By Hannah Schultz, News Editor
This year marks the first time that each class has been allowed to hold an administration-sanctioned dance during their entire time at Asbury. With Junior/Senior, the Unshakable and Ransomed classes will celebrate four years of Asbury-approved dancing.
Prior to four years ago, social dancing was not considered consistent with Asbury’s values. “Generally, the holiness tradition has taken a conservative stance on issues like movies, alcohol or social dancing,” said Dr. Sarah Baldwin, the vice president of Student Development. “These have been considered unholy behaviors that would not encourage a holy relationship with God.”
Although, there were a few loopholes, notes Associate Dean for Student Leadership Development Paul Stephens. “When I started at Asbury in 2004, there was allowance within the lifestyle standards for dancing at off-campus celebratory occasions such as weddings.” Dancing on campus, however, was completely prohibited until about four years ago.
It was then that Asbury made the decision to expand its allowances for organized social dancing on campus. Notably, celebration has played a large role in determining whether to loosen lifestyle standards. “As culture changed, we have recognized that dancing can be helpful in creating a godly, holy community because it encourages celebration,” said Baldwin. Since then, students have enjoyed dances such as Freshman Formal, Junior/Senior and a Barn Hoe-Down.
Baldwin lists numerous benefits of allowing dancing as a social event on campus, including joyfully expressing fun and friendship, as well as creating memories, rituals and traditions that help identify what a community is.
Stephens believes that adding dances to Asbury’s community events has been a positive experience. “I think anytime we can create opportunities for our students to celebrate together and enjoy the community, it’s a great thing,” he said. “Each time I’ve had the chance to chaperone a dance in which an off-campus DJ was hired, they have made comments about how impressed they are with our students and the fun they have together.”