More Than Just a Dance – Making Middle School Events FUN! By: Matt Ryan

February 21, 2011 by Matt Ryan

We all remember our own awkward middle school years – you’re growing faster than you can keep up with and you’re just trying to fit in, not really sure who your friends are and what you’re good at. Middle school affords you a lot of sudden freedom and something kind of scary – dances. Who is going? Who will you hand out with? What will you do there?

For many of us adults, this is what we remember about our first middle school – then probably called junior high – dance. Today’s most successful middle school dances are so much more than just a “dance”, and rightfully so. Kids between 11 and 14 may or may not be ready for a real school dance, but they are certainly always ready for a fun time with their friends. In addition to the dance itself, many middle school dances (they often aren’t even called “dances” anymore) feature things like open gym for basketball, bingo, video games, a room with a movie playing, ping-pong, and more. These opportunities are great for schools to increase attendance at their events by attracting students that aren’t interested in attending a “dance.”

As a DJ working with middle schools, you can help inform the advisors you are working with about ways they can expand their offerings and increase their attendance. Most advisors never have the opportunity to see what other schools are doing with the dances, so you are most likely the best resource they have! Use your monthly client newsletter or your marketing materials to list new ideas on ways schools can enhance their dances. Establish yourself as the “school dance expert” in your market!!


Matt Ryan (14 Posts)

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is a multi-op DJ business owner, radio personality, developer of School Dance Pros, and educator. Matt has been performing school events, along with many other types of functions, since 1996. Currently Matt Ryan Mobile DJ Entertainment performs approximately 250 events per year, with nearly half of them being school and teen events. Matt is well-known as an air personality on WNCI 97.9, a Top 40 radio station in Columbus, OH, and is a middle school teacher and coach. Matt is able to provide unprecedented insight to other DJs about how school dances are organized. To contact Matt, email or visit

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