Hopkins Students Review School Dances
Throughout the year, Hopkins hosts several school dances, including Homecoming, Yule, and Sadie’s.
Dances offer students an opportunity to socialize on campus while enjoying music and dancing together. However, it seems that there is a hint of dissatisfaction among a portion of students. The question stands: does the student body enjoy dances, and how can they be made better?
Serena Ta ’20 answered for herself in one word: “Sometimes.” Her response, though terse, most accurately sums up students’ divided opinions on dances. “I love getting out on the dance foor, and being in the moment with my friends,” said Kit Illick ’21. Others disagree; Eva Brander Blackhawk ’20 said, “No. I would much rather hang out with friends at someone’s house. I don’t really have fun at dances.”
This year’s Homecoming dance, the frst dance of the year for the Upper School, was held in the gym. This was a change from previous dances held in Heath. Madeleine Walker ’19, Senior Class President, said, “The dance location was changed from Heath to the gym because there was an event going on in Upper Heath the next day, and there wouldn’t be enough time for...maintenance...to put the furniture back before it started.”
The majority of students attended the Homecoming dance; Walker reported that around 65-75% of the student body bought tickets. Some students found the gym provided a better venue for the dance than previous events in Heath. Illick noted that events in Heath had been nice but “the gym had more room.” Nick Wilkinson ’21 also enjoyed the change from Heath to the gym for Homecoming. He said, “It afforded fewer opportunities for sitting, which meant students had to get up and dance. I would like the rest of the school dances to be held in the gym.” Kenny Lu ’19 countered: “Heath on both levels works well. The gym feels a little too large, but with the right improvements could be made to work.” Students have also suggested that there should be a disco ball added to the decorations to add some extra lights, less faculty supervision, more advertising, or even a collaboration with other schools such as Choate, Hamden Hall or Hotchkiss for a cross dance.
At Homecoming a DJ played a variety of music, including works by Travis Scott, Fountains of Wayne, and Ed Sheeran. Colored lights fashed with the beat of the music. However, some students think that the music at school dances is not up to par. Fiona Li ’22 said, “The DJ lowkey played a bunch of songs I’ve never heard of. It’s a bit overwhelming.”
The food offered at Homecoming spanned a wide array of types including candy, cupcakes, cookies, Fruit Roll Ups, lemonade and soda. In Illick’s words, “They had it all.” Walker commented on the noshes and nibbles at Homecoming, “The snacks this year were incredible because we had so many generous parents who donated a variety of foods, from red velvet cupcakes to Capri Suns to chips.” The cuisine at last year’s Sadie’s was especially popular because it featured a chocolate fountain. “It was a mess to make and diffcult to handle, but the work paid off and I think everyone enjoyed it!” said Katherine Takoudes ’20.
The question of whether or not dances are too infrequent is also up for debate. “Three is a solid amount,” said an anonymous senior. Lu said, “I wouldn’t complain if there were more dances; Term II especially feels like it has fewer breaks in the normal school schedule.” For those who think the dances are too few in number or too large in population, there are also student-organized dances such as Pride Prom, organized by Sexuality and Gender Advocates, or SAGA, and the SURE dance, organized by Students United for Racial Equity. The SURE dance has featured fun themes such as Decades or Kaichella, and Pride Prom has offered and encouraged otherwise unconventional forms of self-expression like dressing in drag.
Since they are student-run, one can be sure to fnd a peer at the DJ booth running the music. SAGA was strongly suggested to send out a spreadsheet asking for song suggestions from students for last year’s dance. They received over ffty responses, equalling close to three hours of song chosen by the attendees themselves. Walker commented on student DJ of several past dances, Jeff Basta ’18, including last year’s SURE dance: “I always thought it was cool when Jeff Basta played songs that he made with other students like Caitlin Gilroy [’18].”