Do schools still have dances for their students? When I was in Jr. High & High School they were a big deal, the social event that you didn’t want to miss. I’m not talking about proms but just school sponsored dances for no particular reason. In 6th-8th grades the dances were held either at school or at the YMCA. Different clubs or teams could sponsor them and make some money for their cause. They also had to do all the preparations. Sometimes we had live bands, other times records (33-LP’s) were played. Actually the quality of music played would suck by today’s standards but it was what we had and it sounded good at the time. The dances gave us a chance to get our non-school dance threads on and get acquainted with the opposite sex. The get acquainted part didn’t really happen until the dances were half-way over. The first half was boys on one side and girls on another just waiting for the first brave pair to hit the dance floor. The thought of being the first was unbearable no matter what your friends said they would pay you, which they would never pay even if you did dance. It was an exciting time, the music was great during the 60’s and 70’s, and I knew every song by heart. Finally a boyfriend-girfriend couple would hit the dance floor thus opening the gates for the masses to begin also. I was always impressed with girls who didn’t care about being asked to dance and just went on the dance floor with a group of girls. Girls are better dancers than guys, always have been. I would generally tuck my paisley shirt into my wide-wale cords with thick leather belt and get the courage to dance by the halfway point. I was nervous as hell for the first dance but you feel better if the girl says yes and even better once your on the dance floor. We would stand about 2-3 feet apart from one another and flail our arms and bodies to the beat of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or whatever group was popular at the time. It wasn’t that we couldn’t touch one another, it was just the hippiesh dance style, which was actually no style at all…Freedom baby. When I was in 7th grade I was in the skateboard club, yes there was even a club for that. Back then we had a wood shop where boards could be cut-out rather than buying them. We decided to throw a dance and named it the “MOVING FLICK” as we got the AV club to have movies showing on the walls during the dance, semi Andy Warhol style. I made about 5-posters one night to advertise the dance and had them up before school started the next day. I got called into the vice principal’s office the same morning and noticed all my posters I had made were in his office also. He asked me to read my poster and I said ” THE MOVING FLICK” but what I hadn’t noticed in making the posters is that the poster paint had bled between the the L & I in FLICK making it read “THE MOVING FUCK”. He was extremely pissed off and all my work got trashed by the end of 1st period. Fortunately some of the others in the club had made better posters and the dance was on. The highlight of each dance was the Dance Contest where all the couples would start off on the dance floor and one by one they would be eliminated until you had a winner. I actually one a contest once and the prize was a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. My heart was pumping and I was feeling super good as I had won with a girl I was secretly in love with. The whole bubble burst at the end of the night when I took my friends advice and asked her out to KFC to claim our prize…can you imagine that, asking a girl out to a drive-thru fast-food restaurant, when you can’t even drive. She politely said “NO, my mom won’t let me go out on dates” which I interpreted as ” No Way Jose”, but I guess it worked out for the best.
Then came High-School and we had dances after every home football game on Friday Night. They were a blast and a must to be seen at. It was like Sixteen Candles in real life and again it started with girls on one side and guys on the other but after a couple good songs the dance floor was filled. We danced the night away until some teacher turned on the lights and told us to go home. I guess the teachers weren’t excited about getting dance duty. Dances were a great part of growing up and meeting girls in a controlled environment. If you really wanted to get to know a girl just ask her to dance to Iron Butterfly’s, In-a-gadda-da-vida, the song that lasts 20-minutes, you could hear her whole life story by then. It was so much easier to dance with girls that were talkers as I was more of a listener. By our Junior Year in High School most of us had girlfriends so finding a dance partner wasn’t the painstaking problem that it was in earlier years. By our Senior year we found ways to smuggle alchohol into the dances so it became easier to talk to girls. I really enjoyed the school dances and wonder if they are still happening or if they have gone by the wayside. My three children all went to a private Christian school and dances weren’t allowed which I found extremely foolish. I also felt sorry that my kids couldn’t enjoy social dances like I had. Every kid should have to go through the sweaty palms, dry mouth ordeal of asking someone of the opposite sex if they would like to dance.