Time to Rethink the Fall Dance?


Mr. Crisafi

A crowd of sixth graders pose for a group selfie during the dance in the gym on October 6, 2017.

The Middle School doesn’t have to hold a dance for students every year. However, it has been a TBS tradition for a long time. Maybe too long, as it seems less and less students attend every year. However, according to the administration, the dance is a great time for the students to socialize with everyone, and focus on something other than school work.

Dean of Students, Mr. Jeffrey Cavallo, who planned the event, feels that the dance boosts school spirit. “Any type of activity where we can bring people together, whether it’s students, faculty, [or] parents, and have fun is great for school spirit. This is a great opportunity for kids to come to school, have a good time, [and] enjoy each other in a non-academic setting.”

  This year, the Middle School Dance was held on October 6.  The sixth grade danced from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the seventh and eighth grade danced from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Mr. Crisafi
The gym was trimmed with inflatable palm trees, colorful lights, and beach balls.

The dance’s theme was “the beach” which was chosen by the Middle School Student Council. “[Student Council] brainstormed, and then we voted democratically on which [theme] we would go with,” said English teacher and Student Council Co-Advisor Mr. Nathan Ginnetty.

For the dance, students were allowed to wear appropriate beach attire, such as beach-length cover ups, sundresses, shorts, tee-shirts, rash guards, and boardshorts. The gym was divided in half, with the east side being used as the dance floor. The lights were turned off, and the gym was decked out with inflatable palm trees, beach balls, and multicolored lights. For snacks, Dean of Students Mr. Jeffrey Cavallo provided mini pretzels, Oreos, Nutter Butter cookies, and different types of soda, such as Pepsi, Fanta, and Mountain Dew.

The deejay played new and popular music such as “Something Just Like This” by the Chainsmokers, and he also played some dance-inducing hits like the “Cha Cha Slide” by DJ Casper.

The sixth graders danced, ran around, and seemed to enjoy their first middle school dance. “The beach theme was cool with the beach balls,” said sixth grader Hannah Beam, “and I liked the decorations.” Sixth grader Sophia Maciel agreed. “I liked the dance a lot,” she said. “It was really fun to hang out with everyone.”

Unfortunately, the seventh and eighth graders seemed indifferent in comparison to the sixth graders. More students stayed home than attended, and many of the students weren’t into the songs the DJ was spinning. They tried requesting several rap songs instead, most of which were explicit. “A lot of the songs that [the students] were requesting had bad language,” said middle school dance teacher Mrs. Rachel Rudner, who chaperoned the dance. In addition, the seventh and eighth graders seemed to be more interested in their phones. It was like the phones were glued to their hands and they could not stop staring them. Many of the students were checking out their Snapchat accounts instead of dancing and socializing.

This made the dance extremely tedious for some students, such as seventh grader Nico Frezin, who stated, “I wish I didn’t come. I could have been at home studying [and] trying to get into a boarding school.”

Other students felt the dance lacked energy.  “I don’t think it was that fun because not a lot of people showed up,” said an eighth grader who wished to remain anonymous.

Some didn’t bother showing up at all.

“Last year it was kind of boring because all people did was walk around,” said seventh grader Kiran Spencer. “There [are] things I

Darian Salehi
With so few people to dance with, seventh grader Samantha Treadwell resorts to partnering with a palm tree.

would rather do on weekends [besides going] to the dance,” he said.

The fact that many of the seventh and eighth graders simply sat on the bleachers staring at their phones was troubling for the faculty and administration.

“[The amount of people on their phones] certainly was more than I’ve ever seen before and in a way defeated the purpose of the dance,” said Cavallo. “[So next year], we will have to at least collect the phones upon entry, so that they’re able to dance and socialize as opposed to [sitting] in the bleachers on their phones,” said Cavallo.

Rudner attempted to get students off their phones by gathering them to play a fun game. She had everyone close their eyes and then tapped one person on the shoulder, designating that person as “the killer.” Then, once everyone’s eyes were open, each student had to find another student with which to shake hands. However, if the killer tapped someone’s hand with two fingers, then that person was out of the game and had to sit down. This went on until the group could identify “the killer.”

The game kept students occupied for a while, but as soon as the game ended, many students went up to the bleachers, sat down, and resumed their phone obsession. “[People being on their phones] is just the norm these days,” said Rudner. “I think everyone walks with their head down on their phones. It’s what seventh and eighth graders do. [They need to realize] it’s okay to dance with other people.”

“Usually, the sixth graders attend,” said Cavallo. “Seventh grade attendance is pretty much what we expect, and then typically the eighth graders do not attend the first dance.”

So, how could the dance be better so that more students would want to go?

“I would plan out more events and games,” said seventh grader Eric Levine. “Some of the teachers tried to, but it didn’t work too well.”

“[I would] add more stuff to the dance like [better] music and activities,” remarked fellow seventh grader Antonio Gambino.

Hopefully next year, the Middle School and Student Council can come up with some ideas to keep students off their screens and on the dance floor.