High School Met Gala — An Experiential Review

Jan 26, 2022 | Event, High School, Student Work

by Rich Armstrong | WSP Music Teacher and HS Dance DJ

The High School Courtyard was magically transformed into a red-carpeted, paparazzi-infused tunnel that opened into an art gallery and dance hall. Much effort was made to give the students an amazing experience, complete with a snack bar and a “chill” room that featured table and dance video games. I was the DJ pumping tunes in the beautifully-lit dance club area, featuring literally thousands of lights, a welcoming dance floor, and four thousand watts of well-tempered sound.

I was immediately wowed by the amazing effort put forth by the dance committee. Students had helped set up throughout the day, and when I arrived after school to set up the DJ equipment, I saw a diligent team of parents, admin, and teachers working full-steam to get things ready for the dance. Final touches were being put on the “paparazzi” area, such as lighting and even stanchions to rope the paparazzi away from the future stars as they arrived. The red carpet was being double-taped to the floor, and you could tell a magical night was ahead, with all the lights that were carefully placed all around the fully tented outdoor area. At the 7 pm start of the dance, it seemed all of the finishing touches were just completed.

Everything looked amazing, and I noticed a really cool touch: an art area complete with framed paintings that were done by the students. It helped complete the vision of an art gala. Students started trickling in, dressed to the nines in ballgowns, suits, and even some costumes that were artfully fashioned with much imagination, echoing the amazing outfits you’d see at the actual Met Gala. Slicked-back hair, and bow ties were prevalent throughout the growing crowd. It was fun to see these young adults so dressed up and energized after taking tons of arrival pics with the “paparazzi,” expertly staffed by parents and teachers of the school.

It usually takes a while to get the students dancing, so I played some of my favorite chill music and then started in with some songs to warm them up. I knew the students had learned all styles of dance from Dr. Lea Fredrickson, so I asked her for a few requests to get the ball rolling. I played a few line dances to tempt them in, and some Bee Gee’s disco got them on the floor with the hustle. It was a joy to see them do the hustle and even swing dance. Having dance in their curriculum is really unique to this school (starting in middle school) and it really shows on the dance floor in shared joy and fun dance moves.

The requests started coming in and there’s no better way to get the students dancing than to play them. The dance floor grew to a frenzied singing mass and it was a joy to behold. At moments, the students were singing together, arm in arm, and at other times they were jumping up and down, making the tented outdoor area seem almost warm. Even though you could see your breath, it somehow got hot in there! Sometimes there were squeals of anticipation at a song, something that makes a DJ happy, and it was a joy to see the well-dressed crowd so engaged in each requested song drop. 

10 pm came too fast and ‘Forever Young’ was the final song, an appropriate slow dance to sum up the night. At the end, the students helped clean up, and the many participants made short work of this Herculean task. The 2022 WSP Met Gala was a total success and an amazing time was had by all.