There’s probably one special all-camp event that gets campers more excited than any other, and that’s a dance party with one of the neighboring boys camps. It’s an event campers plan for, in some cases anticipate anxiously, but definitely think of as a BIG deal. Like most of our special events at camp, it involves dressing up, music, dancing and food— aren’t those the essential ingredients for a fun party after all? —but a camp dance is somehow even better. Tonight Camp Carolina and Rockbrook took to dancing!
For years now we’ve held two dances simultaneously, dividing the children into older and younger groups, allowing the girls to feel more comfortable around boys their own age. Tonight the Senior girls and Hi-Ups loaded up our buses and vans to travel to Camp Carolina for their dance, and the youngest boys came to Rockbrook for a dance with our Middlers and Juniors.
I knew to cover my ears when Chase announced the dance during lunch today, because the girls’ roaring reaction was truly deafening. The rest of the afternoon, conversations were about what to wear and when every girl (well, maybe not all of the Juniors!) would be able to take a shower to get ready. During dinner it was fun to see how the girls chose to get “dressed up.” In addition to special “nice outfits” packed especially for the dance, the older girls in particular were more inclined to wear flamboyant and silly costumes: Hawaiian shirts, traffic vests, cat t-shirts, plenty of tie dyes, and a couple of dinosaur costumes. Even this session’s camp moms Janet and Bentley dressed as old ladies! It’s almost expected; whatever you wear to a camp dance, it shouldn’t be too serious.
And that’s because the mood of the dances is high spirited and jubilant. For both the younger and the older girls, the dance means grabbing a friend, or a group of friends, and sticking together. No matter what the music, some familiar pop song from Bruno Mars for example, or some other Techno track (which for some reason is a popular genre at Camp Carolina), the dancing involves mostly jumping up and down to the beat, with only the occasional other “moves.” The exception to that are the recognized group dance songs with set choreographed dances like “The Wobble,” “The Cha Cha Slide,” and “Cotton Eyed Joe,” for example.
When the dance at Camp Carolina for the older girls and boys switched occasionally to a slow song, you could feel a little tension in the room rising. Some girls were clearly not interested in a slow dance and quickly left the dance floor or grabbed a friend, indicating they were already “out.” A handful of brave boys and girls, though, paired up for an awkward, arms-outstretched, shuffle from side to side. It was hard to ignore this awkwardness, particularly when everyone looked so relieved when a fast song came back on.
We wrapped up the dances around 9pm, and after almost 2 hours of jumping around, the girls were sweaty, a little tired, and probably dehydrated. But they were also about as excited as you’ll ever see them. It was non-stop chatter on the bus ride home— comments about who was dancing with whom, that “boy with the weird hat,” the music selection played, how “I danced with a boy 2 years younger than me!”, and how the “whole place smelled like B.O.” With all good things, it was another fun camp night of dancing.