Is high school dance attendance on the decline?

by Erin Burke, Opinion

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Many people believe that school dances are not as popular as they used to be. The decline in school dance attendance could be due to any number of causes. Some students believe that school dances are too expensive, or not worth the cost of admission.

On occasion, school dances can fall on days that are already busy with extracurricular activities. Others argue that the music is not good enough, or that there is not a fun atmosphere at school dances.

On the other hand, many people enjoy school dances, and plan to attend as many as they can.

A sophomore explained how she felt about school dances: “They’re just boring, nobody really gets into it. The location is uncomfortable and too confined. I feel very crowded, overwhelmed, and annoyed at the school dances.”

Others went on to explain that they would rather arrange other activities for themselves on Homecoming night than “waste” the money on going to the dance. Also, the day of the Homecoming dance was busy for many student athletes. The boys’ varsity tennis team traveled to Northpointe Christian, and both the girls and boys cross country competed in the Portage Invitational.

Understandably, it would have been difficult for students involved in these activities to have had enough time to get themselves ready to go to the dance after arriving home from their events.

Many students get dressed up, take photos, go to a nice dinner, but then find other places to hang besides the school-sponsored dance.

At the first school dance, on September 15, there was no pressure to dress nicely because it was an informal dance. The purpose was simply to gather some students together to have a good time after a home football game.  Additionally, there was no cost of admission.

A junior expressed, “I thought the free dance was fun. More people went than I expected.” This student also planned to attend Homecoming the following month. Other students enjoy school dances because they like the opportunity to meet and hang out with students that they otherwise would not socialize with.

Many people are in favor of school dances and all they have to offer, but others are not. Perhaps there are opportunities to improve school dances that would increase participation.

For example, rather than hiring a DJ, groups of students could take turns creating playlists with their spotify accounts.

Or if a student was in a band, maybe that band could perform for all or part of a dance. Additionally, if student council organized decorating committees and included students who are not involved in student council, it might expand enthusiasm for the dances as well as a sense of ownership among more students.

On a side note, the Homecoming dance this year was well-attended, with nearly 500 students participating. So the attraction is there, but the question remains: Why don’t more students attend high school dances?

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Is high school dance attendance on the decline?