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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Dancing at the Senior Prom

“Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.” Kurt Vonnegut

Where do preconceived notions come from? I recently started thinking about the plethora of ballrooms and big band dances of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I thought of generations of couples spending their Saturday nights jitterbugging, doing swing, forming line dances… My own parents met at the Tromar Ballroom in Des Moines. I wouldn’t even be here without a dancing couple who met for the first time on a cold January night in Iowa! It seemed like that was all gone.

I was so wrong.

When I saw the poster for the Senior Prom at Vancouver’s Luepke Center, I thought, “That is so nice. Once a year, our older generation can relive the past.”

Senior Prom at the Luepke Center in Vancouver

Once a year? Hah! Some of the participants graciously set me straight.

Dance lives at Luepke Center. There are monthly Sunday afternoon dances with live music. That’s just the start. Evening dances are held, too. And, my informants pointed out, there are more dances on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 am. No wonder there is a permanent disco ball hung at Luepke Center. On top of that, there are afternoon dances at Firstenburg Community Center. I’m exhausted thinking about it. When do these people rest?!

Ready for action

So back to the Senior Prom. Forget the stretch limos and prom court. This event was about the dancing. “There are a lot of people who didn’t get to go to their senior prom,” Barbara told me. “This means a lot. We have a lot of fun.”

The evening began with local celebrity hosts serving dinner fixed by Clark County Skill Center youth. Corsages were distributed. Prom photos were taken.

Dinner at the prom

Guest server Kelly Punteney

Guest servers Vicki Vanneman and Larry Smith

Formal portraits

Skill Center chefs



And then, do not get in the way, the music started…

Let the dancing begin

Burning off dinner

Polished dancers take the floor

Dancing to the Stardusters

Pure joy

The tuxes and formal dresses may be put away until next year’s prom, but not the dancing shoes. This generation won’t be hanging them up soon.

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July 15, 2011   No Comments