My first official school dance was the 5th grade Square Dance. (Yes, you read that right. No, I'm not from a farming community.) For weeks in advance, we learned some two-steps during gym class and shyly practiced do-si-do-ing during recess. On the big night, clad in denim skirts, my friends and I French-braided our hair and reapplied our lip gloss in the girls’ bathroom before we braved the dance floor. Despite our nerves, the dance turned out to be pretty awesome. There were specific steps to follow and partners to choose, so everyone felt the same level of moderate humiliation and immense relief. We were in it together.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, school dances are part of life. And whether you’re Team Yay or Team Nay (or Team I’m-Way-Too-Busy-With-Homework-and-Sports-To-Care-About-School-Dances-Anyway), lots of books feature them, and it’s fun to compare the reality versus what authors dream up!
For instance, my Square Dance simply cannot compare to the awesomely magical Yule Ball that Harry Potter and friends get to attend in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Come to think of it, not even my fancy senior prom could compare to the show that Hogwarts puts on!) But there are less elaborate, though equally exciting, school dances found in other books, like the Halloween dance that the Baby-sitter’s Club members get to dress up for in Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, or the annual winter dance Addie and friends attend in Wish Upon a Star (How I Survived Middle School #11).
So what do you all think about school dances — love 'em or hate 'em? And have you ever read about a fictional school dance you wish you could attend?
— Morgan, Scholastic staffer