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Clubs in and around Orange County : WANNA DANCE?

Similar in Spirit

Holy Strut! Some things are a bit different at the Flip Side Christian club.

May 08, 1997|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — How do Christians dance? That's what a friend asked when she heard about the Flip Side Christian Dance Club.

Don't laugh, because there are some observable differences.

Of course, the club's patrons don't move their arms, legs and in-betweens much differently than any dancer on any floor in any club on any Saturday evening.

Here, unleashed revelry bullies away worries just as it does at Club Moist or during ladies-only night at the Lion's Den. Sweat dribbles and stamina sustains all the same.

Furthermore, the Flip Side's strobe lighting can compete with the best. It casts prancers in a psychedelic, black-and-white movie that lurches jerkily from frozen scene to scene.

And loose hips do pitch--rising, falling, gyrating.

So where are the differences?

Men's hips never meet women's, at least not when I've been watching. Slow dances are practically nonexistent too.

Other diffs? Christian line dances--namely the Holy Strut and the Sacred Stride--and dancing couples holding hands.

"It's a very loving place," said Adrianne Mata-Grant, who has a minnow-sized ichthus painted on her cheek.

But "you don't have to worry about guys looking at you weird," said Janel Christman, of Aliso Viejo. The Flip Side, she added, is like an "innocent" high-school dance.

Indeed, this is an 18-or-over club where smoking and alcohol are verboten, and the crowd, casual in jeans, tennies, platforms and skirts, is young. The 2-year-old operation, which occupies a tidy social-dance school with an 800-square-foot floor, also reserves an upstairs nook for pingpong and board games.

Most prefer to stay downstairs, however, dancing to Jars of Clay, Nitro Praise, the World Wide Message Tribe and other top contemporary Christian bands, whose recordings are blasted at high volume by a deejay. The music's heavy metal, ska, hip-hop, house and pop rhythms are identical to those played on secular radio stations, but the sex- and violence-devoid lyrics of these bands celebrate Jesus Christ and a 10 Commandments-abiding lifestyle.

So do signs and posters on the walls, and the night always ends with prayer, management says. Now that's something you don't see much around town.

The Flip Side offers something that may be even harder to find in unwholesome club land: Oreo cookies. There are potato chips too, at 75 cents a package, like the Oreos. Canned soda, smoothies and Arrowhead bottled water, highest in sales, go for $1. Coffee and herbal tea are a sinless steal at 50 cents.

The club occasionally books local Christian bands. On May 17, the club will close to set up shop at Knott's Berry Farm's Fiesta Plaza for the park's Spring Jubilation, a full day and night of Christian music.

BE THERE

The Flip Side Christian Dance Club, 3625 W. MacArthur Blvd., Santa Ana; (714) 262-3354. 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays. Opens at 7 p.m. when bands play. Cover: $3 before 9 p.m., $6 after. Free on alternate Saturdays for women and men, respectively.

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