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Dances Banned in the Past

Updated on April 23, 2014

Tango in La Haya


Banned Dances

These are not the only banned dances that ever were or will be. There is a seemingly endless list of dances that were banned. Anything that really annoys different people in charge can be seriously banned.

Sometimes the dances may be banned for good reasons. For instance, they may decide they need some discipline at a high school when they are so young.

There were dances in the Middle Ages called knight dances. It was the usual dance step but some parents did not want their daughters involved in it. The knights were very close and would take their partners in a corner after a dance where things got very involved. It was not considered a good idea by some.

The Maypole
The Maypole | Source

Maypole dancing

public domain
public domain | Source

Maypole Dancing

There were and are celebrations in May in England and other European countries. It is said to be left over from the different pagan practices in those countries. Some think it was from past worship of the Goddess of spring.

There are several mentions of the practice of celebrating spring in many works of literature. The celebrations could get out of hand. The clergy in many cases wanted it to be stopped.

When the Puritans became the source of authority in England the May celebrations were put a stop to in public. Queen Elizabeth I was said to favor the dancing. Still it was not in favor to be done in public. Until the Puritans were out the dances could not be performed in public.

The Ghost Dance

Sioux Ghost Dance
Sioux Ghost Dance | Source

The Ghost Dance and More

The Ghost Dance was a dance of the Native Americans in the Plains region of the United States. It was brought about by a vision, a dream of one of the American Indian prophets named Wakova. In the dream all of the Indians that had ever died were brought back to life. After that they were able to live in peace in the United States and a new life there was brought about. White people would not be included but they were thought to have died in a disaster.

The idea of all of the Indians being brought back to life did not go over well with the general American public. They had just had the shock of the last stand of General Custer in his battle. It had been a massacre of all of the United States soldiers.

The ghost dance was put a stop to after the massacre of the Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee. It had been brought about by the general tension surrounding the area. One of the Indians shot his gun by mistake and the shooting began.

Other Native American Dances

Many other native dances were banned at the beginning of the nineteenth century. They were not understood. The natives refused to stop their dancing and kept it underground.

Hawaiian Hula Dancer

Hula Dancer
Hula Dancer | Source

Hula Dance History

The Hula at Sunset
The Hula at Sunset | Source

The Hula

The hula dance may be the most famous dance that was banned. The Christian missionaries took exception to the dancing. They were shocked and wanted it to be put a stop to. Clothing also had to change to conform to their ideas of good dress. The missionaries saw it as being a heathen practice.

The Hawaiian queen, Queen Ka'ahumanu had converted to Christianity and at that time she decided that the hula should not be performed in public places. It was not until much later that another king allowed it to be performed again. His name was King Kalakaua. He rescued it and revived the dance.

The hula is now famous in Hawaii. It is performed both in public and in private. It is important for the Hawaiian people to keep it going and to be proud of their culture. It is a beautiful dance and full of storytelling and their love of nature.

The missionaries saw the religion and dance there in Hawaii as being sinful. Even though it did not appeal to them, it was another way of worship for the people there. They had no thought of the Hawaiians having another way to worship God.

Laka is the Hawaiian goddess of the hula. She is the sister of Pele, the volcano goddess. She is a forest goddess. The dancers had to be very clean in order to do the dances. They would change their clothes for it and make offerings.

Belly Dancer

public domain
public domain | Source
Belly Dancer
Belly Dancer | Source

Belly Dancing

Belly dancing is still allowed to be done in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Many people think it is a great part of their culture. But to the people that are in charge and practicing strict Islam it is not allowed to be done in public.

In various places it can still be done in private. It depends on the country for the laws regarding it. In the worst aspect of it, Iraqi belly dancers have been killed recently for being known to have done the dance in public. Needless to say, that kind of thing happening can make women decide not to do the dancing.

The Tango


The Waltz


Other Famous Banned Dances

The dances can seem to the people to be part of a bad public trend.

The Tango

The tango began in 1912 and was banned soon after that by the Roman Catholics. It is said to be a dance of life. There is also not supposed to be any last tango. It was banned by both the Catholic and Protestant churches. That went on until later they were invited to see the Pope.

The Evangelist Bob Jones said of New York that, "New Yorkers are tangoing themselves on the brink of hell and the only difference is that Manhattan is surrounded by water."

The Charleston

This dance was famous then in the 1920's for being banned. It became a symbol of a carefree new lifestyle for the women flappers. Those that were not in favor of it saw it as being danced in too short dresses and in an abandoned and in an unbecoming manner for women.

The Waltz

The waltz also came under fire at first. It was danced in a close manner. It was shunned and forbidden as a dance in the 1830's. Later in the mid 19th century ladies in the United States were told not to dance it in etiquette books.

Marathon Dances

These dances were held in the past in the United States at the time of the Depression. They were banned in some towns. They were contests where people won if they could dance longer than the other contestants. The towns that banned them thought them to be too disruptive and to attract a bad sort of crowd to the area.



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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Interesting and nicely done hub. I enjoy many of these dances but cannot say I can do any of them. Sure wish I could!

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