Legal Grind Ends for Woman Accused of Dirty Dance

The Associate Press is reporting today that the small mountain town of Marshall, N.C., has agreed to pay $275,000 for banning Rebecca Willis from a community hangout after residents complained about her dirty dancing.

According to court documents, she was accused of gyrating and simulating sexual intercourse with her partner while wearing a skirt so short it exposed her underwear. Willis described her dance style as “exuberant and flamboyant” but not obscene.

She’s still not allowed to return to the refurbished train station where she once danced and socialized, but she said that’s OK with her.



10 responses to “Legal Grind Ends for Woman Accused of Dirty Dance

  • Debbie Rickard

    wow! Nothing like getting paid off to “get a room.” Has the court considered, once Rebecca cleans up her act, that she will be allowed to come back? This small town must have alot of tax revenue to squash Rebecca. What about “Freedom of Speech” I know i am probably stretching it there a little bit, but still a thought. It is intreasting to see that the “little” towns are more offended by acts like this, than in the city, where it is more welcomed, in a sense.

  • Stephanie James

    The above website is a very good summary of Willis’ lawsuit against the Marshall Depot. I recommend reading it for full insight into this unique case.

    In Willis’ action, it is explained that the Depot actually posts a list of “Rules of Behavior” on its back wall, which state:

    1) No Drinking (Alcoholic Beverages)
    2) No Smoking
    3) Shoes and Shirts Required
    4) No Sitting on Rails
    5) No Blocking Doors
    6) No Cases or Instruments Left on Deck
    7) No Jamming Inside Depot or no Deck
    8) No Unsupervised Children Allowed to Run Loose Around Building
    9) No Soliciting

    Clearly, there is no rule “regarding dress or appropriate behavior at the Depot.” This fact leads to one crucial question: was Willis’ “exuberant and flamboyant” dancing truly lewd and inappropriate in nature, or was she singled out because of her age (Willis is 64 years old)? “Community members [insist that they] were [only] concerned about their children being exposed to Willis’ dancing,” but I will continue to wonder about their motives in suing her because there is no rule against this type of behavior.

    Though I don’t know what Willis’ unique dance style entails, and I have no desire to see a 64 year old woman “getting it on,” I’m nonetheless impressed by her confidence. In the words of 62 year old from the Wall Street Journal blog posted above, “…You will be pleasantly surprised by the things you view differently if you reach that ripe age.” After all, I’m pretty sure Willis is one of only a handful of people who has ever “clogged her way through a cake walk.”

  • Lionel Hunter

    Are there pictures of how she appeared at age 56 back when she did the dancing in question. The story is not complete without seeing those.

  • Jenn Spencer

    For those of you who are just really wanting to see what Rebecca Willis looked like dancing, here is a video of her that was showed on an ABC news broadcast:

    If this is how she was dancing at the community center, she just looks like a happy old lady getting her groove on.

    The community center sounds a little on the stuffy side. I seriously cannot believe that this lady was paid that much money to stop dancing. I wonder how many people are going to flock to this community center to see if they can be paid for their own ‘inappropriate’ dancing.

  • Nicole Bodeman

    Truthfully I think that when you go out to a place that plays music and people are dancing you should never be judged or judge others. You are there to dance and socialize so whats the big deal. It you go to the clubs here in Denver there is some nasty dancing but people don’t auotmatically judge them and ban them from that club. The article is breif but dancing is dancing and if Rebecca Willis wasn’t harming anybody or actually having sexual intercourse on the dance floor than whats the big deal! I am glad they settled on her behalf.

  • Kyle Hudson

    So i am still trying to figure out why the city paid off Ms. Willis, but the ban still is in effect. I am guessing it was a payment to not show up anymore. This is kinda producing a sick felling in my stomach. You may expect this kind of behavior from a younger person, but for someone of her age to act like this at a “community center” is disgusting. She obviously knew children were there, and was aware of what her short skirts were showing but did nothing to curtail her behavior. Think this story has a nice cultural overtone for our society today, “whatever is best for me, whatever I want to do”. Her doing this at a nightclub or in her residence is fine by me, but for her to take it again to a “community center” just degrades the person she is.
    Also I would wonder why the community center did not have her arrested for indecent exposure, under North Carolina law G.S. § 14‑190.9.a1 it says “any person at least 18 years of age who shall willfully expose the private parts of his or her person in any public place in the presence of any other person less than 16 years of age for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire shall be guilty of a Class H felony”, if Ms. Willis was really doint what they say then seems to me that a huge mistake was made by paying her any money at all.

  • NZ

    It seems a bit mind boggling that a lawsuit over “unorthodox dancing style” can result in a settlement of $275,000.

    The Town of Marshall had to of known by providing musical entertainment at the Community Center on Friday evenings they were opening themselves up to the idea and concept of dancing!

    According to the verdict posted, “Rules of Behavior” were posted on the back wall of the Depot, none of which addressed appropriate attire or dancing. In addition it was stated that Ms. Willis regularly attended on Friday evenings and enjoyed dancing. When questioned about her attire, she even admitted to wearing short skirts. It seems odd to me that in previous visits she was not confronted about her inappropriate dancing style or choice of clothing. Furthermore, what kind of music was playing at this family oriented Community Center that would bring out these sexually explicit dance moves?

    I understand the concern of the Community members not wanting their children to be exposed to inappropriate behavior and attire, but let’s be serious. News flash, your children are seeing far worse on television and at school! The right to free speech and expression has opened a portal that is difficult to contain. If society is not limiting what they deem inappropriate attire and freedom of expression it is hard to place limits and judgments on others. It appears these small towns are ready to challenge issues and contain this portal.

    Did Ms. Willis make poor choices? Without having been at the Community Center on the night in question it is hard to say. Although I have a hard time believing a 56 year old woman was going commando in a mini skirt to a family oriented Community Center. And last I was aware dancing was a form of art and expression, which has been around for years, and if I am not mistaken many of our popular dances today would have been categorized as “unorthodox.”

  • Bridget Beckett

    This case is amusing to me. What is she, crazy? Rebecca Willis was a 56 year old woman the time of the ban, dirty dancing in such a small family oriented community. A person would think she would have moved out of embarrassment after being banned. At least in a city it is more expectable to be “exuberant and flamboyant”. It seems kind of fishy to me that the town would rather burn the train station hang out down then ever have her back and ban her with a settlement of $250,000. There doesnt need to be a written rule for a person to be polite.

  • Jessica Warren

    What I find most interesting about this case and the cases cited in the holding is that the appeal courts have consistently held that performers, including topless dancers and strippers, are protected under the First Amendment due to freedom of expression but Willis’ behavior was not considered an expressive communication. I completely understand certain performances are an expression of speech but I never thought that of a striptease as an expressive communication when performed for money!

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