Skip to main content

Do's For Your Dance

During December my community hosts its annual holiday gala dance. It is a semi-formal event with high-end appetizers and a first-class dinner. Every year we try to raise the bar on this special night. After working with my company for the past 18 years, it is a challenge to keep it fresh and exciting, but the evening always seems to be very well received.

With those years of experience come a few lessons that I have learned. You may not host a gala dance, but I think you will still find these points helpful in your job as activities director.


  • Promote the date of your event well in advance so that residents have time to plan their evening (outfit, guests, table seating arrangements)
  • Book a special musical talent for this night. This should not be someone your community uses on a regular basis. 
  • At the same time, you should develop a good working relationship with the performers so that in case they must cancel on you at the last minute, they will work hard to find a replacement for themselves that is as good, as or better than they are for you.
  • Make sure the musicians understand the group's ability to stay on the dance floor is not as long as those of people half their age.
  • Remind the musician that most of the audience will not be dancing because they do not have a partner. Ask them to include line dances or a song or two that audience members can do from their chairs.
  • Hire dance hosts for the single ladies who want to dance. 
  • Decorations do not have to be elaborate, unless you want them to be. Sometimes simple and understated can be viewed as classy. 
  • If your dance is after dinner, you will not need much more food - but you must have something. A little salty and a little sweet. 
  • You will never please all the people at a dance with the temperature of the room. Dancers will want it colder and those listening to the music will want it warmer.
  • Create a special feeling with the lighting in the room. Dim the lights like at a dance club
  • Just like at the parties that you go to, there needs to be a fun person that gets things started. Be that person or find someone else who will be!
  • Make a personal connection by going from table to table and sit down. "How are you enjoying the party?" is a good opener or "I haven't had a minute to talk with you lately, how are you?" Residents love to have the personal contact that only you can offer.

Popular posts from this blog

4 Pictures 1 Word Game for the Big Screen

Many of you who have played 4 Pictures 1 Word, know that this brain game is available as an app for your computer, tablet or phone for free. That is great, bu it does not allow a team to play and is not audience friendly if you wanted to present it at your retirement community (or other social gathering). 
After some time and effort, I made a 4 Pictures and 1 Word game  slide show that you can use in your community. I did use the app for suggestions and the Internet for the pictures. I am glad to share this with you so that you will not have to spend the hours that I did in creating this game. If you get the urge to make one also, please come back to this blog page and share it.  I played this last week with a group of about 25 independent living residents.We did not get through all of the slides due to time constraints..... but I was glad I did not run out of slides in my hour that I had their attention. I will be playing this with them again... and would love to have other slides t…

Play Music More Often

"Music is the soundtrack of your life," said Dick Clark. When you hear a song, if you are like me, it takes you back to that time in your life when you heard the song for the first time or to the occasion where you heard it. That is powerful. Can you imagine the music that our residents have heard in their lifetime? Just like the world in general, they have experienced so much and it is nice when we, as activities professionals, can take them back to the happier days, with the soundtracks from their lives.
So, the question I pose to you today is how do you find and present music to your residents? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is by way of hired professional performers. That is a given in our jobs, so in this post, I'd like to focus on a few other ways that you can bring music to your residents that they will recognize and enjoy, along with theme music for your special events.

Pandora, Amazon, (search MP3 Download then search free songs) and YouTube are pla…

Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.
After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.
Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples,Wii Jeopardy,Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from t…