The Homecoming Dance is one of the most anticipated events of the school year. Following countless festivities throughout the week, the dance is the finale to a representation of school spirit. But this particular school year, a new rule enforced against inappropriate dancing spun a twist on Lancer pride.
The student body responded quickly and voiced their concerns, relying on Student Council to work with faculty members for a resolution. However, the faculty stood firmly behind the rule. As a result, the anticipation and ticket sales for the Homecoming Dance were not as high as the past. The dance became a showcase of student opinion.
According to Kiera Finelli (`11), members on the Student Council discussed alternatives in order to deal with the dancing rule, but no one could agree. Finelli (`11) proposed that the school focus the rules for dances on under-age drinking and safety rather than dancing. She says, “It was as if we were at a complete standstill, and nothing we proposed could sway their opinions. The rule was only going to continue to be enforced.” As Mr. Teisl had previously shared in Convocation, Gilmour is a Catholic School and students should present themselves in an appropriate manner.
Days before the Homecoming dance, Mr. Horgan, Director of the Upper School, sent an email to the parents with links to videos that displayed examples of inappropriate dancing. The video triggered emotions of both students and parents. Some parents were in shock to think that this type of dancing really occurs at dances. But many students felt mischaracterized by the examples. “Nobody really dances the way they did in the videos,” says Ryan Shepard (`11). Gordon Wells (`11) agrees. “It got blown way out of proportion.”
To some students, the new dancing rule is unreasonable. “As long as students keep the dancing relatively under control, we should be able to dance as we want,” says Kaitlyn Ambrose (`11). “We’re not all looking to go crazy, but our music
and our dancing is just the way it is now a days. Our parents and teachers might not always understand our perspective.” As Taylor Broadbent (`11) says, “It’s the dance of our time. To us, this isn’t a big deal.” But would the rule be enough to stop students from dancing the way they choose?
On the night of the Homecoming Dance, a group of students ignored the dancing restrictions and danced inappropriately. After an initial warning, certain students were asked to leave the dance. Almost all of the upperclassmen followed and chose to leave the dance, including members of the Student Council. But as senior class officer Caton Gomillion (`11) emphasizes, she and other members of the Cabinet did not leave to cause trouble. “We only left because we simply weren’t having fun,” she
The disapproving perspective from students has left one defining question, where do we go from here? As proven when students were asked to leave the dance, the dancing rule is not going away, whether or not students agree. But with such strong views from students and administration, is there a middle ground? What’s in store for dances in the future?
Mrs. Kenny is one faculty member who has taken the initiative to promote her own concerns and work with Student Council to help find the best solution. Although she does not feel the students are wrong for voicing their opinions, she is baffled they cannot understand why the administration will not condone inappropriate dancing. “It is extremely uncomfortable to chaperone a dance, watching some students dance in a way that is suggestive,” Mrs. Kenny says.
Mrs. Kenny and Mrs. Brubaker are helping the seniors organize an alternative event. “We are trying to explore another type of winter gathering, such as a Winter Fest,” Mrs. Kenny says.
But some students such as Alex Venzor (`11) feel that unless the dancing rule is removed, the lack of attendance in dances will continue. “Nobody is going to want to go if we can’t dance the way we want. It’s just the reality of the situation,” Venzor (`11) says.
The determining factor for the future of Gilmour dances and activities now lies at the heart of cooperation between students and administration. “Initially the new restrictions may impact dance attendance negatively, but I don’t see that as the major issue,” says Mrs. Kenny. “I am sad that the students do not see possibilities for dances that include other types of dancing.” But with the way society is advancing, this problem will not be quick to fade. “As time goes, dancing evolves,” says Connor Deckard (`11). “The way we dance is our norm. We’re not engaging in a violent protest. We’re just trying to get the faculty to understand where we’re coming from.” With two sides passionate about their beliefs, it will take effort from both sides to move forward.
Regardless of whatever type of winter event is planned, it will require extensive help from the senior class in terms of time, money, and manpower. Mrs. Kenny says, “Because seniors often set the tone for a school, their participation in our traditions is important.”