Homecoming Dance Dinner Party: Elegant Dinner at Home Before the Dance

High School Homecoming Dances are right around the corner, and if your teen is like most high schoolers, he will be eating dinner with his date prior to or following the dance. For a change of pace, why don’t you host a Homecoming Dinner Party at your home for your student and several other couples? Let the students experience an elegant dinner, without the accompanying price tag by turning your dining room into a secluded, intimate bistro? You can cook your most elegant recipes or have the dinner catered. Make the Homecoming Dinner Party special with some simple pre-planning regarding linens, service, and serviceware and send your teens to the Homecoming Dance with a great start.

Set the theme

  • Copy the high school’s dance theme and coordinate the dinner to it or
  • Use a color for the theme pattern. Your teen need to make sure that all participants wear same pattern of clothes or accessories.
    • floral pattern is easy to prepare. You can use brown as a theme color.
    • Participants can prepare some brown color accessories. Men can wear floral print ties and women can wear floral print dresses.
  • You can choose your own theme

Since the students will all be dressed up, an easy and sure-fire theme is any one that incorporates “an evening of elegance,” and that will be the theme this article will use.

Simple & Elegant Invitation

  • Have your teen create a simple invitation on the computer and print it out on bright white, antique ivory or trendy gray linen card stock.
  • Use a font that resembles calligraphy, such as Zapf Chancery, but make sure that the font is not too ornate or the invitation will look busy and will be too difficult to read.


  • Dress your dining room table in a simple white cloth, and use coordinating cloth napkins.
  • Bring drama into the room by using plates that are rimmed in a bold color (black, silver, or gold are all good options).
  • Use crystal glassware and silverware, if they’re available.
  • An elegant floral centerpiece and many votives in clear glass or cut glass votive holders will add class. Make sure to use a low centerpiece — one that stands too tall will be a visual block, and will discourage discussion across the table.

Options for Background Music

  • Light classical or Boston Pops is a solid choice.
  • Select Singers & Standards (i.e. Frank Sinatra, Ray Connick, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, etc) for a more eclectic, trendy feel.
  • Use soft rock if you feel your teens would choke on their food with anything more “traditional!”

Food Service & Menu Options

  • You could choose the VERY easy route, and cater the meal from a local restaurant.
  • If you’d like to be more involved in the meal preparation, follow these guidelines. Make sure that nobody has any special dietary concerns.

You can invite some of the other couples’ parents to help you in the kitchen and in serving the meal. You can also ask one of them to act as photographer to get some cute candid shots (of both the teens and the parent waitstaff!). With just a little bit of effort, you can create a wonderful and fun evening for everyone involved.

Ballet for All in South Africa: Children of the townships find joy in dance.

In the outskirts of Cape Town, Philip Boyd returns to his homeland of South Africa to aid the youth community in a way that has been unimaginable to most non-profit organizations. For Philip Boyd, director of Dance for All in Guguletu, South Africa, and formal principal dancer of the Capab Ballet (now the Cape Town Ballet), dance is a commitment and discipline that provides township children with an alternate activity to wandering the streets. Pirouetting, leaping, and running on their toes, coming to class at Dance for All is more than just fun for the township children.

Philip Boyd along with his former Royal Ballet soloist and prima ballerina abssoluta wife, Phillis Spira, created the Dance for All program in Guguletu in 1992. Students were gathered by Philip in the old African settlement of Guguletu to bring them to class. During that time, the students viewed their white South African dance teacher as something like a god. As Dance for All has grown over the past fourteen years, dance styles and teachers have expanded to encompass African dance (taught by Hope Nonguonga), musical theatre, jazz and contemporary dance which is taught by Pauline van Buitenen.

The children of the small South African townships of Guguletu, Nyanga, and Khayelitsha must overcome great odds while living in these settlements. While stricken with extreme poverty, malaria continues to be of greatest concern. Almost 90% of those diagnosed with malaria in the world live in Sub-Sahara Africa; this disease kills over one million people, most of whom are children under five years old (Globe & Mail: Canada). Aside from these threats, there are dangers within their own community; some 60 children being raped every day in South Africa.

Dance for All has about 600 students, and one day Philip Boyd and his teacher staff hope that they will soon have enough dancers to make a new South African youth dance company. Besides providing a joyous activity for the children, ballet has provided them with a life goal and possible ticket out of the townships. This unusual and unique work of philanthropy has caught the eye of the Western world. A documentary was made in 2002 called “Guguletu Ballet”. Currently, the Dance for All program is funded by the David Poole Trust, the Cape Town City Council and some local township businesses. Dance for All also has its own sponsor-a-child program.

Image Source: Dance For All

Dance Movement – Mimicking Nature: Dance Like a Preying Mantis and Capture Clip on WebCam

Youtube is now an exciting source of moving images that can become inspiration for dance improvisation.

Teachers and their students can use images taken from the natural sciences and mirror movement. An improvisation through mime and mimicry will emerge.

Browse Youtube until you have found a good clear movement from an animal or creature in nature. Take the time to find one that is clear and interesting. Make sure when you project the clip onto the wall that you have the sound turned down. This is because you want the sound to be imagined by the students. This sample improvisation is from the video clip found by John Blatchford and posted in this article.

To get started

  • Play the video a few times.
  • Have a student move out in front of the movie clip.
  • Do not give the students permission to comment because you want to appeal to the mirror neurons of the student. This means that you are hoping to see them watch, copy, then synthesize, and create.
  • You the teacher are to mime for the students what you want them to do. With your hands indicate that you want the chosen student to mirror the movement in front of the preying mantis.

The student may struggle at first. It may take some time to correct balance and find a dance pose and movement that is comfortable. Be supportive of the student and if the other students want to laugh they must do so silently.

So that the chosen student can follow the movements of the preying mantis, you will need to arrange the computers so that he or she can see the picture. One way to deal with the need to see the picture in the process of mirroring is to arrange the computers so that the student is watching a screen on another computer as well as standing in front of the projected clip.

  • So far only one student has been ‘sweating the project’ and you the teacher who have been the leader by indicating instructions through mime and mimicking the preying mantis.
  • Now turn to the class and through mime indicate that they leave their sitting position – they are to come forward to join in the imitation.
  • The rest of the class is to face you and the chosen student. This means that two people face the 15 or so others students. You are now all moving as a preying mantis would.
  • Without talking, start to hum or make noises to accompany this movement .
  • With gestures and head nodding indicate that the other students very softly and quietly add sound.

If you have a technician ask him or her to use webcam to capture the dance movement. If you don’t have a technician find an advanced student who might be able to work web cam equipment for you. There is usually one enthusiast in any class.

  • Encourage improvisation and creative synthesis.
  • Allow students to amalgamate into groups and work together to begin a dance routine if this happens naturally.
  • As the students take the lead – turn off the video clip and allow the dancing to expand.
  • Wind the dance session down by gradually coming to a seated position.
  • As you catch the student’s eyes ‘nod them down’.
  • You may want to debrief verbally, but, perhaps writing about the experience in their journals might be more appropriate to the quite body movement exercise. There are many ways to journal so choose the one that is right for your class, or ask the students to make a decision about what method is right for them.

Choose an appropriate time to edit the film with the class, it might be on the same day or this project can become a longer term venture. When you are happy with the outcome, and if your school permits, upload your film clip to Youtube or just use it internally within your school.

  • If you want to protect the identity of the students find a way to blur their faces in Adobe Premier or another editing program.
  • In this way you might be able to build a library of original dance movement for your school in the electronic filing system.

If you feel a little nervous about Dance perhaps this article will make you feel a little easier. If you have questions please post them to the discussion boards.