In the fall of my freshman year, I remember being equal parts ecstatic and terrified for homecoming. For me, it symbolized the shedding of my middle school chrysalis and the spreading of my high school wings. However, as the eldest child of my family and with minimal contact with upperclassmen, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of my first school dance. How fancy should I dress? Is attending pointless without a date? Is the dance similar to the sappy teen movies I would watch, wide-eyed with anticipation, waiting for the day where I too could indulge in my adolescent dreams?
After posing the question on my social media, asking my peers in my journalism class, and even raising the question at my lunch table, I received a wave of advice. I compiled a list of the most helpful pieces of information, guaranteed to give freshies insight on how to make the most of their first dance.
What to Wear:
- Don’t choose an outfit that is too uncomfortable. The heat and humidity of the great hall makes wearing long sleeves or thicker materials uncomfortable.
- Don’t choose an outfit that leaves you susceptible to a fashion malfunction on the dance floor. The last thing you want is to spend the dance worrying about a broken strap or a too-tight button.
- Bring a hair tie if you have longer hair – if you wear your hair down, there’s a chance it’ll get caught and yanked out of your head.
- Wear what makes you the most comfortable and confident.
- There is no specific dress code, but people wear formal attire, so make an effort to look nice!
- Don’t feel pressured to go with a date! If you have not agreed to go with someone already or if you’re not dating someone, it can be more fun to go with a group of friends.
- If you are asking someone…
- Make sure they’re okay with it! Check with them or their friends before asking to make sure they’re available and interested.
- Keep in mind, asking people SHOULD NOT put excessive stress on either you or the person you’re asking.
At the Dance:
- Before you rush the dance floor, take off your shoes, jewelry, corsages, and boutonnieres. Everyone does, and it prevents them from getting ruined or lost in the chaos that is the mosh pit. Nothing kills the vibe or hurts more than stepping on an earring or getting your feet stomped on by dress shoes.
- Being in the mosh pit is fun! Let loose!
- Don’t worry about looks! Everyone looks ridiculous once they start dancing.
- If you can’t dance, it’s ok! All you have to be able to do is jump up and down.
- Embrace the sweat.
- Don’t feel like you’re “too cool to dance.”
- The larger the group you’re going with, the more stress it is to plan. When planning a group, outline a basic idea and stick to it! Making multiple changes as the dance approaches can make the experience more difficult for everyone.
- Drama can really put a damper on your night. Be mature and respectful when discussing conflicting ideas. Do your best to compromise, and if you end up conceding, keep in mind that you will attend many more dances in your high school career! Don’t stress or make it a bigger deal than it is.
- Eat enough before so you don’t get hungry while dancing (it’s a work out), but don’t eat too much because then you’ll feel sick.
- You don’t have to go out somewhere fancy to eat. A fancy place can be fun, but closer, chain restaurants like P.F. Changs, Bravo, or even Qdoba are conveniently located and cheaper options.
After the Dance:
- Bring a pair of comfy clothes and shoes to change into if you plan on going to a second location after the dance.
- After parties can be really fun, but if you want to go home and sleep that’s okay too.
- Reflect upon your experience. What did you like about it? What would you do differently next time? Are you a dance person? If not, be grateful you at least went to one.
“Stop debating whether or not you should go; I’m three years out of high school and we don’t have dances like homecoming or swirl. I only ever went to one dance aside from prom. Just go. You won’t regret it.” – Jessi McKim (‘17)
“Dance like no one’s watching! High school will be over soon and you will wish you could dance again with all of the people you grew up with, even if it is in a stinky smelly sweaty mosh pit, and you don’t have to like everyone [there to have a good time]. You don’t have to, but don’t take [dances] for granted!” -Kelsey Hill (‘18)
“You have two options. 1) mosh pit and pass out, or 2) go into the still-fluorescent lit locker banks and reminisce on a moment that’s already happening while feeling emotional that you’re already in high school. Keep doing this until a boy with a tie tied around his head busts into the locker bank to get his shoes and/or his phone and says ‘WHATCHA DOIN GO HAVE SOME FUN’ and you realize he’s right.” -Halle Mikula (‘21)