"This is nothing like Footloose," wrote Mount Anthony Union High School principal Sue Maguire in a letter to the editor published in the Bennington Banner.
The comparison to the classic Kevin Bacon film came up repeatedly on Facebook after the school announced the homecoming dance was cancelled. Rather than consider the implications of the criticism, Maguire addressed it literally, failing to understand or choosing to the ignore the film's use of dance as a metaphor for each generations' fear of the next.
"If you look at the dancing in Footloose, and the dancing we're seeing, they're not the same at all."
Despite twerking's nationwide popularity, one local newspaper feared residents of the town of less than 16,000 may be unfamiliar with common form of dance, and consulted a college professor to academically explain the dance move to unaware Vermonters.
"It's very much a hip-thrusting, kind of with-your-legs-bent move so it's very graphic-looking," Terry Creach, a choreographer at Bennington College, explained to the Times Argus.
"However, when you see it as a solo, it looks like it's right out of West African dancing ... It's just a hip action which American culture has never been very comfortable with ever. I think the big difference here is when two people are doing it together, it looks like graphic sex. When it's a solo, it doesn't ... Some of the religions in the U.S. think of dancing as being sinful and sexual as opposed to an art form or being sensual ... For those of us in the dance world, we feel very limited by that perspective."
Maguire does not agree with Creach's distinction between sexual and sensual in regard to twerking, and feels it's her duty as an educator to protect students from influences that do.
"I don't blame the students," Maguire wrote.
"This is what they're exposed to, this is what they think is okay ... Unfortunately, our young people are continuously exposed to a culture filled with sexualized images and messages, but this should not and cannot be permitted at our school."
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