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COVID-19 Lockdowns Spark A ‘Footloose’ Revival Across America

When my sister told my mom about the school canceling prom, my mom joked that it was just like ‘Footloose.’ Then the movie became real life.


I remember the first time I watched “Footloose” and asked my mom, “No one would really ever ban dancing, right?” “No,” my mom laughed, “It’s just a silly ’80s movie.” My mom was wrong.

It’s 2021 and the premise of “Footloose,” a town that bans dancing and consequently prom, has officially come to life. But it’s not the conservative preachers leading the prom crackdown. This time, the zealots are anti-science Joe Biden voters.

In this “Footloose” reboot, the sophisticated urbanites can’t sit back and smugly mock the closed-mindedness of rural, Christian America because the most aggressive and punitive COVID-19 lockdown enforcers are from Democrat cities.

In May, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser banned dancing at receptions, even if everyone participating is vaccinated and wearing masks, according to her latest COVID-19 restrictions decree. Even if there is no formal ban on dancing, state and local governments have made it all but official with strict social distancing rules and capacity limits.

For many students, this spring marks the second year in a row without a prom. For generation COVID-19, this all-American rite of passage was erased from their childhood. There is no prom date drama or crushes, no ill-fitted tuxedos, awkward slow dances, nervous corsage pinning, and photos in your parent’s living room. They are left to experience it vicariously through movies like “Pretty in Pink,” “10 things I Hate About You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “High School Musical,” and “Grease.”

The saddest part of all is that there was no medical reason to rob teens of this quintessential high school memory. They have virtually zero risk of dying or being hospitalized from COVID-19.

My sister, Lucia, is a high school student who attends Catholic school, so she was fortunate to be able to attend in-person learning this school year (although she was forced to unnecessarily mask at all times). However, her school still decided to cancel the annual prom dance “because of COVID.”

Lucia, a junior, has never been to a school dance. When she told my mom about the cancellation, my mom joked that it was just like “Footloose.” That joke turned serious when my mom and Lucia started contemplating hosting an alternative prom.

My mom called a few friends and within a few days a DJ and venue (a local barn) were booked. Cookies and Domino’s pizza completed the night and helped the teens avoid the uncomfortable fancy restaurant dinners and just focus on the fun.

Organic, parent-organized proms, like my sister’s, are happening across America. Parents and students are sick and tired of ridiculous rules impeding every aspect of their lives, especially when the rules don’t even “follow the science.”

The human and emotional cost of lockdowns and tedious, unnecessary COVID-19 mandates have been totally ignored by government and school officials. But it hasn’t been lost on parents or kids. They know loneliness caused by schools canceling sports, clubs, dances, and endless hours of Zoom have had very negative effects.

Indeed, COVID-19 rules have exacerbated rising rates of teen anxiety, depression, and suicide. So as much as Democrats don’t want to admit it, events like prom are really important for teenagers, especially when they have had nearly everything taken from them for more than a year.

The proliferation of non-school-sponsored proms across the country is a sign that America’s parents have had enough. Despite being told by government and school scolds to social distance, cover our faces, and isolate ourselves at home, Americans are rebelling and taking things into their own hands to preserve our American way of life, including long-cherished (and sometimes adorably cringey) high school traditions like prom.