The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

Twirling Into Prom: The Iconic Dance’s Old and New Traditions

Sullivan Neubauer
Prom 2024 poster announcement. This year’s theme: The Gatsby Gala

OHS’s highly-anticipated Prom is set to take place this Friday, May 24 at the Metropolitan Ballroom. The Student Senate is eager to show off their hard work and preparation that went into hosting this “Gatsby Gala,” and juniors and seniors alike are excited for a fun night of food, conversation, and, of course, dancing.

The word “prom” is derived from “promenade”, which is a French term that represents a formal, organized march.

Since the first proms hosted in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the dance and the traditions that encompass it have transformed to meet with the trends of the time and the characteristics of each decade in history.

The History of the Grand March
One of the events that defines Orono prom is the Grand March. This year the Grand March will be taking place on the field at Pesonen Stadium, where students will have the opportunity to walk on stage with their date or friends and have their photo taken.

Student Senate advisor Grace Nohner notes how the event has gained popularity in recent years.

“Prior to COVID-19, the event was getting smaller and smaller each year. Post-COVID, everyone was so excited to bring back traditions, and so we had a huge Grand March,” Nohner said.

Students and families today enjoy the Grand March on the field with Minnesota’s springtime weather, but the event used to be held in the OHS auditorium.

“You would walk through the archway and they would say your name. I believe I did it my senior year,” OHS art teacher and alum Erin Head said.

Has Slow Dancing Gone Extinct?
The iconic slow dance scenes in film depictions of Prom used to be the standard but has since become a dying tradition.

“There were some slow dances when I first came to Orono, but they slowly died down. Now, the focus is on moshing and offering other activities,” Nohner said.

While the dancing at Prom today involves moshing, some students are open to bringing slow dancing back.
“If everybody else was [slow dancing] I would, but I wouldn’t be that one person if no one else was,” senior Bria Johnson said.

Prom Styles, Today and 30 Years Ago
Prom style tends to evolve with the trends of the current decade. In the 90’s, for example, guys wore suits, cumberbuns, and bowties that often had a pop of color. The girls developed their own sense of fashion, too.

“I remember I had a yellow dress that I liked a lot. The dresses weren’t poofy like they were in the 80s, and they were more fitted,” Head said.

In recent years, we have seen a shift toward more casual Prom attire. Girls, specifically, are wearing dresses that are less sparkly and extravagant as what some may remember. Johnson states that she and her friends will be wearing floral dresses.

Community Remains a Vital Element
While prom traditions have come and gone, the importance of community is still a critical aspect of Orono’s event every year. All Prom attendees gather to eat at one location, this year being the Metropolitan Ballroom.

“The most important Orono tradition is everyone eating in one place. It brings everyone together and helps build community and a culminating experience at high school,” Nohner said.

Senior Connor Murphy agrees with this sentiment and reports that “I’m looking forward to spending time with my girlfriend and all my friends.”

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