Take a trip down memory lane

Brett Zeck, Staff Reporter

The groove is gone.
As the excitement surrounding high school dances dies out, and with prom holding on as the sole trademark of the teenage experience, adults reminisce and reflect on their dance experiences.
“There was more enthusiasm around my school 12 or so years ago,” Ben Daniels, social studies teacher and Blacksburg High’s 2002 Homecoming King said.
At his Virginia high school, they had the whole package: Sadie Hawkins, homecoming, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and of course, prom.
Tracy Curcio, a Wake Forest parent, remembers how at their dances they would have sock hops to avoid scuffing the basketball courts.
“Everyone wanted to go to our dances,” Curcio said. “The dancing was more appropriate, nothing dirty. They were also on Saturday, so they could be longer, and we could have time to decorate.”
A lot has changed in the last decade or two.
Psychology teacher Rachel Prather sees today’s generation of social events as “a lot fancier than just nine years ago.” In her words, “the quality has gone up in terms of decorations.”
Art teacher Beth Huffman expanded on this notion.
“You have kids riding horse and carriage to the prom and limousines,” Huffman said. “It’s crazy what people shell out to go to dances these days, and a lot of them come late and leave early.”
Past estimates of dances are said to range from free to several dollars, with prom being the most expensive – with prices as high as $20 per person, $30 per couple, according to Curcio.
Today, with less attendance and a trend in expensive décor, prices are “insane” in Huffman’s opinion.
Yesterday’s attitude for dances was much more positive than today’s. Some adults have opinions on how teens today carry themselves.
“Dances were much less provocative back then, and we spent more time at the actual dance instead of worrying about an after party,” Prather said.
Prather recalls that twerking had not yet been invented. “I think we would’ve twerked all night,” she said jokingly.
According to parents and teachers, the mentality of dances used to be centered around all students participating and having a good time.
“In our day, most people danced like Michael Jackson or did the robot type dance,” parent Stuart Lamm said.
Justin Richards, an English teacher known for his third place win in a seventh grade dance off, says the answer to life’s questions is to “just dance, dance your heart out.”
“Back in the day, it was just more about having fun,” he said. “Now it’s like a mating thing.”
According to Huffman, there’s also been a trend in less student involvement in decorating.
“Instead of a big company coming in and making a production of things, students were responsible for all of the decorating,” Huffman said. “It was a lot of fun, a lot more student involvement than adults organizing everything for the students as they do today.”
English teacher John Cook was part of all aspects of his senior prom in 1992. At his high school, they had started set up weeks prior to the occasion.
Parent Tara Lowman, remembers her senior year prom as well.
“Just dancing–I love dancing. My friends and I all went together,” she said. “No boys, no drama, just truly had a ball.”