The last Semiformal took place at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Hollywood in 2011. The dance the year before was at the California Market Center in Downtown’s fashion district, and the year before that was at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. In contrast, this year’s Homecoming Formal will take place in Taper Gymnasium.
I am not complaining about the change in venue; personally, I am grateful to have any formal at all. Plenty of high schools don’t think twice about hosting their prom, much less a dance, in the gym. I am just surprised (and a little impressed) by how remarkably few students seem to have noticed this fairly important difference, particularly given the taste for sophistication and luxury that many at Harvard-Westlake have.
I would also like to give the administration a round of applause for its skillful handling of a very delicate situation. They have satisfied both sides without completely fulfilling the demands of either. They have given the students what they want — a formal — while implementing restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t spiral out of control.
In some respects there is relatively little difference between formal and last year’s White-Out dance. White-Out was spottily attended, particularly by upperclassmen, yet formal has been a hot topic for weeks among all grades. Probably the most significant and attractive change, especially for us girls, is the return to formal attire. The allowing of party buses and limos, which were banned at White-Out, is also a welcome modification.
Perhaps with time students will be able to attend a formal dance in a location other than the one where they run laps during physical education. If not, it is hardly a momentous loss. The important thing is that we enjoy our high school experiences like formal while we can, and try not to get side-tracked by the details.