Wednesday, August 12, 2015
anti dance stance
"Effeminate, lascivious, amorous dancing, (especially with beautiful women, or boys most exquisitely adorned in an infecting womanish dress on the open stage, where are swarms of lustful spectators, whose unchaste unruly lusts are apt to be enflamed with every wanton gesture, smile, or pace, much more with amorous dances) is utterly unlawful unto Christians, to chaste and sober persons; as sundry Councils, Fathers, modern Christians, with ancient Pagan authors and nations, have resolved.
"Amorous, mixed, effeminate, lascivious, lust-exciting dancing, be it of men, or women, on the stage or elsewhere [is] a dangerous incendiary of lust; an ordinary occasion of, a preparative to much whoredom, adultery, wantonness, and such effeminate lewdness: a diabolical, at least a Pagan practice, misbeseeming all chaste, all sober Christians, especially in their Christian festivals and solemnities; I would our English nation would now at last consider: who for their part spend the Christmas season, with other solemn festivals, in amorous, mixed, voluptuous, unchristian, that I say not, Pagan dancing, to God's to Christ's dishonor, religion's scandal, chastity's shipwreck, sin's advantage, and the eternal ruin of many precious souls.
"I would the dancing, wanton (that I say not whorish) Herodiasses, the effeminate, sinqua-pace, Caranto-frisking gallants of our age, together with our rustic, hobbling satyrs, nymphs, and dancing fairies, who spend their strength, their time (especially, the Easter, Whitsun, Midsummer, and Christmas season) in such lewd, lascivious dancing, would not only abandon all such dancing themselves, but likewise withdraw their children, especially their daughters, from the dancing-school.
"Witness their [the Pagans] dancing priests, who on the solemn festival days of Cybele, Bacchus, Mars, and other pagan deities, danced about the streets and market place with cymbals in their hands, in nature of our Morris-dances (which were derived from them) the whole multitude accompanying these their dancing Morrises, with which they honored these their dancing-idols. Yea, witness the common practice of most idolatrous pagans, who never honored, saluted, or offered any public sacrifices to their idols but with music, songs, and dances; dancing about their temples and altars, to their honor; from which practice our dancing at Wakes (a name, an abuse, derived from the ancient vigils) or church-ales have been originally derived.
Dancing, write they [a host of classical and Christian authorities], yea even in Queens themselves, and the very greatest persons, who are commonly most devoted to it, hath been always scandalous and or ill report, among the Saints of God; as the Councils, Fathers, and authors plentifully evidence, who have condemned dancing as a pomp, a vanity of this wicked world; an invention, yea a work of Satan which Christians have renounced in their Baptism, a recreation more fit for pagans, whores, and drunkards, then for Christians."
- William Prynne, from Histrio-Mastix, 1632