So you think Latter-day Saints can't dance? It's a myth that has circulated pop culture and cultural halls, whether based on the lack of rhythm found at certain stake dances or this clip from Cheers, it's hard to tell:
But I am here to tell you—no, assure you—Latter-day Saints can dance. In fact, they are dominating the dance world.
Don't believe me? Let's just take a snapshot of the past year. November 2017, not one but three Latter-day Saints sweep the top spots in Dancing with the Stars. Professional dancer and Latter-day Saint Lindsay Arnold and her partner, Jordan Fisher, won the show's 25th season and the mirror ball, with Lindsey Stirling and her partner taking second and professional Witney Carson (also a Latter-day Saint) and her partner taking third.
Now fast forward to the past few months. Lindsay Arnold's sister, Jensen, storms onto the So You Think You Can Dance stage, receiving rave reviews, getting labeled the "poster child" for the show, and taking second in the entire competition. "I am so grateful . . . to be America’s second favorite dancer," Jensen wrote on Instagram.
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Last night was so amazing!! I just want to thank you all for the love and support you guys have given me. I am so grateful to be apart of season 15 of SYTYCD and to be America’s second favorite dancer😜 CONGRATS to my favorite @hannahleidazle you are so deserving of this title, and I love you so much!! This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to see what my future will bring.
The same week Jensen was named America's second favorite dancer, Latter-day Saints Charity Anderson and Andres Peñate took third place on World of Dance just a month after making history on the show by receiving the first perfect score. But Anderson and Peñate were not the only Latter-day Saints making waves on the show. Jaxon Willard took third in the junior division and made headlines for his raw performance about coming to grips with his emotions concerning his birth mother and adoptive family.
Outside that 12-month snapshot of epicness, we have the BYU Cougarettes who regularly snag a top spot at Nationals. Last year alone they took second in both Jazz and Hip Hop.
And let's not forget about Donny Osmond snagging the mirror ball on Dancing with the Stars just two years after Marie took third place. Oh, and the second season of So You Think You Can Dance, when the season's winner, Benji Schwimmer, talked about his mission for the Church on the show. And then there's Chelsie Hightower, who gave two Emmy Award-nominated performances on So You Think You Can Dance before becoming a professional on Dancing with the Stars.
And that's only scratching the surface. The Latter-day Saint prowess in dance even caught the attention of Newsweek and World Religion News, which published an article "Did You Know Mormons Dominate Competitive Dancing?" detailing the success of BYU's international dance teams. While the article clarifies, "It’s a common misconception Mormons don’t dance," it asserts Latter-day Saints "disproportionately dominate dancing leaderboards." These articles claim our exceptional performance in the arts stems from our pioneer ancestors dancing while they crossed the plains and Brigham Young establishing theaters and places of culture throughout Utah, not to mention the culture of excellence that fuels Latter-day Saints.
From ballroom to contemporary and ballet to jazz, Latter-day Saints simply dominate the dance world. Still, don't believe me? This viral video provides proof that might quell your doubts: