File photoImpromptu dancing occurred at ALANA's "Turn Up" event earlier this semester. Now, school dances can be approved by the Student Development Office.

File photo
Impromptu dancing occurred at ALANA’s “Turn Up” event earlier this semester. Now, school dances can be approved by the Student Development Office.

The President’s Cabinet approved a dancing policy in late November as part of a new Philosophy on Student Entertainment.

This year’s Student Government Association has worked diligently to get the policy approved after numerous SGAs in past years had worked on the same issue. The president from 2011-13, Payne Ford, spent a lot of time adapting a proposal that was believed to be pushed forward by Jonathan Ardrey, the SGA president in 2008-2009.

Current SGA President Ryan Piesco had the benefit of picking up where other presidents left off.

“It wasn’t necessarily a personal priority going in, but it was something that’s been worked on for a number of years by past presidents,” Piesco said. “I wasn’t going to just drop all the work they’ve done.”

Piesco worked closely with Vice President for Student Development Jeff Kirksey, who worked on shaping the overall entertainment philosophy.

“As we started to look at some other institutions, a lot of other institutions have a philosophy around entertainment that they then build their dance procedures off of,” Kirksey said.

President Dr. Corlis McGee said that the entertainment philosophy is more of a clarification than a new policy.

“It’s more of a clarification than a policy change,” McGee said. “We didn’t want to say, ‘you can do this, but you can’t do that.’ We want to have dialogue with students rather than a list of cans and can’ts.”

Kirksey agrees that the policy is more of a clarification on where the Nazarene church stands on dancing.

“It’s a clarification on where the Church stands on dancing, because the church doesn’t draw a hard line, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” Kirksey said. “I think what the church is really trying to articulate is we should approach dancing and everything we engage in with a level of discernment.”

“The clarification was that we have an unspoken no dancing policy, but that’s not necessarily how the church comes down, so we felt we needed to clarify how we, as an institution, were going to proceed,” Kirksey said.

The new entertainment philosophy was brought to the board of trustees for discussion in October. McGee said that the trustees were mainly positive about the new philosophy on student entertainment.

McGee also said the new dancing policy is “very much in line with the Church of the Nazarene Manual and what it says about dancing.”

SGA has plans to hold presentations prior to the first official dance they will hold. These presentations will look at dancing at a Christian school and what that may mean. Piesco said “it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and community building.”

“We’re going to do a few things leading up to the first dance,” he added. “We don’t want to send a message that, ‘Dancing is now approved, that means you can do whatever you want.’ That’s the opposite of what we want.”

SGA has already been planning the first official school dance, which is likely to take place in late January or early February.