Column: Decline in dance popularity due to varying reasons
April 3, 2017
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The idea of the school dance has been around for decades. It has survived through questionable dance crazes and even more questionable fashion trends. Parents can recall their proms and “mixers,” and maybe even provide a few embarrassing pictures to go along with them.
However, as time has passed by, a certain idea has become apparent within this generation: school dances at Lovejoy just aren’t as popular as they once were. Taking the trends I have seen and drawing upon my own experiences, I believe there are three top causes responsible for declining school dance attendance.
- Student Attitude
There is a common tendency to look at school dances and immediately write them off as being “too cliche,” or “too lame.” But students get out of a school dance what they put into it. Of course, there are some extraneous variables that could factor into a dance going wrong that you simply can’t control, but generally, it’s your attitude that matters.
Your school dances have the potential to be a fun and memorable night or a complete bust. Which scenario you experience mostly depends upon your mindset entering the dance. If you expect it to be “lame,” then your actions are going to reflect that.
It’s becoming a lot easier (and a lot cheaper) to just get together with a bunch of friends to hang out, instead of paying money to go to a dance that they may not enjoy. The price of dance tickets aren’t horrendous, with the most expensive being prom (where tickets start at $50 if the student goes for the early purchase). However, the cost of tickets is only a small part of the money that is put into that night. The dress, jewelry, shoes, and– it all adds up to a lot for just one night. So, it’s understandable for a friend group to skip out on the dance in favor of a considerably more laid back night together.
- Social Media
I’m not about to go on a very mom-esque rant about how cellphones are destroying the teenage way of life. However, I can also see how certain trends are playing into the decline of school dance attendance. With the integration of social media into the average teenager’s life, it has become increasingly easy to stay plugged into the life of fellow peers.
Where school dances were once a way for the student body to get together and socialize, the introduction of social media has allowed the opportunity for all of your friends to be a Snap or Tweet away. Prom and Homecoming have managed to stay popular because of their formal nature, but it is the dances in between that have suffered from this social media advancement. Hanging out with your group of friends in person and plugging into the lives of your other peers through social media has become the norm. You just have to remember that these dances are moments you’ll remember for years to come. There’s a limited amount of years that you get to go to them, so you might as well make the most of it.
The trend that we see with school dance attendance is not inherently bad. It just means that times are changing and the way that we, as students, interact with each other is shifting away from the school dance. This doesn’t mean that school dances can’t be enjoyed, however. In fact, I encourage you to make the most of the school dance that you attend. Whether attendance is through the roof or not, it still has the potential to be a great night.
For those planning the events, it’s important to keep in mind the involvement and wants of your student body. It can not be assumed that every class will want to go to the same type of get together. instead of going with the same traditional school dance, explore new options. Send out polls to the student base, ask them what they would like to see in a student function, they’ll be more likely to attend if it’s something that they suggested and wanted. Times shift and so too do the attitudes and interests of high school students but school dances don’t have to be a thing of the past. All it takes is some reevaluation, reinvention, and a little creativity.