Summer Never Ends dance, held Aug. 30, aimed to foster welcoming environment

Amrutha Dorai

Welcome Back dance introduced theme, movie and change in location.

Traditionally, the Welcome Back dance is the only dance held in the rally court, while other dances are held in the gym. This year, however, that was not an option; with cafeteria construction blocking off a majority of the rally court, an alternate venue had to be determined.

The dance, held Aug. 30 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., was moved to the gym. The shift in location was only one of many changes to the dance. Due to the efforts of Leadership — in particular the Bull Spirit and Student Life commissions, according to Leadership advisor and Assistant Principal Mike White — the Welcome Back dance featured a theme and a movie for the first time ever.

The theme, “Summer Never Ends,” was apparent: Beach balls flew through the crowd, paper-crafted Hawaiian flowers decorated the bleachers, colorful leis were distributed in the gym lobby and a video of surfers was projected onto the inside gym wall. Alternative activities for those who preferred not to dance or wanted a break included a screening of “Lilo & Stitch” outside of the gym as well as games such as air hockey and arcade-style basketball.

According to Link Leader junior Kirtana Sripathi, the purpose of the theme, movie and games was to foster a welcoming atmosphere for all students.

“That way, [the dance wouldn’t] just be for the people who want to freak, it would be something that would be fun for everybody,” Sripathi said, adding that the Link team has been planning the Welcome Back dance since the Aug. 13 Link dance, which she said was aimed at teaching freshmen proper dance etiquette.

Senior Samuel Yen felt that the dance did in fact have a better environment than in years past.

“The previous times I came here, there was that funky kind of dancing, and I haven’t seen that since I came in,” Yen said as he watched “Lilo & Stitch.” “That type of dancing was making me uncomfortable … I feel like now, people are able to do diverse stuff.”

Although a policy designed to combat inappropriate dancing has existed for several years now, according to White, this was the first dance where Leadership and Link Crew were specifically charged with maintaining that policy. White said that the key to curbing freaking lies in students’ tendency emulate the behavior of campus leaders; in other words, if Leadership and Link Leaders model proper etiquette, the rest of the school will follow.

While this new approach did not eliminate freaking altogether, White acknowledged that it’s a process.

“It’s a long history that we’re trying to change,” White said. “I don’t think [we’ll] have to work as hard next year.”

[divider type=”thin”] [title type=”h2″]Students speak[/title][tabs class=”small_tabs”][tab title=”Freshman Flora Dong”]“I’m actually having a good time. I kind of knew it was going to be weird and inappropriate, but it turned out a little more than I [had] expected.” [/tab][tab title=”Senior Ryan Bishop”]“Last year’s senior class [went] a little harder than us, but this year, it was kind of scaled down.” [/tab][tab title=”Sophomore Joseph Hsiung”]“I didn’t think it would be this awkward… A lot of people have nothing to do now that the main activity has been taken away.”[/tab][tab title=”Senior Josh Sullivan”]“It’s really not going to change that much, people are still going to freak. Let me ask you a question, what other ways can you dance?” [/tab][/tabs]