Dance Team Barred from Seattle Event Over American Flag Costume


A dance team was barred from performing at the Emerald City Hoedown in Seattle due to their American flag-themed attire, sparking a debate on patriotism and freedom of expression. This incident reflects broader concerns about the acceptance of national symbols in public spaces.

Why It Matters

This incident highlights the tension between patriotism and the increasingly politicized interpretation of national symbols, underscoring the importance of upholding freedom of expression in the United States.

Who It Impacts

This situation primarily impacts Americans who view the flag as a symbol of national pride and unity, and it raises questions about the boundaries of expression in public and private forums.

In Seattle, a city known for its vibrant cultural scene and progressive values, a recent incident at the Emerald City Hoedown has ignited a contentious debate on patriotism and the place of the American flag in public performances. The Borderline Dance Team, a group celebrated for its spirited country line dancing, found itself at the heart of a controversy not for the content of their performance, but for their choice of attire: costumes emblazoned with the American flag.

The team, comprised of women dedicated to country line dancing, reported an unexpected backlash upon their arrival at the event. They were met with stark opposition from a subset of attendees who claimed the flag-themed costumes were offensive, triggering feelings of unsafety due to their representation of the American flag. The organizers, faced with the discontent of some participants, presented the dance team with an ultimatum: to shed their patriotic attire and don nondescript shirts or to forgo their performance altogether.

The dance team’s co-captain, Lindsay Stamp, in an interview with Jason Rantz on his Seattle-based radio show, expressed disbelief and frustration over the incident. According to Stamp, the team’s ethos is grounded in patriotism and support for military, veterans, and first responders, devoid of any political agenda. Their intention at the hoedown was simply to perform and celebrate their country through dance.

This event did not stand alone in its controversy. Another team, the West Coast Country Heat, faced similar expulsion from the event due to their patriotic-themed attire, indicating a broader discomfort with the display of the American flag at the venue. In solidarity, both teams chose to abstain from performing, a decision they considered their “greatest performance” in defiance of what they perceived as an infringement on their freedom of expression.

This incident in Seattle serves as a microcosm of the larger debates swirling around national identity, patriotism, and the political polarization of symbols that were once considered unifying. The American flag, a symbol of freedom and sacrifice for many, has become a point of contention, reflecting the complex and often divisive dynamics of contemporary American society. The exclusion of the dance teams from a public event for their choice of patriotic attire underscores the challenges facing the nation as it grapples with reconciling diverse perspectives on patriotism and freedom of expression.