Alternative School, Alternative Dance


Vampire and Ninja text the DJ with a song they want to hear.

It’s late on a Friday night. Music is thumping, lights are flashing and a swarm of teenagers are jumping to the sound of Cascada. Seems like a typical high school dance, right? Not so. The dancers include Pikachu, Pebbles Flintstone, and Belle, without her Beast.

This is Community High’s annual Halloween Dance. It is anything but typical.

The music is as diverse as the dancers themselves. The eclectic selection of songs ranges from ABBA to The Clash.

Costumed students dance in Craft Theater on Friday, October 30th.
Costumed students dance in Craft Theater on Friday, October 30th.

Bozo the Clown and his costumed counterparts wouldn’t be dancing if it weren’t for the DeWoskin Forum. “I have done this dance every year since forever,” said Judith. For close to 25 Octobers Judith and her students have made this tradition possible.

Each fall whimsical posters appear, lining the hallways a week before the dance, advertising the coming event. Decorations are set up the night of the festivities, but planning begins almost a month in advance. The DeWoskin forum must arrange the music, sign up chaperones and sell tickets.

This year, DeWoskin forum member Megan Shiplett’s father Michael deejayed the dance with music provided by the forum. Judith is used to getting complaints about the music, but this year every genre was acknowledged and no grievances were filed.

At this year’s dance, attendees could text the deejay with the name of a song they wanted played. “We make sure there is a wide spectrum of music so that we don’t irritate the techno kids, the old Beatles lovers, the Top 40s [kids], disco–whatever it is that people want. It’s gotta be there,” Judith said. It could be the wide variety of music that makes Community’s Halloween Dance unusual.

Vampire and Ninja text the DJ with a song they want to hear.
Vampire and Ninja text the DJ with a song they want to hear.

The contrast is obvious to students as well as teachers. “Community’s dance is smaller, less crowded and there is less grinding,” said Rachel Xydis, a freshman at Skyline High School.

Even though the dance is chaotic, it still maintains a level of propriety. “People ask me how I feel about kids’ dancing that’s too inappropriate or snuggly. But kids, they just jump up and down… They look like a bunch of pogo sticks,” said Judith.

On a holiday such as Halloween, when some young women choose to dress inappropriately, there were very few that did so. This departure from normal Halloween behavior makes Community’s dance unique.

Everyone came to the dance for different reasons. Connor Haines, a junior at Community, came to the dance on an impulse; to people watch. It seems everyone was comfortable with his or her own role, whether it be dancing, chaperoning or watching.

It’s this level of comfort that allows a group of teenagers to willingly mouth the words to “Every Time We Touch” while dressed as nerds, TV characters and princesses. The Community High Halloween Dance is nothing if not unorthodox.

Click here for more photos of the dance.

Listen to Judith describe her favorite costumes.