Church prom spreads good news amidst bad

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Controversy over "freak dancing" brought unique media attention to an "LDS Prom" in northern California recently. Such proms sponsored by the Church are increasing as an alternative to school dances where standards can be questionable.

But when a ban on the morally questionable style of "freak dancing" by Foothill High School in Pleasanton, Calif., brought national attention, the dance for youth from the Antioch, Concord, Danville and Walnut Creek stakes on Saturday, March 11, followed with some broad coverage of its own. An article written by Linda Davis in advance of the dance went out over the nationwide Knight Ridder news service with the lead: "The dresses will be at least below the knee. The boys will use proper etiquette. The music will have no swear words or sexual innuendo, and the dancing will strictly be vertical."

The dance's principle organizer, Leeanne Cadwallader, said plans were in place for the Church dance long before the "freak dancing" controversy erupted.

She called it "a smashing success" for the 220 priests and Laurels who attended at the Walnut Creek Heather Farms Community Center's Lakeside Room.

"Many of them were on the dance floor the entire evening, mingling with new and old faces," she continued in an e-mail response to the Church News. "The DJ provided mixer activities that encouraged meeting new youth. The young men and women openly welcomed the floor shows that were presented during the evening featuring ballroom and contemporary dances."

The Knight Ridder article stated: "There was obviously a hunger for an alternative-style dance. The 200 free tickets for this prim prom were grabbed up, and there's a waiting list. Teen members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Alamo to Antioch were invited to attend the dance."

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