Time to get your freak on?

Time to get your freak on?

Kriti Garg

After the Welcome Back Dance "freak police" debacle, student-based dance committee serves as liaison between student body and administration; updated dance policy starts another stir

Almost immediately after the Welcome Back Dance ended, students began voicing their opinions on the changes at the dance and the new "face-to-face with a little bit of space" policy. School Loop discussions on the dance dominated both 2011 and 2010’s discussion boards, and by talking to students, administration realized that not only did students have concerns about the dance policies, but also about the lack of communication between the student body and administration. A dance committee was created in order to help bridge the gap.

The dance committee is composed of eight ASB Leadership students, one male and one female representative from each grade, selected at random.

"The purpose of the dance committee was to gain student feedback on creating a dance policy and work together to try and make everyone happy,"  Dean of Students Denae Moore said.

One of the first steps the committee took was to survey students on their initial reactions to what administration referred to as "booty dancing" and on how they would feel if their parents or grandparents came to a dance. Many students viewed these questions as leading, stating that dances are social activities with their peers, and that parents and grandparents would likely view other similar activities with shock, too.

"It’s just like I wouldn’t want my parents in the room when I have friends over because it’s just a kid thing, that parents shouldn’t be involved in,"  freshman Hadar Sachs said.

Students were also concerned about how effective the committee members would be in relaying their opinion to administration, as the administration liaison to the committee was Moore, a Leadership teacher. Students felt that the committee members would not be able to speak out against a ban on freaking because it would affect their grade in the class. However, some committee members viewed her as an asset to the committee.

"We actually have a direct connection with a person who changes the policies, and it also allows us to freely open up ourselves and say what we think students want," committee member junior George Chen said.

After meetings and email exchanges, the committee released a list of changes that would be applied to the Homecoming Dance. Music will be a combination of hip-hop, 80s and 90s "dance grooves", techno and slow songs. In place of the heavily-discussed floodlights, decorations will include low-lighting installed by Christmas lights.  The DJ will be placed in the center of the gym on a raised platform and bleachers may be pulled out for people to sit on or place their belongings on.

A separate dance policy directly addressing the physical act of dancing was released on Friday, Oct. 2, by Moore. While, the official policy stated that "extreme displays of ‘freak’ dancing are inappropriate", during the Sept. 29 Leadership Council, the dance committee stated that mild freaking will be allowed at the Homecoming Dance.

However, the dance policy also stated that "all students are expected to dance facing one another."  It was further stated that "students who do not adhere to these guidelines will be asked to dance appropriately," and if they do not observe the rules, they will be asked to exit the dance.

On Monday, Moore clarified, stating that the term "face-to-face" would be the "common language" used between students and administration to signify "mild" freaking.

"When [administration] says ‘face-to-face’, they aren’t really saying ‘face-to-face’, they are saying tone it down. That’s just the common language they want to use," committee member freshman Nikitas Kanellokopoulos said.

Not all of the dance committee members felt that the policy is concrete or if the proposed goal is even feasible.

"Personally, I have no idea how administration is going to enforce this," committee member senior Andrew Stewart said. "I have no clue what their expectations are for acceptable and non-acceptable freaking."

Administration has stated that although the majority of students are resisting the change, they do so without any valid reason.  Students have voiced disbelief and outrage at the claim, referring to discussions on School Loop and through word of mouth, and feel that administration is being unreasonable.

"I’m not disrespecting myself – don’t tell me I am. The other people around me, they are dancing the same way I am, I don’t think they are disrespecting me or themselves, so I don’t think [administration has] valid points," School Loop discussion contributor senior Rachel Major said, referring to the first line of the policy "Students are expected to treat each other with dignity and dance moves should show respect for self and others".

"I think it is going to be very hard to reach a compromise regarding this issue even with the new dance policy," Stewart said.  "Eventually, there are only three outcomes – [administration] gives in and realizes they can’t stop [students] freaking, they eliminate dances, or they increase security dramatically so that there is no freaking."

Unfortunately for students and the dance committee, the final say lies with administration.

"I don’t want students to end up thinking that we aren’t doing our job," committee member junior Angeline Chen said.  "It’s difficult.  We’re up against the people who run everything.  If they want to change something, they can do whatever they want."

To contact the dance committee, contact freshmen Nikitas Kanellokopoulos or Cathy Ang, sophomores Ryan Chui or Steffanie Sum, juniors George Chen or Angeline Chen, or seniors Andrew Stewart or Vaishnavi Vaidya.