Middle School Dances: The Good and the Bad

For many people this is what happens at the typical Middle School dance: you’re dancing, having so much fun, surrounded by friends, soda in hand, and your favorite Katy Perry song is blaring−and I mean BLARING−out of the speakers. For other people the experience is different. Not because of the song or the atmosphere, but because of the things that happen in their head. One thing I know for sure though. The dance revolves around gossip. I have heard countless gossip phrases from girls and boys. It sounds something like this: “OMG did you see what she was wearing!” or “Did you hear…he’s going to ask her to dance!” Don’t deny it, you’ve heard it all before. The comments of fashion terror, crushes, dancing, etc. are everywhere. I don’t think I took one step without hearing some piece of juicy gossip. It is like whisper-down-the-lane, that game you played in lower school; it can start as one thing and end as something completely different!

All the gossip feels forced. I think people do these sometimes crazy things (wall twerk, slow dance, bust out your worst dance moves, etc.) just to be that center of gossip attention. These rumors that float around are just there so that we are not standing awkwardly listening to music−yet that happens anyway. Have you ever noticed also that there is no actual dancing? Instead, there is the jumping in place, awkward standing and the slow dancing. When did jumping become dancing? Jumping is what happens when kids are jumping rope in gym class in Lower School.

Next, comes the slow dancing. The digital devices that surround that one poor couple are mortifying. Instagramming, phones clicking, oohing, aahing, laughing, drama−the list is endless. It is one of the most awkward things that will happen in Middle School for many people. Over the generations there have been many different dance moves for teenagers. The jitterbug, the disco, the hustle and others. One day we will be looking back and saying, “When I was a teenager I liked to wall twerk.” This is what we do.

Why is our generation’s dancing so horrific? The dancing that happens at the dance is not so great, which almost defeats the purpose of the occasion. Yet, for many students, these dances are the highlights of their school year. They might get to wear some nice clothes that they don’t usually wear.  The gossip might be nasty, but gives them a temporary thrill. Maybe they joined that dance circle that forms and got some laughs from doing some awesome break dancing. They got a hilarious picture of them on instagram that got over 100 likes. Some people like this kind of gossipy attention. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the dance fuels that attention.

And the dancing. A lot of people love to see their best friend finally get to dance with their crush. They might also get to be the total center of attention by wall twerking. They might be surrounded by friends and their favorite song is playing. Jumping up and down is fun when you have a catchy beat to the new Miley Cyrus song. There are so many ways to look at the dance. An anonymous 6th grader says: “I see it as a fun social event to be with your friends where everyone is dancing together. The dancing is quite stupid though.” An anonymous 7th grader says: “They don’t play very good music.” Another anonymous 7th grader says: “I feel like it’s alright. The music is really, really loud and isn’t so great. I like the group dances. You come to hang out with people. A lot of people come for the social part.”

What do you think?