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Annual tradition has wildly fun soundtrack

Bruins wait outside the Multi-Purpose Room for the Jungle Dance to begin. Photo by Zach Fink.

Bruins lit up the night at the annual Bear River Jungle Dance on Friday the 16th. 

This is the first school event of the year, and has a reputation for being the most well-attended dance. It is anticipated by old and new students alike and is a beloved school tradition. 

Sophomore Julie Hurd, gave insight on why she believes the Jungle Dance is an important aspect of Bear River school culture. 

It’s the first dance of the year and it just kind of gets the mood going,” Hurd said. “It’s a whole vibe.” 

She then went on to explain why she preferred this year’s dance to her freshman year experience. 

“I think the music is a little bit better than it was last year, and I think it’s just better because I have people to go with,” said Hurd. 

Mateo Batula, a junior, shared whether or not he believes that the songs were provocative and encouraged inappropriate dancing. 

“Yes, a little bit,” Batula explained. “it could be a little bit better.”

Sophomore Brydon Hopkins shared a different opinion on this topic.

“I loved… the DJ” Hopkins said. “[He] was amazing.”

Leadership teacher, Matt MacDonald explained the struggle of finding a DJ, as well as appropriate music in the modern age. 

“A lot of DJs want to please and play whatever’s requested and sometimes what you get requested isn’t really danceable [or] it’s not something that’s totally appropriate,” Mr. MacDonald said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job finding DJs, like this last DJ, who did a great job of knowing when dancing is becoming a little bit more inappropriate…”

Freshman William Marchi described his experience at his first high school dance. 

“It’s way better than my last school [of] twenty-four kids,” revealed Marchi. “They didn’t have all of the lights, so this is really cool.”

This event doesn’t just happen overnight, as Mr. MacDonald went on to explain. 

“Basically, it started at the end of last year…” said Mr. MacDonald. “We talk about it at the beginning of school and we just work like crazy to get it ready to go.”

He then went on to reveal his love of the Jungle Dance. 

“The Jungle Dance is probably one of my favorite ways to start the school year,” Mr. MacDonald explained. “…I think everyone looks forward to it. It’s just a really good way to start the school year in a positive way.”

Sophomore, Maya Thrasher had a different experience at the dance. 

“[It] was my first time getting dress coded at Bear River,” Thrasher unveiled. “This experience made me feel very mad because I did not want to wear someone’s old, probably unwashed P.E. shirt to a school dance.”

Fellow Sophomore, Ana Hamilton had a similar experience that she wanted to share. 

“I walked… into the multi-purpose room where Mr. Roberts and Ms. Peterson were basically hiding behind the corner and couldn’t be seen,” said Hamilton. “So there were lots of people, many more girls than boys, being pulled off to the side and told to go get a shirt from the office.”

Hamilton went on to say why she found this event to be sexist. 

“It felt very sexist knowing that there were way more girls dress coded for their straps being too small when there were boys [at] the dance with barely any shirt left,” Hamilton said.

Bear River Principal Chris Roberts explained why he and the staff were cracking down on students violating the dress code policies and the allegations that these actions were sexist. 

“The dress code was enforced for both female and male students,” Mr. Roberts said. “The Jungle Dance, unfortunately, has a reputation as a dance where there are more dress code violations than any other dance. That was apparent Friday night as male and female students were asked to put on other clothing. I would say that more female students were in violation of the dress code than the male students and this may have been why it appeared to be so lopsided.”

However, Hamilton feels that she was unfairly dress-coded by the school.

“For one, it’s the Jungle Dance, it’s known for people wearing ripped clothing.” Hamilton said. “… [On] the day of the dance, many people including myself had talked about the issue to Mr. Roberts, and we got his approval that what we were going to be wearing would be fine.”

Mr. Roberts shared his outlook of the students who had confronted him earlier about what they would be wearing to the dance. 

What they described wasn’t as accurate as what it looked like when they showed up to the dance,” said Mr. Roberts. 

He then went to reveal his expectations and hopes for students moving forward.

“When Ms. Peterson and I spoke to all students the first three days of school, we talked about dress code at school and at school-sponsored events,” said Mr. Roberts. “Most were not surprised to be dress coded and most were very respectful when asked to change. I was actually very impressed with most students and how they reacted. When it’s all said and done, the staff at Bear River have high expectations of our students.” 

However, Bruins didn’t allow being dress-coded to ruin their night. Mr. MacDonald perfectly summed up this years’ Jungle Dance.

It was a good night overall,” said Mr. MacDonald. 

He finished by hinting towards the upcoming Winter Homecoming. 

We’re just working like crazy to get that going… and see if we can put on another good event,” Mr. MacDonald said. “…We’ve got a couple of good surprises in store for homecoming that I think the students are going to like, some new traditions possibly that I’m pretty excited about rolling out. It’s going to be a fun year.”

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Annual tradition has wildly fun soundtrack