By Annabelle Blair | Echo
Taylor's third-ever spring semi-formal dance, A White Tie Affair, will be held in the LaRita Boren Campus Center Zurcher Commons on Saturday from 8:30-11 p.m. Organized by the Dance and Special Events Committee (DSEC), A White Tie Affair will incorporate formal attire as well as a DJ and some slow dances. The cost of admission is $5.
The university's last few spring dances have revolved around a certain style of dance, such as salsa or swing. Junior Courtney Spoutz, president of DSEC, said her committee wanted to diversify this trend and provide an occasion, outside of the annual Christmas banquet, for students to dress formally. In contrast to the past two spring dances, no instructors will be present to teach a particular style of dance.
According to Courtney Spoutz, the seven DSEC members informally surveyed their wings and floors, asking students if they'd prefer a holiday-themed or formal dance. Courtney Spoutz summed up the general female response from these surveys: "Everyone was usually like, 'I would love a semi-formal. I would love to re-wear that random prom dress, ball dress-some type of dress I never got to wear.'"
Courtney Spoutz said students can expect the environment at A White Tie Affair to share similarities with the Halloween Dance in October. The Campus Center's cafeteria area and inside fireplace will be sectioned off and seating area tables removed to create the dance floor.
The second floor will also be open to encourage mingling. Upstairs, DSEC will set up tables with finger food and snacks as well as a photo booth with props and a backdrop.
Before 2013, wording in the Life Together Covenant (LTC) only allowed for "sanctioned folk dances, ethnic games, dances at weddings not in campus facilities, dances designed to worship God and use of choreography in drama, music production, and athletics."
Taylor's Board of Trustees revised the LTC in 2013, adding a single sentence that now permits Taylor students to plan and participate in on-campus dances sponsored by Student Development.
Danielle Spoutz is Courtney Spoutz's older sister, master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) student, and graduate assistant for the business department. She was an incoming undergraduate student in 2013 and served as DSEC's first president in 2014, when the committee was organized to reduce the workload of Taylor Student Organization (TSO) executive cabinet members.
"(The permission to dance) is still fresh," Danielle Spoutz said. "But I think DSEC and TSO administer it and steward it well."
As the Advisor to the Poms Dance Team, Danielle Spoutz said dance remains important to her. Although she sees how it can easily be misused, Danielle Spoutz believes it improves Taylor's intentional community by bringing people together. She sees both dance and practicing community as acts of worship.
"I honestly can't imagine my Taylor experience without dance," Danielle Spoutz said.
Since Taylor's founding, rules on dancing have varied.
Skip Trudeau, vice president for student development, said he encountered student interest in changing the university's dancing policy since he began working at Taylor in 1999. "The students have always been a part of the driver (to change the policy), they've always been a part of the conversation," said Trudeau, "but the Life Together Covenant is the purview of the board."
In 1997, the following statement was removed from the LTC: "Because a significant number of evangelical Christians view social dancing as a morally questionable activity, social dancing is not allowed on or away from campus."
According to Taylor administration in an Echo article printed on Oct. 10, 1997, the statement was altered "in order to reflect changes in culture. It was no longer a true statement." The wording was changed, but the restriction on dancing remained in the LTC with different reasoning: "in order to preserve the ethos of Taylor University."
In 2006, the LTC changed again to allow dancing at weddings. Trudeau was involved in both the 2006 and 2013 changes. "What I hope we did . . . is that we made changes that reflected Taylor's mission," he said. "What we're trying to do, from a program standpoint, is utilize dancing as a way to keep the community going."
Today, the LTC explains Taylor's position on dancing in the following way: "In order to preserve and enhance our intentional community."
Trudeau said he enjoyed watching students interact and enjoy themselves and each other as they learned how to salsa dance at the Carnival event in spring 2016. "It was a really good picture of community," he said. "That's what I want to see."