Oklahoma Town Dumps Decades-Old Dance Ban

Henryetta made headlines when Valentine's Day dance was canceled
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2017 6:54 PM CST
Oklahoma Town Dumps Decades-Old Dance Ban
Stock image.   (Getty Images / avid_creative)

Kick off the Sunday shoes: Dancing in public is now legal throughout Henryetta, Okla., the AP reports. City leaders voted Tuesday to abolish an ordinance on dancing, the Tulsa World reported. The dance ordinance, with a penalty of $25, prohibited dance halls within 500 feet of a church or public school. In February, resident Joni Insabella decided to host a dance above her store, which is within 500 feet of a church. The city's Chamber of Commerce posted about the event and called Insabella a rule breaker on Facebook and accused her of getting special treatment, because of her husband, who's the city's attorney. "We wanted just a good, clean, fun event. As I said, we know we're in the Bible Belt. We weren't having alcohol or anything. We just wanted it to be fun for the community," Insabella said. After the event was canceled, Mayor Jennifer Clason decided to look over the ordinance.

Clason, the city's first female mayor, said when the dance ban resurfaced it received national attention for its similarity to the 1980s film Footloose, which tells the story of a small town banning dancing and rock music. She said prior to the cancelled event, she'd never heard of the ordinance preventing dancing. Previously, dances were held at the city's churches and schools without repercussions, said Clason. More on the ban and the canceled dance here. (More Oklahoma stories.)

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