Laconian Dance 101: Intro to The Laconian Dance
For those of you out there that are regular visitors here at DCGreeks.com, you've seen many references to The Laconian Dance in our articles and poll questions. "What's the big deal?" you might ask, "It's just another Greek Dance." Well, friends, The Laconian Dance is more than just your run-of-the mill semi-formal. As a public service, we are here to provide a primer for those of you that haven't gone or weren't paying attention the first five times you went. With that, we'd like to welcome you to your first class at DCGreeks.Community College as we present:
Martin's Crosswind's, Greenbelt, MD.
This is major change from year's past at The Laconian.
has traditionally been held at the McLean Hilton in Tyson's Corner, VA, a
central location right off the Beltway that is just as easy to get to from
Bethesda as it is from the Virginia suburbs.
There are several reasons that may have led to the move this year.
The first being price. The
McLean Hilton used to give The Laconian Society a ridiculously low rate for
booking the place. If you think
about it, who has a party on the Friday night after Thanksgiving?
You'll never find anyone getting married on Thanksgiving weekend or doing
anything else that would require a large ballroom, so most hotels are happy for
the business. But under new management, the prices went up, probably forcing the
change in venue. The other reason
for the change is that the McLean Hilton would have required a change in the
menu, and by that we mean, that they would have actually required them to have
food there, to balance out the alcohol consumption.
Time: 9:00-1:30. Greek
time for this event normally has people showing up a little bit before 10:00.
Not much happens at The Laconian before this time.
The band is barely into its first set and most people are still in the
lobby during the first hour of the dance. The
dancing really doesn't pick up until 10:30 or later.
Price: $25 dollars. For
those of you out there that are thinking how amazingly cheap this is for a
semi-formal with a live band, keep in mind the following:
1. Cash Bar... 2.
No Food. The traditional
menu at The Laconian is a bowl of salted mixed nuts at every table or potato
chips in an off-year. Some years
they've had dessert stashed away in the corner of the ballroom that suddenly
appears around 11:45. This lack of
food makes sense. It's Thanksgiving
weekend, and by Friday night at 9:00, most people have probably sat through
enough dinner and leftovers that eating isn't really on their minds.
to Get Tickets: There are a few people in
the area from which you can get tickets in advance, but most people, especially
the young adults, just end up buying tickets at the door. Sure you end up getting stuck at a random table, but your
table is just a place to set down your jacket or purse because there is very
little sitting at The Laconian.
Semi-formal. The guys can get away with dressing more boring, um,
conservatively, than the girls. For
the ladies, it's a chance to show off that cocktail dress that has been in the
back of the closet for a while, or to buy something new. You'll see less than five girls all night wearing pants or
even a skirt, so it's pretty much dresses all the way around.
Despite the fact that this is sponsored by The Laconian Society of the
Greater Metropolitan DC area, the fact is that this is a Pan-Hellenic event.
normally averages around 650 people, with crowds as high as 850 in 1999.
This dance brings in a lot of families, but there are more than enough
young adults at this thing to put it in the Top 3 as far as events go in this
area. Despite the fact that it is
traditionally held in Virginia, it seems that there are slightly more
Marylanders who attend the event every year.
Usually they ask you if you'd like to be seated on the Virginia side or
the Maryland side. (Just for fun, say the DC side, and see the reaction you
Young Adult Crowd: The reason that this event
is so unique is that even among the young adults, the draw is much different
than any other young adult event. First
of all, it's not the YAL DC Weekend Dance.
The YAL Dance draws YAL members and an older young adult crowd.
You rarely find anyone under 21, or even under 24 for that matter, at the
YAL Dance. On the other hand, it's
not a Greek Night either. The
family atmosphere and the tradition of going to every Laconian Dance since you
were a teenager ensures that the older young adults will be there.
(Some of us were dragged to The Laconian when we were still in
elementary school; at this age the fun came from racing in the glass-front
elevators trying to avoid hotel security rather than actually attending the
dance itself.) There is also
the added element of the young adults who are either in college or graduate
school outside the DC area coming back for this dance.
For many of these people, it's the first time they've been in the area in a
year, at a time in their lives where looks change, relationships come and go,
and suddenly they become that guy or girl you've never seen before at a Greek
this unique mix of people that makes this event so interesting.
Here is where you get that rare interaction between the 30-year-old
restaurant owner and the 22-year-old graduate student.
It's where you get the YAL member who wouldn't be at this same party if
it were on a Saturday night before church talking to the "bad boy"/
"bad girl" who finds them so sweet and non-threatening it's a wonder
they're even talking. It's the
first time you hear that the guy or girl that you've been after for four years
has finally gotten rid of their American boyfriend or girlfriend, finally
looking to go Greek. It's where
that guy from Silver Spring who goes to school in Virginia meets that girl from
Fairfax who goes to school in Maryland, after he's gotten a decent haircut and
spent a whole year working out while she grew up into the most beautiful girl
he's ever seen. And it's where
someone finally realizes that the other person sitting in the next row over from
him or her in church for the last 15 years is the person they're meant to be
with all along.
Despite the fact that many people are there with their parents and other
family members around, there's a surprising lack of inhibition at this event.
We're not talking about exhibitionist behavior or anything; the event
barely gets to a PG-rating, but somehow the fear factor disappears once within
the four corners of the dance floor or its immediate carpeted perimeter.
And surprisingly, the girls, not the guys, initiate much of this.
Unlike a Greek Night, where staring at a member of the opposite sex is
just harmless fun between sips of your vodka tonic and drags on your cigarette,
at The Laconian, if you stare at the same person long enough, he or she is going
to actually call you out on it, and either come up and talk to you or better
yet, drag you out onto the dance floor. (This
is not a call for a moratorium on staring.
God forbid we stop looking at each other. Greeks are in the upper echelon of ethnic groups when it
comes to staring. It's just
what we do.)
just as much fun as the interactions you participate in at The Laconian, are the
interactions that are happening on your behalf. You may be feeling that you're having the absolute worst time
ever and that you're not meeting anyone new, but deals are being brokered and
schemes are being drawn up that involve you without your knowledge.
Some guy's or some girl's parents, grandparents, or godparents are
checking you out, sometimes seeing you for the first time.
In the weeks and months after the dance, the phone lines from Bethesda to
Falls Church are lit up with so much intelligence information being gathered on
you, you'd think the call was being placed on a secure line from Langley to the
White House. The due diligence that
occurs after The Laconian makes the buyout of a bankrupt Dulles-corridor
Internet startup look like a trip to Costco for milk.
The Final Exam: After attending The Laconian Dance, you still may not have all the answers. As a result, we suggest you audit this class as to not put too much pressure on yourself. Some of you may opt to take it pass/fail, but please don't take it for a grade, as you may find yourself repeating this class every fall. After 15 years, we've barely passed Laconian Dance 101, so we look forward to the day they let us take Laconian Dance 106: How Things Work DCGreeks.Community College is also looking for someone to teach Laconian Dance 400: Advanced Laconian Lab.