In the movie Footloose, Kevin Bacon remarked "dancing is not a crime." The film tells the tale of a Chicago teenager who moves to a small town where dancing and rock n roll have been banned and the locals race tractors for kicks. The seemingly corny concept for a movie was actually loosely based on a Elmore City, Oklahoma ordinance that banned public dancing within its borders. In 1980, the graduating highschool class had enough of obeying every rule. The students were successful in lifting the 90 year ban allowing them to dance at the prom. It was actually a tough fight. The Reverand FR Johnson was quoted as saying "If you have a dance somebody will crash it and they'll be looking for only two things—women and booze. When boys and girls hold each other, they get sexually aroused. You can believe what you want, but one thing leads to another." His opinion was shared by many townspeople including one who maintained that there would be an increase in pregnancies "because when boys and girls breathe in each other's ears, that's the next step." The dancing kids won and the ordinance was lifted. So why are there still some Americans who have not heeded the wise words of Kenny Loggins, perhaps our nation's greatest statesman. Please Louise. Pull me off of my knees.
In Des Moines Iowa it is a crime to dance. At least after certain hours. A quirky 1942 city ordinance makes public dancing after 2 am a crime. No tango or cha cha. No chicken dance or funky chicken. Don't even think about doing the macarena or the robot.
That is until 6 am . At 6 am you can dance. The Des Moines Social Club attempted to hold an after hours dance party. Unfortunately, such sinful behavior was deemed illegal. Where's Kevin Bacon when you need him? (Editors note: pictured left Michael Bacon, Dan Akyroyd, Kevin Bacon, Yours Truly and Pace Law Students. Isn't it shameless how I work this pictures in. The Bacon Brothers and Dan Akroyd are the nicest people you can ever meet.) The ordinance calls for dancing venues to pay $200 for an annual license or $75 for a one time event. It was originally created to coincide with last call. Now, the tide may be turning. The next city council meeting might overturn the ban. Let's hope it goes well. At least for Des Moines sake. And oh, Milo too.