The deep bass of hip-hop music boomed as students bounced and swayed to the beat.

    The atmosphere of good, clean fun at BYU-sponsored dances usually attracts a large crowd, but some students who attend dances find honor code enforcement too rigorous.

    “I don”t come [very often] because I feel more chaperoned than I was in high school,” said junior Rob Hansen, a psychology major.

    During on-campus dances, members of the BYU Event Staff roam the dance floor carrying large glow sticks, looking for honor code violations.

    Hansen, who attended the dance on Friday night, said he thinks more students would attend the dances if the practice was discontinued.

    “I understand the honor code,” he said. “I”m not going to [dance inappropriately] or anything.”

    However, the honor code enforcers play an important role at university dances, said BYUSA”s Director of Presidential Initiatives, Maria Viramontese, a senior majoring in biology.

    “Event Staff are here to keep us safe and help keep the fun, clean atmosphere,” she said.

    Although BYUSA does not sponsor every dance held on campus, the majority of the largely attended dances, especially those held in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom, are sponsored by the university”s student association, said Chris Giovarelli, director of public relations for BYUSA.

    Many students at the event said they enjoy campus dances and consider the honor code enforcement to be a benefit.

    Suelen Hill, a senior majoring in fitness and wellness, said the most attractive thing about BYU-sponsored dances are the standards of those who attend.

    “It”s just a good place to dance and there are no bad things around,” she said.

    Still others said the honor code enforcement at dances could be improved, especially when it comes to music.

    The problem isn”t the type of music played or the sound system the university uses, said Basil Williams, a junior studying actuarial science.

    “I think they have an appropriate balance between treble and bass,” he said. “The bass is what drives the dancer.”

    However, Williams said he doesn”t always feel as comfortable listening to the music”s words as he does moving to its beat.

    “I think the one complaint I have about the dances is that sometimes the music played, although it”s really fun to dance to, the lyrics may not be appropriate,” Williams said.

    Whether the university would be able to play more appropriate music while still finding selections that are fun to dance to, is a difficult question and poses a problem Williams said he did not know how to solve.

    “I hate to be a griping citizen with no solutions,” he said.

    Whether they agree with the lyrics and the glow sticks or not, many students said they think the overall atmosphere at BYU-sponsored dances is fun and choose to attend on-campus dances over similar events at off-campus dance clubs.

    For Williams, the main appeal stems from the pure joy of showing off some cool moves on the slick ballroom floor.

    “Mostly, I like to get down something mega-funky,” he said.

    (For comments, e-mail Rosalie Westenskow at rosaliec@byu.net)

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