Before I dive into the (few) pros of the dance, I’d like to acknowledge that we’re lucky to have gotten a dance at all. COVID is definitely still around and rampant, even when it doesn’t feel like it at Lakeside, and new variants are continuing to pop up. I know it wasn’t everything we were hoping for, but personally, I’m glad I got to experience it. Let’s give the juniors a break! Besides, they got lots of other things right.
How about the iconic slow dance? Sure, there wasn’t much work needed for it, but it eased everyone into the dance after a very awkward start. Before it, we all know that everyone had been standing around, mingling in groups while the seniors tried to start the dancing craze of the night. It seemed like everyone had forgotten that dancing is the number one thing you’re supposed to do at a dance; it’s in the name! But once everyone heard John Legend’s smooth voice spilling from the speakers, they started pairing up and slowly shimmying around the fieldhouse. With everyone having a great time on the dance floor, it was finally the Winter Ball.
Additionally, I thought the ping pong tables were a great add-on to the dance. Whenever I felt the dance was slowing down, I would hop upstairs and play a few rounds! Mind you, I’m awful at ping pong, but it was fun nonetheless.
Last but not least, the best part of the night, the Acabellas and Acafellas performance! Because of course, how could it be a Winter Wonderland without the namesake song? I had been hearing about the performance for weeks, and I was super excited since I knew they were putting a lot of effort into it to make it an unforgettable number. I was counting down the minutes to 9 pm, and when it was finally time, everyone had huddled together, inching closer and closer in anticipation. And as we all knew they would, the Acabellas and Acafellas didn’t disappoint. The song sounded amazing, which goes to show that there should be way more of their performances for the student body! Judging by the applause and cheering afterwards, I know many people agree.
In the end, I know the dance had its problems. But I think that we should take a moment to appreciate the good things about it, especially when it took place during a worldwide pandemic. Did I absolutely adore the Winter Ball? No. But do I have hope for the Spring Fling? Yes!
While I will admit it is somewhat impressive that the dance was pulled off at all during COVID times and that it had its pros, the cons far outweighed them. Dozens of people left early, unimpressed by what was, (for the underclassmen at least), their first ever high school dance.
Firstly, I’ll address the elephant in the room: the $35 entry fee. It dissuaded many people from coming to the dance in the first place, and seemed out of proportion considering the overall nature of the dance itself; it was held with committee-made decorations, without food, and in the secondary gym space of the school. But, because the cost has already been discussed by many, I’ll move on.
The no re-entry rule, while garnering less debate, was still contentious. While the explanation for it was “COVID”, there is no discernible reason as to why this should be. Students exiting the dance to, say, take a breather or drink some water do not incur a COVID risk upon the dance; in fact, the no re-entry rule forced more people to be in the crowded gym for longer periods of time, since no one could leave and return. Not only were many students dismayed with this rule, but it also prevented many from staying for long, as many couldn’t remain in the fieldhouse for the entire 3 hours.
That’s enough about the rules and restrictions imposed upon us. Now it’s time to review the dance itself. The first, and main, point of contention is the lack of activities at a major school dance. Many students even considered the ping-pong tables in the mezzanine as more entertaining than the dance itself.
I remember when I showed up to the dance and entered the fieldhouse, I saw a bunch of people gathered together in their friend groups, talking to each other, not much different from a regular day in the WCC, library, or Red Square. Dances like the Winter Ball, which occur only twice a year, should be something different, something memorable. Instead, it seems the Winter Ball was taken as just another school event, with nothing out of the ordinary.
In summary, while the dance was a fun social gathering, the preparties were, for those who attended any, more interesting than the dance itself, and I certainly hope that the committee in charge of the Spring Fling will learn from the mistakes we saw last month, and successfully pull off the second major post-COVID dance.