Do Amish dance?

Amish adults do not dance, though youth sometimes do

amish danceThe comedy film “For Richer or Poorer”, set in Amish country, contains a famous square dance scene in which Amish happily shake a leg.  In reality, dancing is not seen among Amish adults, though Rumspringa-age youth may dance.

Dancing is not considered modest by Amish.  Moving the body to music is seen as worldly activity.  Additionally, music is limited among Amish to church hymns, as well as religious hymns sung in the home.  Instruments are nearly unseen, (though some Amish permit the harmonica–read more on Amish music).

Amish youth may engage in a variety of forms of dancing, however.  Some Amish youth listen to rock, country, and other types of music.  A number of youth attend parties where dancing would occur.  There are even some more traditional “Amish” forms of dancing among youth.  Richard Stevick explains that Amish in one community dance “to the accompaniment of a harmonica or simply…to the unaccompanied singing of the young people or to a caller.” (Growing Up Amish, p. 146).

Read more on what Amish do for fun.

Photo credit: Vicious Bits

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    One Comment

    1. Stephanie Berkey

      Thank you for this post. I was wondering about their beliefs on dancing. I would think the Mennonites also believe similarly regarding dancing.

      My Dad and his brother were raised Mennonite and both raised their children differently, however, my Uncle wouldn’t let his children dance. Once when both our families went to Marriott’s Great America there was a dance that night and my Dad tried to convince him to allow it by saying the oak tree is a mighty tree, but bends with the wind. My Uncle didn’t change his mind.

      Another dance memory of my Dad is one night after his work (building pole buildings), he found us children in the yard listening to music, and for a spoof my Dad broke into a perfect moonwalk, workboots and all 😀