Indiana Town Pulls Real-Life ‘Footloose,’ Requires Permit To Dance

Legs of young friends dancing at party. Photo: Hero Images Getty Images

Thinking about hosting a birthday party? Wedding? Quinceanera? Better make sure you get your dancing permit first. At least if you live in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In what appears to be straight out of Footloose, the city passed an ordinance last fall requiring anyone hosting or allowing a dance party on their property to buy a permit first. They also need proof of liability insurance. Here’s some additional info from CBS Indy:

Terre Haute Police Sergeant Denzil Lewis tells WTHI the ordinance was created to crack down on violent crimes at parties. He says many of the people throwing the dance parties are former Indiana State University students, and they sometimes charge people to get it. Lewis says they’ve seen a decrease in incidents on the weekends they’ve been out enforcing the dance permit.

Okay, that explanation seems fairly reasonable. But why then ‘crack down’ on simple family get-togethers like birthday parties?

One local man named Tommy Williams said police shut down his birthday party and he was given a $37 ticket for not having a boogie permit.

This has to be unconstitutional. You know T-Jeff got his groove on.

Josh’s Take

There’s a difference between a birthday party and an organized event where the hosts charge an entry fee. What happens when a few bros decide to do a “dance and run” on a friend’s property? Hey, “they allowed it,” right?

This ordinance needs some fine tuning. And by fine-tuning, I mean blow it up.


Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.