Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Zoë Rizzo, Flushing

Why are school dances sometimes supported by students, and other times students are not interested or enthusiastic about them at all? At our school, the student council enthusiastically planned a semiformal dance for the ninth-graders because everyone on the council really wanted to have a dance. The dance for the same class of students in the eighth grade was a huge success, and more than half of the 500 students in the grade went. They thought another dance would be a hit, but due to the lack of students signing up to go, it was canceled. What changed in one year? Why did students love the idea in eighth grade, but not want it in ninth grade?

The student council took a poll to find out what the students’ opinions were about having the dance but changing it from a semiformal to a more casual dance. In total, 321 kids responded, and only 106 said they would go if it was changed because a semiformal was too much work. Most students still did not support a school dance of any kind, even a more casual dance, and only four more students actually bought tickets. Therefore, even when the idea of a more casual dance was proposed, there was not much interest anyway.

When I spoke with some girls, they said they did not want to go through the trouble of prepping themselves for a semiformal, and also getting a dress, doing their make-up, getting their hair done, etc. Some boys said last year’s dance was fun, but they just sat around and hung out with their friends, so they would not be interested in doing the same.

I think part of the problem is also due to the fact that we had a very big, special and successful dance last year, and in just a couple of years we have the junior and senior proms, so there is no need or interest in having a dance in ninth grade.