Gelb Dance: Shake that Laffy Taffy

For one epic night a year, the school’s Gelb Science Center is filled with strobe lights, sound systems and dancing students. This night was none other than last week’s Gelb dance. With three different floors each playing a different genre of music, the 2009 Gelb dance presented a dynamic atmosphere. Each floor had its own devoted crowd, every person going crazy for the same kind of music. On the first floor, the genre was ’80s, ’90s and country. Zack Boyd ’10 DJed the floor, which was popular with people who wanted to relax and enjoy the music of past decades. With songs like “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65 and “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy, the first floor was laid-back and fun. Because of its close proximity to the entrance, the first floor was considerably cooler and less humid than the other two floors. “I enjoyed the first floor because it was refreshingly cool,” said Kenny Gould ’09. The second floor hosted techno and rave music. The strobe light, visible from Salem Street, flashed a beat for the songs played by DJ Andrew Malin ’09. The techno floor was a hit among students and definitely had the highest energy level, including a jumping mob in the middle of the floor. “The second floor was my favorite because it had the best music,” said Courtney King ’10. Scott Dzialo ’09, President of the Student Activities Board and the person person who brought the Gelb dance to Phillips Academy said, “My personal favorite was the techno floor, simply because we’ve had kids asking for months for a totally techno dance. The music was great, and I’ve heard nothing but good news about it.” The third floor was probably the most crowded and featured Kyle and Kevin Ofori ’09 blasting hip-hop and R&B songs. Further away from the entrance than the other two floors, this floor was virtually a sauna. People left the floor with hair drenched in sweat. The music choice was always fresh, including songs like “Ballin” by Rick Ross, and resulted in a large crowd. The biggest draw of the Gelb dance is the three separate stories, and because of this, everyone found their comfort zone. Glenn Stowell ’09 said, “I like [having three floors] because kids who want to rock out to ’90s don’t have to suffer through hip-hop and rap. There are less awkward people because everyone can go to the floor they like.” Gould had a similar opinion. “The Gelb dance is a lot like Laffy Taffy. I don’t really like the banana flavor, but sometimes banana is the only choice. It’s better to choose between cherry, grape and banana. The reason the Gelb dance is so great is because there’s different choices of music, so you always end up with the one you like,” he said. According to Dzialo, the concept of the Gelb dance came up for that very reason last year. He said, “The 2007-2008 board had been shopping around ideas to have four simultaneous dances around campus, but we were worried about logistics and having kids travel around campus so it was logical to hold this dance in Gelb. The idea was proposed, it took off and quickly became a big deal.” He continued, “The idea behind [the Gelb Dance] is to draw as many people out of their dorm rooms as possible. We tried to attract the [group that attends most regular dances] with hip hop, but we also wanted to get groups that get less attention on campus to want to attend this dance with the ’70s, ’80s ’90s, country and techno music.” Another attraction of the Gelb dance was the seismograph, located on the first floor. Measuring the seismic waves of the area, it demonstrated how loud Andover’s dances are in a way that only the resources of Gelb could. “I saw the seismograph and it showed the readouts from earlier in the day compared to during the dance, and the difference was impressive,” said Alex Gray ’10. The atmosphere around the dance was significantly more laid back this year compared to last year. Last year, the faculty was noticeably nervous about the possible consequences of a dance in an academic building. This year, however, the tone was different. King said, “The chaperones were a lot more laid back compared to last year, because they knew what to expect [so they] could relax.” With a calmer faculty and a more excited student body, the Gelb dance was a wild event. Having improved from an already high standard of the last year, the 2009 dance was a huge success. So, what does the future hold for the Gelb dance? Boyd put it best: “Hopefully they’ll do the Gelb dance next year, because it’s definitely the best dance there is.” Not to worry, Boyd, because according to Dzialo, “SAB is always open to new suggestions, but since the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, I think we’re going to stick with what we have at the moment…hopefully we can make this a yearly event.”