Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS youth dances hit in Orange County (Playing by the Rules)
Los Angeles Times 13Nov99 N1
By William Lobdell
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- Local LDS youth dances have become a popular way
to spend Saturday evenings in Southern California. Large congregations
and lots of freeways make it easy for teenagers throughout the county,
and regardless of religions, to attend.
The dances are generally run by LDS teens, but with boundaries set by
local officials. But the rules aren't burdensome, and officials try to
make it easy to participate. In Irvine, the church keeps on hand attire
for those that aren't dressed to fit within the rules. And leaders are
available at the dance to explain the dance rules to participants, a
requirement to get the dance card required for entrance. "Some of them
come from so far away," said Cost Mesa chiropractor Ray "Dr. G."
Gubernick, who was a 'bouncer' at a recent dance. "Sending them home
would be heartbreaking. We'd rather have them here on Saturday night
than any other place."
And what are the rules? "No. 1: Have fun," Irvine church official Steve
Kupferer told a group of 15 teenagers last Saturday. "Also, no gum
chewing, no moshing, slam dancing, break dancing, stage diving . . .
Shirts stayed tucked in and ties and shoes on . . . Now go have a good
The dances have attracted up to 700 kids, requiring as many as 15
chaperones, who try hard to make themselves mostly invisible during the
evening. "By going to one dance, you'll probably meet 20 new kids by the
end of the night," said Foothill Ranch's Brent Sorensen, 15, who attends
the dances regularly.
Adults are also pleased with the dances. "We've been very pleased with
the dances as parents," said Bruce Haglund, who's chaperoned the Irvine
dance for 14 years. "It provides a wonderful environment to meet new
people and make new friends and let the kids spend their Saturday night
doing something they enjoy doing." Irvine resident and non-member Fredd
Judd agrees, "I struggle to get my daughter to church, but she loves
these dances. It's neat to have her associate with primarily Mormon
kids, kids that follow these rules."