Hey ASB! What’s up!? You throwing a dance? Great! This is a message for the dance committee:
I was on ASB once. It was hard. We were asked to organize a dance and the biggest thing I’d ever organized was my Lego collection. Needless to say, it did not turn out that great. Fast-forward to today: I’m here now to help you be a legend. I’m here to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I made when I was in your shoes. So, listen up!
The first thing you need to do is throw out everything you’ve learned about dances so far. SCHOOL DANCES CAN BE AMAZING. Trust me. I’ve worked with schools who have it figured out, and year-after-year they have legendary dances. Their key to success? It’s simple: solid planning and resourcefulness.
Making a plan and sticking with it is difficult. You’ll need help from your advisor to figure out a lot of things, but remember that they’re just there to “advise”–that means you have to do the work if you want your dance to be amazing.
1. Make a Plan
Ask for help: Contact your PTA and Booster Club. Tell them what you’d like to do and see if they’ll support you with loaned items or a little extra cash.
Pick your dates: You should aim to organize all of your dances at the beginning of the year. Pick dates that work well with your school’s academic calendar. The sooner you get these dates on the books, the sooner you can advertise them. Aim for at least three dances, but I think four is the best number: Homecoming, Winter, Spring, Prom/End-of-Year.
Find your location: Depending on your school and budget, you may be able to have your dance away from the school. If you need to have it on campus, will you have it in the gym or the commons? Maybe do an outside dance in the courtyard? In any case, it doesn’t really matter. A great party can happen anywhere. If you’re able to have your dance off-campus, call around for deals. Ask venues and community centers to donate or reduce the price of their space for the evening. You may be surprised what you discover. Local businesses want to help schools.
Arranging your space: We get it. Construction paper is free. But maybe you’re over-doing it? Consider these alternatives:
- Table linens – White tablecloths make everything look nice. Call a few rental places and see if they’ll cut you a deal. Or, look on Craigslist. Once you buy them, they can be reused over and over again for future dances.
- Vintage-style string lighting – You know the strings with the big bulbs? They’re classy, and I bet someone on the PTA has a few strands they can loan you.
- Balloons – I say don’t do it. There’s nothing relaxing or enjoyable about the sound of hundreds of popping balloons. It also takes a really long time to blow them up.
Activities: Here’s a pretty obvious fact: A lot of students don’t want (or know how) to dance. Consider a MarioKart or Super Smash Bros. tournament on the projector screen next to the dance floor. Or maybe some more traditional carnival-style games like ringtoss. As your DJ and MC, I will get your fellow students pumped on all of the possibilities. I will also show them how to dance the Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Dougie, and more.
Food: Pizza is a good start, but why not sell other options too? Your school’s lunch staff may be able to help out with cookies or other snacks. Sell a “signature” drink like Shirley Temples or Fruit Punch. If you can pull it off, you might even consider hiring a caterer or food truck. Often, food trucks (and ice cream trucks!) will come at no cost if you advertise they’ll be there in advance.
2. Be Resourceful
Ask your community for help: If your school has a PTA or Booster Club, now is the time to get their help. Ask local businesses and families to make donations. If you ask, I bet you’ll be surprised by the outcome.
Ninja Marketing: Posters aren’t enough to get kids excited about a dance. Consider using a hashtag on Instagram or a filter on Snapchat to spread the word about your upcoming dance. Make use of the morning announcements and the school newspaper. Ask me for help on this–I have some ideas.
3. Call me.
For real. Do it. I have been to so many poorly organized dances in my career as a DJ. Let me help you avoid all of it. I will meet you during your ASB period at school and help your leadership team put on an amazing dance.