Bronwen Smith reflects on the day leading to the 2008 Matric Dance and thanks all of those who worked to make the event such a memorable one.
Count downs in diaries reached their final day amidst the excitement and anticipation of what was to come. As the morning of Friday, 18 July dawned, many of the Matrics of Wynberg Girls' High fervently wished that they didn't have to attend school and that the evening would come as quickly as it could. Attention spans over the past few days, and especially on that morning, had seemed to have become non-existent. All that anyone could talk about was The Dance; all thoughts of work flew out of the window. As the bell rang for the end of the second lesson on Friday at about 11:10, the Matrics cheered gleefully, and raced out of the school gates to their various appointments in preparation of the evening ahead. Hair, nails and make-up! And so all worked busily to perfect appearances before stepping into their dresses to complete the transformation. Their dates arrived to fetch them and they climbed into their various vehicles and made their way to Kelvin Grove.
Surrounded by flashing cameras and people cheering, they disembarked from their cars, walking up the stairs along the red carpet to the entrance, where they were formally welcomed by Jamie Bassett (head of school) and her partner. Each couple was then escorted by a member of the Grade Eleven Dance committee through to the entrance of the ballroom where they had their photographs taken in front of a white backdrop. They were then shown to their tables in the ballroom so that they could put down any bags and other belongings, before joining in the excitement of the arrival of their peers. The ballroom looked stunning: “vintage” was the theme and the tables, murals, entrances and balustrades were exquisitely decorated. The overall effect was magical atmosphere as the many candles, fairy lights and large moving lights on the wall and ceiling glimmered, winked and beckoned to us.
After enjoying a cocktail fruit juice, everyone was ushered to their seats so that the evening could begin. Each girl was delighted to find a special gift on her seat of a DKNY fragrance, and either body lotion or a bag, accompanied by a key ring and Clinique lip balm. There was a short welcome and formal opening of the proceedings by our Principal, Mrs Harding, which was followed by a starter of butternut and apple soup. Jamie Bassett then spoke to us before the main course of chicken was served. Once most people had eaten, the dance floor was opened by the first waltz: Jamie and her partner whirled around the dance floor to be joined just a little later by other members of the school council. A wide variety of songs, both old and new, got everybody else onto the dance floor The dessert of a Pavlova was served later, while coffee was available in the foyer. The dancing continued and the floor was occupied by both the girls and their partners and some very enthusiastic teachers. The atmosphere in the ballroom was amazing and it was obvious that everyone was having a great time.
The cameras never stopped flashing as groups posed for photographs and the decorations were captured: all wanted to hold the moments and memories of the night alive for years to come both for themselves and to share with family and friends back home. At midnight, the DJ brought the dance to a close, playing the song 'I've had the time of my life'. It was hard to believe that the night was all over already and that it was time to leave, taking the memories that we had made with us.
Thank you so much to Mrs Kourie and the Matric Dance Committee, especially the Grade Elevens who organised everything so brilliantly, setting up on the hall on Friday morning and staying until the early hours of Saturday morning tidying up. We owe you more than you can possibly believe. The memories that we have made will stay with us long after the hair and nails return to normal and the dress no longer fits. A special mention must also be made to Ms Orpen and the Wynberg Photographic Society who spent the evening photographing and documenting our dance for us and uploading the photographs onto the school website, you all really did a brilliant job and we appreciate the time that you dedicated to our night.