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Senior Advice: The do’s and don’ts of school dances

By Gisselle Penuela Solis

Staff Writer 

While high school isn’t the musical I expected it to be, with dance battles going down every passing period and students spontaneously breaking into song, Summit Prep made up for it with extravagant school dances. Last year, I attended the enchanted forest-themed prom, and to be completely honest, I had no idea how to dress for the theme. So as any high schooler would do, I completely ignored the theme and went with my own.  An old Hollywood look inspired by Kim Kardashian’s dress at the Met Gala. Obviously, I couldn’t get my hands on Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the night, so I browsed every online dress shop until I found something similar. I ended up choosing a long sequin black dress, paired with a fur shawl and platform black heels.

On the day of, I skipped class to start the dress and makeup process. This meant skincare, hair, and practicing in high heels. It was just like the movies, music blasting and  Pinterest open on my vision board. Makeup was easy, since I had several vision boards I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I went simple with a smoky eye, lashes, and a bright red lip. We started the day with photos of me and my date at home with our families. Later, we met with our friends to take group photos at a park. After several photos, we were on our way to the prom. As music blasted and butterflies filled the car, we arrived in San Jose.

I remember entering and instantly feeling my heart sink to my stomach. Maybe it was the fur shawl or the late arrival that happened to turn heads. Before we could take a seat, we were pulled onto the dance floor as Corridos played. Dancing wasn’t easy with my heels, I actually don’t think what I did could even be considered dancing. At least the venue was nice and spacious so it wasn’t a complete mess, although it did miss the memo of the enchanted forest theme. I couldn’t exactly get into the strange song choices of Cha Cha Slide and Dancing Queen. After one dance, I was stumped. Before I knew it the dance was over, ending on another mediocre song. Saddened, we left for the hotel room to spend some more time with our group.

Looking back on my drab experience, here’s what I would’ve done differently:

  1. Student Senate plans our school dances, they often send out emails with surveys that help them make choices about everything from the music to the venue. Answering those surveys can help them get an accurate view of what the student body wants. I would’ve definitely wanted to help make choices on music!
  2. Corsages are flower pins and bracelets for couples going to the dance… my date and I sadly forgot all about this part. Corsages are a cute addition to your outfit, along with being a nice gesture to your date. Flower shops usually start selling these near prom season. Some stores that sell corsages include Safeway and Draeger’s. If you’re having a hard time finding corsages they’re pretty simple to make, there are several useful YouTube tutorials that could save you from going corsage-less.
  3. Being able to choose your dress or tux is so fun, I loved being able to express my style through my outfit. But one of my mistakes was dressing just for looks, not the dancing. Make sure your shoes are comfortable enough to sustain you on the dance floor.  Additionally, you don’t have to go all out and spend hundreds on your outfit. Personally, I got my dress from Fashion Nova. My favorite dress stores are Windsor, Macy’s, and Camille La Vie. Shopping early helps beat the prom rush and inflated prices.
  4. Photos are an underappreciated but essential part of prom. We’re lucky enough to have several good photo locations around us like Golden Gate Park. Inside the park there are several attractions, my favorites include The Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers, but these do cost admission. Closer to home, there’s Sharon Park and the Pulgas Water Temple which are both free.

I look forward to our school dance this year so I could dance with my friends and overall have fun. Don’t let your nerves ruin the chance of having a wonderful time with your friends or date. Hopefully, hearing about my bad experience along with these tips can help ease the anxiety of going to your next prom. 

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