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Down with the dances

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By Kevin Denke

We call our teenagers lazy. We call them uninspired. We call them unmotivated.
    And then they sneeze in our Taco Bell order when we are not looking.


    But, when teenagers are backed into a corner, they will lash out like a moody, angst-ridden cat whose boyfriend just broke up with them.
    I give you a group of Vermontanese teenagers who stuck up for something they believe in.
    Grinding.
    According to the Burlington Free Press newspaper, South Burlington High School, in South Burlington, Vt., was forced to cancel its annual Winter Ball dance because of poor ticket sales. Students lost interest in the dance when the school principal banned grinding during the dance. 
    For those of you unfamiliar with the art of grinding, this is when two dance participants rub their bodies against each other, normally facing the same direction. To paint you a picture, which I’m not allowed to paint because of obscenity laws, the scene that unfolds is not unlike what you may witness in a Wal-Mart on Black Friday except with teenagers, louder music, flashing strobe lights and a lot less television boxes.
    The ban on grinding set off a predictable but still cataclysmic teenager reaction that is still sending ripples through the normally placid waters of rich, authentic Maple Syrup.
    The students, who originally intended to attend the dance, chose not to – opting to stay home and grind with their dance partners behind closed doors minus the scrutiny of parents or teacher-chaperones. The unfortunate students, with no chances of being grinded on in the first place who intended to attend the dance and watch classmates grind safely from the security of the gym bleachers, found no reason to go to the dance, knowing they could find the same, if not better on the Internet.
    With everybody’s plans to cut footloose dashed, the much-anticipated dance melted into oblivion.
    “This is our way of dancing, even if they find it vulgar,” Senior Class President Kyle Chu said.
    Another student was more diplomatic about the situation.
    “It’s OK if you do it in an appropriate way,” said South Burlington High School senior Brittany Bullis, “There’s grinding, and there’s doing something more on the floor. If you’re just dancing you can obviously tell when it’s appropriate.”
    School leaders were obviously concerned about the obscene nature of the dancing and the possible sexual innuendos. Not to mention the gym floor stains from those kids trying to drink punch and grind at the same time.
    Of course, it all underscores the bigger question. Why, on earth, are we still having school dances? In middle school, they were horribly socially awkward events where the boys gathered on one side of the room and the girls gathered on the other. In high school, the mere effort to find a date to the dance was a lesson in humiliation and rejection that I’m still trying to recover from. And let’s not forget a horrible corsage mis-pinning that left me in the emergency room.
    The specter of the school dance – grinding, no grinding – is a prosaic farce of social interaction well past its expiration date.
    Give me the first annual MacArthur Middle School speed dating night and save the grinding for somewhere else.