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Decorating to dancing

The ins-and-outs of dance setup

Elder's dances this year can happen anywhere

Elder's dances this year can happen anywhere

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This time of year across the country, schools are holding fall dances for their students to enjoy. However, most students don’t realize all the time and effort that goes into making a dance a success. I talked to Elder’s very own dance organizers to get the scoop on what it takes to make the bass drop.

The dance staff in top gear

Mr. Dave Reiring has been running Elder dances for several years. Seventeen years, in fact. He had some insightful views into the preparation aspect of dances. He informed me that “Prom usually costs around $10,000. $8,000 for renting the space, and the rest goes towards the DJ, decorations, and other stuff. The Fall dance (what used to be Victory Dance) costs around $5,000.” Since the location makes up most of the cost, I asked about what went into picking a location. Mr. Reiring responded, “We traditionally went to Woodlands, but people started to think that was uncool around six years ago.

We usually try the Syndicate since we’ve worked with them before and they offer us a good deal. Paul Brown Stadium and the Newport Aquarium would be nice, but they’re too expensive (usually around 25% more expensive). Right now, we’re looking at the Zoo for around $4,000.”

— Mr. Reiring

Another important part of the dance is what people wear. More specifically, if it’s a formal or informal. When asked if he liked one over the other Reiring replied, “I have no preference. I just see what the students want. Usually, the students themselves don’t know what they want. The Fall dance may be more casual. I know for sure that Victory Dance is going away because of declining numbers and the possibility of football playoffs, if we go that far.”

In the future, Mr. Reiring is broadening his horizons for locations. “We’re looking at Music Hall, among other places.” Now that we know about the dance setup, it’s time we look someone who works during the dances to make them better, Mr. Flaherty.

Mr. Flaherty is often the muscle behind the dances, so I figured that he could flex some knowledge on dance preparation. Many people have been wondering why Mr. Flaherty is at every dance, so that made for a good first question. As he told me, “I show up, make sure the kids are there on time, make sure they’re not intoxicated, make sure they’re dates are having fun. I’m there to make sure it’s a joyful night.”

He just wants to make sure everybody has a good time, something that he didn’t really have at his senior prom. “I went to prom senior year with my friend and two girls. When we got inside, my date said she had to use the bathroom. I never saw her again. The same thing happened with my friend and his date. We rode to prom in a limo with four people, and ended up going home with just us two.”

This year, Mr. Flaherty wants things to be a little different at the dances. “[I want] everybody to show up and have a good time. I want to make sure that everybody’s involved and that their dates are having fun too. Sometimes in the past, there would be a pocket of people dancing and a pocket of people not participating. There was even a time when a group of guys was sitting off to the side playing cards. While that’s fun, it’s not really what the dances are for.”

Thanks to Mr. Flaherty, we know what goes on during the dance. Yet, there’s still work to be done, even after the DJ drives away.

Mrs. Hirth and her son, senior Connor Hirth, work on the yearbook all year long to get the best product possible. I found them in the office one day and asked them about the work after the dance. Mrs. Hirth told me that Mr. Klusman and Executive Studios take the pictures and give them to the yearbook to edit. “We usually get around 110 from Klusman and 70 from Executive. I’m at the occasional dance to take pictures, but usually we just get them from our sources.”

When asked about their favorite part of the dances, Connor responded “The pre-meal. We gather around, eat, you know.” Mrs. Hirth responded just as thoroughly, claiming “I really like the dancing (especially the Bruce Springsteen songs).” Since they work on the yearbook, I asked the Hirth’s an important question: What is the best way to get your picture on the dance page? Mrs. Hirth responded “Pick a creative pose. Last year, we had Jack Sunderman crowdsurfing as the dance section picture.” Connor added “Creative poses are good.” Great minds think alike, it seems.

There’s a surprising amount of work that goes into each and every dance. Whether it’s finding a location and decorating it, providing security, or capturing the night in photos, there are several aspects that students do not notice that go into a dance. Make sure to take advantage of this hard work by going to the dances this year and thanking those that do so much for us.

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Decorating to dancing