In case you missed it, an Annapolis, MD high school now requires students to sign a contract promising to abstain from “sexually explicit” dancing before attending school-sponsored dances. Everyone’s talking about the school that banned twerking, but is this really that shocking? This isn’t the first moral panic-induced dance craze directed towards teens (and it certainly won’t be the last). In fact, it’s just the latest in a long lineage of teenagers accidentally or on-purpose pissing off their parents in the name of dancing.
Oh yes, there were scandalous dances in the 1500s. The volta was popularized in the mid-16th century, and caused a bit of ruckus because it required men and women to dance very close together. In order to achieve the leaps and turns required for the dance, men had to grip women by their waists and lift them up with their thighs. While women kept one hand free to “protect their modesty,” it was still deemed indecent and lewd in some circles.