School Dances

Usually, by this time in the school year, we can expect to have gone to a dance or two, but not this year. It seems that dances are elements of the distant, COVID-free past for now. That, sadly, means many freshmen do not know what the dances even are. In retrospect, that might be for the best, as dancing over Zoom is bound to be strange to say the least. But just what are these mysterious dances we’ve heard so much about? 

It seems that there are many. In a regular year, we’d have Winter Ball in the first week of December and Spring Fling at the start of March. There would be senior prom in May and various dances hosted by clubs like GLOW scattered throughout. Winter Ball and Spring Fling are the more formal dances while club dances are generally less so. Both these formal dances and club dances are often fundraisers. “Winter Ball is held at Lakeside and is organized by the juniors as one of their fundraisers for their senior prom, and Spring Fling is at an off-campus location and is organized by the seniors as their second fundraiser for their prom,” says Maya D ’22. “Prom is then a mix of off-campus (a scavenger hunt across Seattle happened for the seniors my freshman year) and on-campus (they have a red carpet in Red Square and a more traditional dance), but what exactly they do depends on their budget (Winter Ball plus Spring Fling revenue) and what they can plan.”

Winter Ball and Spring Fling also have themes. This means that decorations, too, are different from year to year. “Last Winter Ball it was Area 51, and past dances have been Masquerade Ball or Winter Wonderland themed,” says William M ’21. Prom also changes with the senior class, depending on how they plan it, though a few factors like the red carpet stay the same. 

As for what happens in the dances, it depends. “Some people like to do big asks and throw before and after parties, while other people just go to the dance,” says Maya D ’22. “I think the most memorable part for a lot of people isn’t necessarily the dance itself but who you go with and maybe what you do beforehand (which can vary wildly depending on what people like to do). I would also say that asking someone is pretty memorable and was one of the best parts of the whole experience for me.” Each dance has a DJ, with formal dances generally hiring them from companies. “Generally, people begin to show up a few minutes to an hour after the start of the dance and leave early,” says Evan S ’21. “All the students are packed into a room with loud music, I imagine all having a fun time.”

For many, dances are fun, which makes the lack of them somewhat disappointing. But as we’re in hybrid now, we can’t help but wonder whether or not we’ll have a dance to look forward to in the coming months. From what I’ve learned about dances, there certainly seems much to hope for!

William and Evan ’21’s Winter Ball group. (Harnett)
Maya ’22’s Winter Ball group last year. (Johnson)