Newest high school dance no-no: Freak dancing
By Michelle Woo
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 20, 2005
While on the lookout for those trying to spike the punch bowl or sneak past the ticket-taker, chaperones across the Valley are watching for another high school dance no-no – freak dancing.
At a recent dance at McClintock High School in Tempe, teachers and administrators paced the gymnasium, reminding students to “face each other.” The deejay stopped the music to make a warning announcement.
“I went home and said, ‘Dad, kids at school are having sex on the dance floor,’” said 16-year-old Curtis G.
Sometimes known as “booty dancing,” the “grind” or the “nasty,” freak dancing is defined by UrbanDictionary.com as “when a female places her buttocks onto the zipper area of a man’s pants, and then vibrates vigorously.” The popular dance style has been around for years, but many schools have started taking more active approaches to keeping it off campus.
Marty Hoeffel, principal at Alhambra High School in Phoenix, said school dance floors have become “progressively more graphic,” with students mirroring the hip-gyrating moves they see on MTV. After receiving a number of complaints, the student government decided to launch a campaign called “Got Respect?” to let teens know what type of dance conduct is expected.
Students formed a dirty dancing committee, creating posters, making campus TV announcements, and working with school administrators on setting up rules and consequences.
“It’s degrading and needs to come to a stop,” said committee chair Angelica Lopez. “Younger students are uncomfortable.”
Lopez said students might soon be handed a no-freak-dancing contract, to read and sign before entering school dances.
High schools in the Dysart Unified School District often host formal or semi-formal dances, a tactic used to keep dancing tasteful. District spokesman Tim Tait said it works. Administrators haven’t witnessed any recent problems and ticket sales have increased.
“If students dress as adults, they’ll behave as adults,” Tait said.
But Nicole Haeussler, 15, a student at Centennial High School in Peoria, said freak dancing shouldn’t be viewed as something offensive, but rather as a form of expression. It’s how people dance to hip-hop and R&B, she said. Adults just don’t understand.
When Haeussler attended a Valley prom this month, she said most of the songs played were “songs you can only freak to.” She said the dance style is fun because it allows teens to dance in large groups.
“You can’t dance formally to 50 Cent’s Candy Shop,” Haeussler said. “If you’re going to pay $100 for prom, you should be able to dance however you want.”
Haeussler said that if freak dancing were banned at school, students would just take their bumping and grinding elsewhere.
Many high school seniors flock to chaperone-free hangouts like The Buzz in Scottsdale, a nightclub that markets itself to an under-21-year-old crowd. On a giant dance floor illuminated by laser lights, guys and girls swivel and sweat to the fast thumping beat.
Marc Boileau, co-owner of The Buzz, said door hosts occasionally tell couples who are simulating sexual acts on the dance floor to cut it out, but that doesn’t happen very often. Unless it gets out of hand, Boileau said, he believes older teens should be able to make their own decisions on how they will dance.
“If you watch music videos, that’s what goes on now,” Boileau said. “But if I had a teenage girl, I wouldn’t like her to do that.”