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Prom night

Tallgrass Creek, local high school have all the right moves

Created date

May 24th, 2011

Spring is prom season for high school students across the country. But for one group of Kansas City area high school students, spring is also time for another type of dance.

Annual tradition

For the last four years, student council members from Blue Valley North High School have joined community members at Tallgrass Creek, an Erickson Living community in Overland Park, Kans., for a Junior-Senior dance. The much-anticipated annual event brings together teenagers and older adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s for a night of music, dancing, and conversation. The fun-filled evening includes music from both generations, so attendees might hear a big band classic followed by the latest Britney Spears hit. The mix of music gives Tallgrass Creek residents a chance to teach the students some dances from their era, like waltzes and fox trots. Likewise, the Blue Valley students have taught the residents how to do the Macarena and the Electric Slide. Blue Valley teacher Erin Nathan helps her students organize the event. Nathan actually worked part-time at Tallgrass Creek when she was in high school. She enjoyed her interaction with residents so much that when she went back to school as a teacher, she wanted to expose her students to the wonderful people she had met at the community. The result was the annual Junior-Senior dance. Everyone agrees it is one of the best community service projects we do, Nathan says. Students are excited to help plan the event and take part in every way. Bill and Doris Warrick attended the Junior-Senior dance for the first time this year. Mr. Warrick says the event was a real eye opener. They are really a bunch of intelligent kids, he says. He says he particularly enjoyed teaching the students the dances he and his wife have been doing for years. And he was happy to try out some newer dances as well. We had been warned they might play YMCA, so our dance group has been practicing those moves, he says with a laugh. Residents say the dance is a wonderful opportunity for them to swap not only dance moves but also life stories with the youngsters. Nora Pinkston, who is an avid dancer and member of Tallgrass Creek s ballroom dancing club with her husband, Don, says the event is one of the most enjoyable evenings of the year. The young people are very respectful and easy to get along with, Pinkston adds. They show us such a good time, and I think they have a good time as well. I think they are surprised when we are able to do the Electric Slide.