Please can you tell me (so that I may pass onto my son who will not listen to me) if you think street dancing is biblical. I said it is of the world, but he needs a biblical answer before he listens. Also salsa dancing.


It is very easy to make rules without considering why those rules are in place. This is probably one of the greater failings of the Pharisees during Jesus' time. They were known as the more religious sect of Jews during their day. They had hundreds of rules laid out to make following the Old Testament easier, in their view. The problem is that the rules dominated and the people forgot that it is God's laws which define right and wrong, not the rules made by men.

"Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"

He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition"" (Mark 7:1-9).

People in the church are not immune from making similar mistakes. During my grandfather's day the general rule was that you didn't play cards and you didn't go to the movie house. But really what they were against was gambling and erotic shows. Granted that in that era, most people only played cards to gamble or only went to the movies to watch girlie shows, but in time the rules dominated and people forgot that there are other things to do with cards that don't involve gambling and there are some decent movies (though those are getting harder to find these days).

A one size, fits all rule rarely works. What should be taught instead is why some things become wrong. The problem is that involves more work and more knowledge. It certainly is easier just to say "Don't play cards" than to get into what is gambling, why it is wrong, and how some card games are gambling games.

The reason for mentioning all of this is that we do the same thing with many areas of our lives, including dancing. There are dances which are perfectly harmless, such as the victory dance some football players do after scoring. There are dances mentioned in the Bible which were acceptable, and there were dances which were not acceptable (see Dancing).

Not being familiar with all the types of dances, I looked up street dancing and found that it is a broad category of dance, related to folk dancing. Generally it appears to be done for entertainment, demonstrating athleticism. Sexual moves do not seem to be the focus, but I didn't explore all the various categories. The examples I saw were done individually or with groups of the same gender (almost always male). I was pleasantly surprised to find most were decently dressed, though there were the occasional shirtless male.

The examples of salsa dancing where almost always male with female. They kept a decent distance most of the time, only holding hands, but there were occasional brief hugs. There are different styles and most did not involve sexual moves, but there were some exceptions. What definitely was bad is the the women almost always were not decently dressed. I would not be comfortable approving of this style of dancing.

I would suggest sitting down with your son and coming up with a list of parameters regarding what is acceptable or inappropriate dancing. Come to an agreement on what should be worn by all participants, not just your son. Talk about what sort of moves are sexual and most not be done. If there are questions, ask him to show you some examples of what he plans to do. Basically, tell him if he is uncomfortable doing this dance while is mom is watching, then there must be something wrong with it and it needs to be discussed. If you need help with those discussions, I'll be happy to help in any way possible.

Thank you very much for your helpful reply. I appreciate your time.