Sadly, spring break is over, but the school year end is in sight now! Your summer plans are starting to take shape. One, maybe two major units left in the year. You got this! The year is nearly done. With the exception of that one thing…that matter of the school dance…. Whether the school dance is looming and causing you stress or giving you tingles of excited anticipation, it is happening in the next few weeks, ready or not. Yikes! No need to panic. Just take a breath, relax. You got this, too! GEM is here with a few reminders about the etiquette of school dances can help to calm the jitters and anxiety that often accompany this exciting time.
Before the dance…
Decide to attend. You only have a few opportunities in your life to attend a school dance. Make the most of these occasions and plan to go! Your adult self with thank you for the memories.
Know the theme and dress code. Before any shopping trip, check in with the sponsor of the dance, the invitation, and friends to ensure any clothing bought specifically for the dance will be appropriate and allow you to feel comfortable and confident in the crowd of your peers.
Be inclusive. As plans for the event are being discussed, be careful not to let anyone feel left out or excluded.
To ask, accept, or decline? You may opt to attend the dance with a date or friend, alone, or as part of a group. It is also acceptable for either the boy or the girl to do the asking. Asking requires confidence and poise if the answer is no. Prepare yourself for a yes or a no answer and accept whatever comes with dignity. If you are the one being asked, consider the courage that it took to ask you. And before you consider declining the invitation, give careful thought to your reasons to decline, because being asked is a huge compliment! Don’t provide a dishonest reason for saying no. A simple, “I have other plans for the dance, but thank you very much for asking. I’ll see you there!” is honest, respectful, and allows the asker to walk away with dignity intact. Once you have accepted an invitation, you are committed. You may not decide something better has come along and change your mind.
At the dance…
Ask someone to dance! You may ask a group of your friends to get out on the dance floor or someone special, but for goodness sakes, you are at the dance to dance, so just do it. Girls and boys both may do the asking. Walk up to the person you intend to ask, smile, look him or her in the eye and say, “May I have this dance?” “Will you dance with me?” or “Shall we dance?” When the answer is yes, walk onto the dance floor together and give it your best “Fred Astaire and/or Ginger Rogers” (you may need to ask your parents about this 😉 .
Accept invitations to dance. When you are asked to dance, you should accept most invitations. While you are never obligated to dance with someone, remember that accepting an invitation to dance is a “commitment” to just one song… one 2-3 minute song. If you have a good reason to decline an invitation, do so with respect and kindness. “I’m sitting this song out. Thank you.” or “This isn’t my kind of song.Thank you for asking.” or “I’m tired now and prefer not to dance this song. But thank you for the invitation.” Don’t stand on the sidelines of the dance waiting for that special someone to ask you to dance. It’s always better to be on the floor dancing so that special someone can tell that you like to dance. And if your night will be a big disappointment unless that special someone asks you, don’t wait. Do the asking yourself!
On the dance floor…
Remember the floor is for everyone. Don’t monopolize the space so that others feel there isn’t room for them.
One song, one partner. If you are with a partner, stay with that partner until the song is over. When the song ends, partners should walk together off the dance floor and thank each other for the dance.
Own your missteps. When you step on toes or bump into someone, because you will, excuse yourself. “Sorry about that.” or “Excuse me.” is sufficient.
Be accepting. Never critique another’s dancing. Each of us has our own personal style. Respect and honor that.
Respect yourself and others. Don’t do anything a chaperone might have to correct.
A final word of advice…
Enjoy yourself. As long as you remain in school, you will have opportunities to attend school dances. But once you are finished with school, there is nothing else you will ever do that compares to a school dance. So make the most of these events! Take a chance, ask who you want to ask, dance with someone special, embrace it, enjoy it, and make good memories that you can carry with you until the day you are asked to chaperone your own teenager’s dance!