Halloween dancing transcends the two-step
November 1, 2006
Long, long ago, junior high school students at Halloween dances did the "Monster Mash." The 2006 version, with dizzying ultra-high energy jumping and bumping and bouncing off one another in the dark, has mutated into "The Monster Mosh."
Hundreds of Ecker Hill International Middle School students coagulated after school in the spider-webbed, orange and black ballooned cafeteria for what was hoped would be a ghoulishly good grind. Troy Kearley the DJ, arranged his Hip Hop discs and, what he said would be the favorite, the top 40 hits, primally pounding at a hair-raising volume.
In attendance at the event were Blond Elvis, The Gypsy Chicks and a friendly Leprechaun or two. Betsy Ross and King Kong were also present for the festivities, as well as hundreds of other notables. School rules forbade anything resembling a weapon, and no masks were allowed which would hide the identity of the wearer.
The $2 donations paid for supplies and any remainder went into the school urn. The chair of social events at Ecker Hill, Deborah Gaylord, said there are about 700 kids in the school, and that before the dance began "there was a line a mile long." She attributed the high turnout to 2,000 flyers that she and others circulated. She said the dance would not have been possible without the help of 15 parents who donated supplies and their time to transform the room into Transylvania.
But would the students dance? Across town, Treasure Mountain International Middle School assistant principal Shawn Kuennen suspected they would not. He said from what he had seen at other dances, students would likely do more standing around, and drinking punch than dancing, and any dancing they did would probably be pretty tame.
A far cry from when Ichabod Crane was doing the Halloween dance scene, where schoolboys lined up on one side of the room, and girls on the other, to dance a stilted one, two, three and four step, times have changed.
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Modern day dancing at Ecker Hill was, as one student put it, "freestyle break dancing," with bounding creativity.
The dance showed little potential in the beginning. Some costumed cavorters gathered around the Foosball tables, some socialites socialized and some goblins gobbled pizza as administrators mingled incognito in cat-suits, witch outfits and gorilla garb.
Seventh-grade student Turner Bronstein, who came as a Woodstock hippie, said the girls "were sort of cute," but that he really didn’t dance that much.
But soon the pulsating music was too much to resist, and dancers popped up and down at a frantic pace while others bounced off one another (in an endearing way). Betsy Ross, without her flag alias Cherie Thomas the school suspension director, kept a close eye on the action. She said she loves various dances, but that body slamming is not one of them.
One girl said she was dancing "The Jump."
Seventh-grade student Sara Humes moved rhythmically with graceful kicks and leaps. The name of her dance? She thought a moment, "freestyle break dancing," she said. But why were most dancers dancing in the dark, right in front of the blaring speakers? "Dancing in the dark is sexy," Humes said.
Others, done with the dance, hung out at a book fair near the entrance of the school. "The guys never ask the girls to dance," said Ecker Hill student Katerina Iriannides. She and her friends wound down in solitude.
Out in afternoon sunlight in front of the school, the grim reaper, still hooded and in black robes, waited for his ride out of there. He said that the dance was boring and, afterall, he couldn’t bring his scythe to the dance.